The tabla remains an image, a motif of dislocation for me. When I experience others playing it with such verve and knowledge I am transported. I find the rhythms intoxicating and the sounds to be full and complete in their expression.
As a vocalist, I hear a quiet challenge. Can I speak over these rhythms? Would it be an act of magical place-making? Magical relocating of the unrooted postcolonial body? Am I returning forward? Am I just traveling the planes of my Western privilege and taking without knowing?
These are specific folk rhythms with their own long histories of which I am coolly unaware. These sounds are not mine.
The tabla is the first musical instrument I have any memory of. Sitting in the corner of my aunties house. These sounds are also mine.
Should I simply let it sit in my ears and enjoy it as I do. That for now is the only certainty.