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Samta Prasad


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Samta Prasad (1921-95) - percussion player in the Benares tradition

Samta Prasad (often wrongly written as Shamta or Shanta) was a Tabla player (Drum pair of North Indian Classics (Hindustani)).

The clarity, well-roundedness, and consistency of his strokes was a marvel to hear. It didn’t seem to matter how quickly he played, one could always hear every single stroke as a distinct entity.

Also known as Gudai Maharaj, Samta Prasad (1921-95) learned from Bikku Misra, and made a name for himself as a superb accompanist as much as a soloist. His style and repertoire are quite different from the Kanthe Maharaj silsila (although both Kanthe Maharaj and Bikku Misra learned from Baldeo Sahai (1872-c.1927) in the early decades of the 20th century.

In his teental (or Tintal) rhythm (structure: clap, 2, 3, 4, clap, 2, 3, 4, wave, 2, 3, 4, clap, 2, 3, 4), Samta Prasad plays several compositions: if you would listen in particular for the very simple but highly effective panch-darje-ki-gat: it alternates triple and duple statements of what sounds like an identical pattern (but beware that these statements are not really identical).

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