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Tina Sugandh

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Throughout Tina’s school years, The Sugandh Family performed all over the U.S. and the Caribbean, and gained a huge following in the Indian community. At one concert, Tina begged her father to let her take over for one song and play the drum that he played, (called the dholak). As she began to play, the audience was dumbstruck. “My father wondered how a seven-year-old could have a sense of rhythm like that. ” Tina’s parents decided to introduce her to a more intricate drum, the tabla, a two-barreled percussion that takes years to master and is predominantly played by men. “Dictating rhythm came so naturally to me. I loved playing live. At the start of the show, people would see me sitting behind the drum and think, oh, how cute-she’s tuning the tabla for her father to play. No one suspected that I would actually have the strength or ability to play - then I’d blow them away.” Her proficiency earned her a nickname: TablaGirl.

As a 15-year-old, Tina was discovered by Sean Harris, a screenwriter and creative mentor who would help shape Tina’s talents. Sean eventually convinced Tina that she should pursue music as a career and, to that end, spent time working on a demo. Between her studies as a biology major at Rutgers University (where she eventually graduated on the Dean’s List), and weekend performances with the Sugandh Family, Tina would drive to Washington DC to work with Sean, who arranged photo shoots and studio time for her, and most importantly, encouraged her to write her own music.

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