Sri Shen Flindell
Shen Flindell started learning tabla in Melbourne from Sri Debapriya Bhattacharya in 1994 and soon went to the holy city of Varanasi in India to study under Pt. Kaviraj Ashutosh ("Ashu Babu") Bhattacharya, a great tabla master of the Benares Gharana and senior disciple of the legendary Pt. Kanthe Maharaj. Since then he has been to India many times to continue his tabla education and his Guru-ji has guided him to quite a high level. In July 1997 on Guru Purnima, Shen was initiated as a Gandabandhan disciple of the Kanthe Maharaj Baj of Benares Gharana, a rare honour for a Westerner. In 1999 & 2000 he was awarded grants by The Arts Office (Qld) and the Brisbane City Council for tabla studies in Varanasi. In February 2004, Shen was at his Guru-ji's side when he passed away at the age of 86 and since then Shen has taken lessons from his Guru-ji's sons Sris Debapriya & Debabrata Bhattacharya and his other senior students including Sri Parimal Bhattacharya, Sri Govinda Chakraborty and Sri Manishankar Tripathi.
Shen's tabla playing is noted for his clear sound, comfortable rhythmic sense, intuitive accompaniment, wide repertoire, adept bayan (bass) and a feeling of sincere devotion to Guru, Saraswati, Music and Tabla, thanks to many blessings from his Guru-ji. In recent years, Shen has started performing in concerts in India, most notably in the annual Ashu-Babu Memorial Concert in honour of his late Guru-ji, already becoming a major event in the Varanasi musical calendar featuring artists such as Padma Bhushan Debu Chaudhuri and Ustad Shujaat Husein Khan.
Since 2002, Shen has been jointly based in Japan, India and Australia, and has performed with leading Indian classical artists in all three countries, including Smt. Raka Mukherjee and Ustad Ghulam Sadiq Khan. Within the field of Indian classical music, he is not only capable in the 4 fields of vocal accompaniment, instrumental accompaniment, Kathak dance accompaniment and tabla solo, but has also given successful accompaniment in Carnatic vocal, Odissi and Bharat Natyam dance performances. In Brisbane and Tokyo, he has also performed with many excellent musicians from a wide variety of musical traditions including Turkish, Tibetan, Persian, Flamenco, African, jazz and electronica artists. Shen's EthnoSuperLounge events bring together these musicians to share their songs and sounds in the spirit of unity, healing and transcendence. Shen's CD appearances include Rei-Mei, a classical santoor-tabla CD featuring Setsuo Miyashita, a close disciple of Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma. Other CDs include the EthnoSuperLounge Live! - Jay Asu Babu CD, a compilation of EthnoSuperLounge live tracks, Basant Panchami, a classical sitar-tabla CD, plus numerous appearances on CDs in Australia and Japan with world music and rock artists.
In Australia, Japan and India, Shen has a number of tabla students, some of whom have gone on to study in Varanasi with Shen's guru-ji of tabla, Late Pt. Kaviraj Ashutosh Bhattacharya and in the music school which continues in his name. In Brisbane he recently opened the Ashu Babu Memorial Tabla School, with both adult and children's classes. Shen's lessons follow his Guru-ji's traditional classical style of teaching, emphasising quality of sound, refinement of hand-shape and development of technique and through devoted practice. Shen also supplies and repairs tabla and tabla accessories.
Shen can be contacted by email at email@example.com, or by phone on 0415-106428 (Brisbane). Also, please visit his website www.ethnosuperlounge.com, where there is further info about Shen and his activities including music downloads, historical photos of Shen's Guru-ji with renowned artists, and events news in Brisbane, Japan and India.
Reviews from Indian Press
SANMAARG (19 Mar 2006)
Japan ke kalaakaar Yasuhiro Minamizawa ne sitaar par Raag Puriya Kalyan ki avataaranaa kar sabko achamti kar diyaa... Aapke saath Australia ke kalaakaar Shen Flindell ne table par poorna paripakvataa se saath sangat kar kaaryakram ko karn-priya banaaya.
Japanese artist Yasuhiro Minamizawa astounded everyone with his rendition of Raag Puriya Kalyan on sitar... With him, Australian artist Shen Flindell, giving close accompaniment (saath-sangat) on tabla with complete maturity, made the programme attractive to the ear.
AMAAR UJAALAA (19 Mar 2006)
Japan ke Yasuhiro Minamizawa ne sitaar ke taar par anguliyaan pherin to tablaa par anguliyaan thirakaane ke lie Australia ke Shen Flindell unke saath the. Donon videshii kalaakaaron ki deshii kalaa men siddhahastaa dekh kuchh achraj kar rahe the to kucch aanand le rahe the.
Japan's Yasuhiro Minamizawa's fingers bent his sitar's strings and then Australia's Shen Flindell's fingers beat upon the tabla with him. Seeing both of the foreign (videshi) artists' great skill in Indian (desi) arts, we were quite astounded and received quite some enjoyment/bliss.
AMAAR UJAALAA (16 Apr 2006)
Shuji Yamamoto ne chaahe Raag Jog bajaayaa chaahe Chandrakauns donon hi raagon ko samaan adhikaar se sarod par ukeraa. Tablaawaadak Shen Flindell ki ungliyon ki thirakne dekh log aashcharyachakit the.
Shuji Yamamoto, whether playing Raag Jog or Raag Chandrakauns, carved out both raags with equal authority. On seeing tabla player Shen Flindell's fingers dancing, the people were struck with wonderment.
Comments from Smt. Raka Mukherjee
"In my recent Australia concert tour I had an opportunity to have with me Shen Flindell to accompany me on tabla in all the concerts that I performed in Brisbane. I enjoyed singing with Shen and his aesthetic and rhythmic sense combined with the clear sound of the tabla and, sonorous bayan (bass) provided an excellent support to enhance the quality of the concert."