Playing Tabla on a Guitar: Sounds crazy? Meet Sarthak Mudgal (Madari), the percussion prodigy who mastered the art of playing Tabla on a guitar
First Indian, perhaps, the only Indian, who plays Indian Classical Tabla on the Guitar! He is a Presidential AR Rahman Scholar at Berklee College of Music. He started playing Tabla at the tender age of three. His father figured out the innate talent in his son for rhythms. It turned out to be that the young prodigy already knew certain rhythms of Tabla such as Teen Taal, Keherva and Dadra by then! Meet Sarthak Mudgal also known as Madari, now living in Boston, Massachusetts, New York to make it big in the music industry. He has also worked as Music Teacher in Boston Arts Academy. Sarthak has close to two decades’ experience in percussion. The versatile artiste plays more than 40 instruments, including the new concept of guitar percussion, which he introduced in New Delhi in 2015. Sarthak, besides performing at Berklee, he also had performed with Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia in a flute concert and Ustad Bismillah Khan on Shehnai. Few percussion instrument Sharthak has firm grasp includes Tabla, Djembe, Mridangam and Cajon. Sarthak plays Jazz, Funk, World Music, Classical Music and other genres as well. Sarthak’s rhythm is beyond boundary.
Sarthak do not subscribe to the technical intricacies, when it comes to performance, as he believes “Feel” as the integral aspect of music. Sarthak has won several accolades for his performance not only in India but in other countries as well.
Rhythm of 7 was the bubble breaker for Sarthak. Its one of his favourite rhythm to improvise on.
Talking about these rhythms which he understood at young age, Sarthak says, “It seemed to me like they were already taught to me before I was even born. I continued my journey of being a classically trained tabla player.”
Great ensemble: Douglas Choi and Sartak Mudgal
Belonging to a very middle class family, Sarthak’s father, Ajay Mudgal did everything he could to save up money so he can help his second son buy different percussive Instruments. Later in Sarthak’s life when he was 21, he shifted to Mumbai and did what every musician strives for.
Shiva Studi – with Nirali Kartik and Akshay Dwivedi
“I struggled every second, every minute and every day”, Sarthak says with a bit of sadness and continued, “I went homeless for three days and finally found a roof over my head and a help being given to me by a very noble and pious man named Dennis Kadam. Dennis not only allowed me to stay in his house for three months, without even asking for rent and providing me food on top of it.”
Jamming with Arpit Kubba
Sarthak, a person who never forgets to talk big about those who helped him in his pursuit of learning music and mastering it, did speak about Dennis, his elder brother, his father, mother, his Gurus and more. But before that, he spoke about his guitar learning, reserving the best for the last.
Zahvalan (Original) by Sarthak Mudgal
“I started Guitar Percussion at the age of 19 and during the journey it wasn’t easy at all to bring something in the market which definitely looks weird! people tend to think, why would anyone want to play drums on the guitar when you have a drum kit? Eventually after hours and hours of hard Work, I managed to break out the code of how I can actually make this instrument sound unique in the simplest way possible”, says Sarthak with a sense of achievement.
Concert with Natalie De Luccio, who is the only Western Classical Opera singer, an Indian who is the opera singer for AR Rahman.
Did he receive flak from the puritans? “Oh yes”, Sarthak says and adds: “I received a lot of criticisms from a lot of people. They said this doesn’t fit anywhere and we actually don’t know what to do with you because this is certainly an out of the box thing, we get it but we have no clue how we can help you. The amount of NO’s that I received in my life definitely overpowers the amount of Yesses that I conquered”, says the confident artist at that moment, on the other, Sarthak adds, “Hard work never goes off for a toss and eventually I ended up getting the AR Rahman Scholarship for the Berklee College Of Music, one of the biggest contemporary music college in the world. This was a life changing moment for me because to be in America and to peruse my dream means having loads of money in the bank account which was certainly not my case! I have always felt an eternal force right next to me that works as my personal manager Sarthak says.
Unique Guitar Percussion – EGGTAR By Sarthak Mudgal
Did he fear the circumstances? “No way”, says Sarthak and says, “I never feared the circumstances because the worst days were the good days as they kept me going on. I actually fear the good days because they have the potential to make me ungrateful and lazy. Here I am with a lot of No’s still standing strong and not giving up till I shine stronger than a star. My mother, Sunita Sharma says that a person who is already went through his Karmas will not fear the rain! I am grateful towards God and my family and to each and every single person who stood by me when I was nothing.” Sarthak adores his elder brother Atrish Mudgal and always remembers him for inspiring him through the thick and thin.
Sharthak’s other passions are playing soccer with his brother. A graduate in arts from Kirori Mal College and a former scholarship holder from Berklee College of music, one of the very important thing Sharthak wanted to mention was, in his own words, “The only person who I really see as my true power is my elder brother Atrish Mudgal! He motivates me so I can achieve bigger goals. The next moment, Sarthak signs off, remembering his Guru:”Pandit Radhey Shyam Sharma who made me learn all the rhythms. I am truly grateful to him.”