Artist Details

Suphala

biography

Suphala's versatility as an artist is derived from a combination of personal eclectic style with the adaptability of the tabla - an instrument that lends itself to virtually any style of music through its enormous range and sublime sound.

Suphala's unique sound has attracted the admiration and attention of world-renowned recording-artists and has led to collaborations with the likes of Perry Ferrell (Jane's Addiction), Lady Ms. Kier (Dee-Lite), 4Hero, Vernon Reid (Living Colour), Sussan Deyhim, Joan Osbourne, Vikter Duplaix, DJ Logic, DJ Fafu, Norah Jones, and most recently, Timbaland.

An Indian born and raised in America, Suphala travels to India every year to explore new depths of tabla and Indian sound. She always loved the sound of the tabla and when she began her Indian classical training under the greatest tabla masters in the world, her passion for it only grew. Her tabla gurus, the late Ustad Allarakha and Ustad Zakir Hussain, have been a constant source of inspiration. The father and son took her in, and continue to reveal to her the complexity of this drum with its endless range and rhythmic possibilities. Suphala has traveled and played with Zakir on tours and continues to study the nuances of the instrument with him.

This February, in a historic and emotional series of concerts, Suphala was the first woman to play the tabla in public in Kabul since the Fundamentalist Islamic government banned women from public life, and for that matter all music. A woman tabla player is unheard of in Afghanistan today— and in general, it is an instrument traditionally played by men. She played with young and old musicians who welcomed her for her art, her direct connection to masters Ustad Zakir and Ustad Allarahka, and, in the words of Ustad Asef (a celebrated player who recently returned to Kabul after fourteen years of exile in London), "because she is an international, and because she is a woman.

Suphala is well versed in both Western and Indian classical music. With this solid foundation in Indian music coupled with her earlier training on the piano and violin, Suphala has gone on to compose and produce her own music, which incorporates a broad range of genres. Her versatility enables her to embrace jazz, hip-hop, rock, techno, and world fusion. In performance, Suphala leads her own band of musicians to integrate varied genres and create a rich, emotive, and spontaneous live sound.