Tafo Khan: för och emot

Har du hört talas om denne ustad, Tafo Khan?

I så fall är du nog för insatt i tabla för oss, som inte ens lyckats en gång för alla slå fast om man ”kan lyssna på tablasolo även om man inte själv spelar tabla”.

Tafo Khan, introducerad på internet år 2000 av Ferhan Qureshi i San Francisco och då stavad ”Tofu Khan”, vilket många tyckte var utomordentligt lustigt, har tagit tablaspelet ”till en helt ny nivå”, och då pratar vi om hastighet. Han livnär sig på något annat, nämligen att skriva och producera filmmusik i Pakistan, men har ändå tagit denna supersnabba musik till hastigheter andra tablaspelare bara kunnat drömma om.

Om de nu gjort det. Diskussionens vågor går alltid höga kring Tafo, eller Altaf Hussein Khan som han heter i passet. Vi har gått igenom kommentarerna under olika Youtubevideor, och har nöjet (för det är det!) att presentera ett axplock. Vi har försökt sortera i för och emot – ibland är ”för” en reaktion på ”emot” så de kommer i omvänd ordning, men lev med det.

* * *

För Emot
World’s fastest tabla player ever!!! What’s the point of being fast when no one can understand what you’re playing?
To the listeners who just find him just fast and technical and not lyrical: Are you joking? He is very lyrical! OK, we all know it is lightning fast, but where the hell is the sweetness?
Amazing speed, but I can’t find the musicality within ustadji’s [!] playing.
Well … it is entertaining for people who just want the high-tech stuff without the musicality.
He has a unique style, different from other ustads. He doesn’t play themetically like ustad Shaukat Hussain. He has mastered a unique style which he plays with the same naghma and brings his own groupies to cheer him … he does no layakari, which is the zenith of tabla playing.
Was he banned from coming to London for certain charges?
Ask Tari and Zakir to maintain chanchal jhole with qaida for hours and then you’ll feel the difference between ustad Tafo and others! I saw all great ustads seeking opportunities to listen to Tafo Khan Sahib. A desperate joker playing to the gallery trying to mesmerize the audience with his berasi fast tAns? Don’t compare chalk with cheese! Zakir has incorporated the best of Punjabi, Banaras and Farrukhabadi ang. Tafo cannot reach his level in the next two lives. Even Tafo’s son’s shagirds play faster than Tafo, so what’s the big deal?
I guess you haven’t listened to such complex tabla before … I feel sorry for you if you cannot value it. Useless. Don’t watch Tafo Khan, you will learn absolutely nothing from it. This guy has no feeling and cannot justify tabla.
You black Indians are jealous about great Pakistani tabla masters like ustad Tafo Khan! If ustad Tafo Khansaheb was still alive [han är inte död!], he would feel disgusted to have such fans.
I’ll bring my two-year-old boy to come show him how it’s done. Bad musicianship. This is just stupid and boring.
For clarity I vote Shaukat Hussain, for rhythm Tari Khan, for versatility Altaf Hussain and for speed Tafo … Vintage Tafo Khan. He could definately scare some kids with the face he makes.
Good but not certainly the best. (!?) A very mentally disturbed artist who does not have any sense of presenting solo tabla at all.
If you don’t care for his rendition, who cares about that!? Who is interested in it?! You judged his art negatively – may you be an amateur or your ears victims of swine flu! Look, I’m not saying he doesn’t know how to play, but this performance was appaling. Please dont misconstrue my comments as disrespect. I dont know enough about tabla to comment on Tafo sahib – but this was bad. [!]
He is the most tayyar tabliya of this era, nobody can match his pace, but perhaps lacks a bit of musicality …
This guy puts so much dynamics and emotion in his fast playing!
That tihai is one of the best I’ve seen. Really cool playing. Also, the mishra jati qaida he plays later (tak dhin tak) is almost impossible to play that fast. I wonder how he does it. ’ The speed can make the performance difficult to enjoy as every piece sounds similar. The development also doesn’t seem to be as profound due to how quickly he goes from starting to finishing the compositions.
His tihais especially are the most creative I’ve ever seen. All he plays is these relas … or qaidas that sound like relas. Whatever he plays are simply structured compositions.
Tafo is the wildest ustad I have seen play. My mind cannot wrap itself around this mystical video. Obviously this audience has never heard good tabla. Peshkar is supposed to be slow and melodious, the point is atmosphere and layakari, he seems to miss both. It sounds like a person gasping for breath.
Tafo sahib has no purity or emphasis on bols, but I can guarantee that there is nobody on earth who can play tabla with such superb speed. He starts with the speed from where others end. Yes, peshkar is supposed to be played slowly, emphasizing the bols and creating an atmosphere, but he is not doing so. He is mechanical and he is damn fast.
His purity and emphasis on bols is greater than anyone’s who will ever comment on it. The reasons he isn’t famous are:

1. Where did his dhire dhire go?
2. He messed up the Punjabi style and twisted tabla his own way.
3. He has mechanical speed but no purity or accents or emphasis on specific bols. It’s like machine playing – really stiff.
4. He challenged Zakir Hussain and Tari Khan. He failed.

Kanske är den här kulturen en något bidragande orsak till att vi egentligen inte lyssnar på tablasolo, men i så fall också till att vi skriver så mycket om det, till skillnad från allt annat vi inte lyssnar på.

Hur det var med den utmaningen av Zakir och Tari vet vi inte men Tafo ska faktiskt ha utmanat alla Indiens (och säkert Pakistans) tablaspelare på hastighetstduell. En vandringssägen gör gällande att Swapan Chaudhuri omedelbart antog utmaningen, skrev till Tafo och erbjöd sig att betala flygbiljett och hotellrum om de kunde göra upp i Kolkata. Tafo svarade inte. Myndigheterna såg väl till att brevet kom bort på vägen, för att inte riskera diplomatisk skandal.

Här är hur som helst ett klipp där Zakir sitter vid Tafos fötter:

Haters gonna hate!


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