Born and bred in the UK, Gurdain Rayatt is one of the finest young tabla players in the country today. His rigorous training from his father and grandfather and also the late Pandit Shankar Ghosh has resulted in a varied and rich lineage of repertoire and style from the Punjab, Benares and Farukhabad gharanas. He studied both English with Film and Music with Composition at King’s College London and University of West London, gaining two Bachelor Degrees.
Gurdain began his tutelage from his father Harkirat Rayatt at the age of 3 with guidance from his father’s guru and grandfather Bhai Gurmit Singh Virdee. Bhai Gurmit Singh Virdee had learned the Punjab style of tabla playing from Ustad Bahadur Singh (a disciple of Mian Fakir Baksh who was a gurubhai of Mian Qader Baksh, the guru of Ustad Alla Rakha) and the Benares style of tabla playing from Pandit Samta Prasad.
Gurdain quickly became inspired by performing maestros of the time including Pandit Anindo Chatterjee, Ustad Zakir Hussain, Pandit Kumar Bose and Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri. Through his father’s efforts in promoting high quality tabla performances, Gurdain was fortunate to learn from and play for these maestros at close quarters. He has had interactions and taleem from other great tabla players and teachers including Pandit Suresh Talwalkar, Pandit Yogesh Samsi, Pandit Subhankar Banerjee, Satyajit Talwalkar and Pandit Nayan Ghosh.
His main professional development came from his extensive taleem with the late maestro Pandit Shankar Ghosh and his son, Bickram Ghosh who both tirelessly dedicated their time to nurturing Gurdain’s talent. After a year-long stay in Kolkata, India to strictly develop his playing and technique, Gurdain spent time with professional musicians such as Pandit Tarun Bhattacharya, Pandit Kushal Das, Pandit Debjyoti Bose, Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya, Niladri Kumar and has been performing with a wide range of musicians and dancers ever since.
Aside from performing indian classical tabla solo recitals, Gurdain has accompanied and collaborated with some of the leading indian classical musicians and dancers of today, including:
- Pandit Birju Maharaj and Saswati Sen
- Rani Khanam
- Ustad Nishat Khan
- Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya
- Pandit Alok Lahiri and Abhishek Lahiri
- Ustad Dharambir Singh
- Prattyush Banerjee
- Kala Ramnath
- David Trasoff
- Murad Ali Khan
- Ilyas Khan
- Anupama Bhagwat
- Purbayan Chatterjee
- Roopa Panesar
- Harmeet Virdee
- Ameen Ali Khan
- Pandit Pratap Pawar
- Amina Khayyam Dance Company
- Balbir Singh Dance Company
- Soumik Datta
He was a prominent member of the tabla-tarang group “Chakardar” showcasing tabla solo repertoire within a group of 5-10 tabla players at a time as well as Sam-Yo, the South Asian Music Youth Orchestra which combined both north and south indian melodic and percussion instruments. Further collaborations with Carnatic musicians include performances with Harikumar (violinist), R N Prakash (mridangam), Pirashanna Theverajah (mridangam/ghatam/kanjira), Prathap Ramachandra (ghatam).
Non-Indian Classical Music
Gurdain is also regularly involved in cross-cultural, fusion and world music projects. He is a prominent member of the world music collective “Kefaya”, based in the UK, as well as the blues and indian classical trio blend of “Michael Messer’s Mitra” who have toured the UK and performed in Switzerland in 2014, 2015 and 2016 with tracks from their 2016 album release “Call of the Blues”. He has performed alongside the UK Philharmonic Orchestra as well as the UK Philharmonia with violinist Kala Ramnath and regularly collaborates with prominent UK musicians including Bernhard Schimpelsberger (drums/percussion), Jesse Bannister (saxophone), Soumik Datta (sarod), Giuliano Modarelli (guitar), Al Macsween (keys/synth/electronics)
Gurdain has performed in major indian classical music festivals including Saptak, Harivallabh and Darbar as well as major world music festivals including WOMAD in 2013 and 2016. He has performed on radio with the BBC on many occasions as well as Zee TV and Sky Arts. Performing venues include The Royal Albert Hall, V&A Museum, Leeds International Music Festival, The NEC Arena, House of Commons and Westminster Abbey, The Sage Gateshead, WOMAD, Brighton Dome as well as performances in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales. He has performed globally in UK, India, Poland, France, Belgium, Spain, Ireland, USA, Holland and more…
Gurdain has conducted workshops and lectures to a variety of people from young school children to Philharmonia orchestra members, with regular group and one to one classes in person and online via webcam. He is passionate about passing on his enthusiasm and knowledge of tabla, music and drumming to his peers and students in exciting and innovative ways.