What to say? While Don and Kwasi have had a significant impact on my life, the enormity of the influence of Sri Trichy Sankaran on me is hard to put into words.
He is indeed one of the best musicians I have ever been in contact with, and definitely one of the greatest living drummers of our time. I am thankful everyday for my relationship with him. Greatness such as his does not come along often.
It was at York where I first heard his him play...in a concert with flautist T. Vishwanathan. It was my first year of school (1998) and I had never heard Carnatic/South Indian music before. I had thought there was only sitar, tabla and Ravi Shankar. My mind was blown open...my ears peaked, my thirst had begun. What was I hearing? It had a physical effect on me and I found myself laughing out loud at some of the things I was experiencing. Not because they were funny, but because that is all I knew to do. What were the sounds he was making and how did he play that simple instrument and make it explode, purr, roar, going into the macro and micro expanses of time itself and easily put a smile on my face. Part of me was actually scared because I knew I had encountered something that had the potential to alter the course of where I thought my life was heading.
I didn't know what to do.
I had to wait until the next year to actual begin studying with him and from that point on my life has not been the same. As I was from Newfoundland, he was happy to know that I was one of Don's students. He had been to the Sound Symposium and spoke highly of Don and the festival itself. My studies with him in Toronto, St. John's and of course in India are etched in me. Sometimes I would keep tala (cyclic rhythm structure) for him at home while he "practised".....what he would play confounded me, it had a very real physical/psychological effect and made me sweat...all I was doing was clapping my hands in a steady pattern! Assisting him at his concerts in India and sitting next to him during 3-4 hour concerts have been some of the best moments of my musical career...even though I was just listening, handing him water and attending to his needs as he played. It is as close to the source as one will ever get. Despite his greatness, he graciously gives me the chance to learn so much from him in many ways, directly and indirectly, about music, aesthetics, time and life itself.
My experiences through him have had a major impact on many of the decisions I have made in my life.
I can only hope that this journey continues.