Kilele – Reflections from Tabla player Yousuf

Kilele: Rhythms from East London is a cross-artform Learning and Participation project.

We are working with 3 schools in Tower Hamlets to tell the story of their neighbourhood through characters from 3 different centuries.

The team involves DM Associate Musicians, a trainee Associate and two professional artists – storyteller/actor Rez Kabir and professional Tabla player Yousuf Ali Khan.

There will be a live performance at Rich Mix in London on 15th July, which is open and accessible to all. Reserve your free ticket here.

Yousuf Ali Khan Tabla Player performing live

Yousuf’s Reflections on the experience so far

Prior to this, I have never worked with children in a SEND setting before, and at first I didn’t know what to expect, but once I started, I realised that I really do enjoy spending time with the children.

The experience so far hasn’t been as challenging as I thought it would be, the children are all absolutely lovely, hearing them greet you really does make my day, when I enter the room and I’m greeting with a chorus of ‘Good morning Yousuf’, seeing the smiles and seeing them eagerly waiting for the class to start, really does make you feel you are making a difference to the children. What really surprises me is the children’s’ thirst for knowledge, how eager they are to learn which is so lovely to see.

The teachers have also been lovely, their support has also been very helpful and appreciated and they have also helped to make this experience so enjoyable.

Working with the children has also been very beneficial for me, the experience also has taught me a great deal with how to teach to children with different access needs, a new skill I have acquired from this experience and a skill I know will come to be very useful for me in the future and I am very grateful for this experience.

The children have a very good understanding of rhythm, they particularly enjoy playing the percussion instruments and it puts a smile on my face seeing how happy the instruments make them.

What I’m really looking forward to now, is for the children to perform on the stage at Rich Mix on the 16th July, in the meantime they’ll be learning a lot more about music and gaining new skills.

I have learnt a lot of things from the children, and I hope the children have also learnt things from me too.

Yousuf Ali Khan is collborating with the Drake Music team on this exciting performance project in East London.

Yousuf’s keen interest in Tabla led him to leave home and study in Kolkata (India) with Pandit Anil Bhattecherjee of Lucknow Gharawana.

His principle study of classical Tabla was Guru Pandit Shankar Gosh of Purab Gharawana in Kolkata from 1980 to 1984 under a Government Scholarship of India.

Currently he is working in the London Borough of Brent, Enfield & tower Hamlets, as a specialist Asian Music instructor. Yousuf is also associated with the Grand Union Orchestra, a renowned Orchestra group of the UK.