MIKE LUKSHIS – Tabla
New Jersey native Mike (Michael) Lukshis is a dedicated practitioner of tabla, committed to sharing the joys of the instrument especially with those like him who do not have Indian music in their cultural heritage. Trained in western music, he brings a global perspective to his playing. He holds a B.A. in Music from Rutgers University, and was introduced to tabla while in college. Since 2012, Mike is the only non-Indian member of world-renowned tabla ensemble Talavya, performing with them at PASIC 2013, Ciudad de Las Ideas (TED-like event in Mexico), Lake Eden Arts Festival, Sarah Lawrence College, and more. In addition to his tabla performances as a soloist and accompanist for instrumental music and Kathak dance in the US and India, Michael has performed with several New Jersey-based bands, such as Natural Breakdown and Amber Blues.
KAUMIL SHAH – Tabla
Ahmedabad native Kaumil Shah’s identity is shaped by tabla. Prior to joining the Taalim School, he was a tabla teacher and performing artiste with Rhythm Riders in India. Aside from teaching tabla at the Taalim School, he is a member of Taalim tabla groups, and plays djembe with dance & world drum ensemble Pradhanica.
A disciple of Pandit Divyang Vakil, Shah has travelled the world performing tabla with celebrated ensemble Talavya, performing at Ciudad de las Ideas (Mexico), Percussive Arts Society International Convention, INK Conference (formerly TEDIndia), Vancouver Island Musicfest, and more. Album credits include two Talavya releases – Tabla Ecstasy and Power of Tabla. Shah is also a multi-percussionist with fusion band Taan.
SEJAL KUKADIA – Tabla
Sejal Kukadia is originally from upstate NY, and is a disciple of Pandit Divyang Vakil. Sejal is the author of Tabla Taalim: A Study in North Indian Percussion. As a member of the Middle Eastern Sephardic music band, Divahn, based in NYC, Sejal has traveled throughout the country spreading the art of tabla to non-Indian audiences. Sejal is one of very few female tabla artists in the USA. She is a member of the all-female tabla ensemble, Taalika, and a former member of the duo Tabla Upaj and the trio Tabla Triveni. As one of the original founding members of Taalim School of Indian Music, Sejal has been working at the school since 2002. In addition to teaching at Taalim, she is the head tabla teacher at Young Indian Culture Group, Inc in Long Island and Vidya Kendra School in Kearny, NJ.
LOREN OPPENHEIMER – Tabla
Loren Oppenheimer is originally from Charlottesville, Virginia. He is a committed and sincere disciple of Pandit Divyang Vakil. Loren is a tabla soloist and accompanist for music and kathak dance, and a full time teacher at the Taalim School of Indian Music. Loren has also conducted workshops and given performances in the USA, Canada, and India, and has participated in numerous community events which celebrate world music in the US.
Loren heads Taalim’s operations in Virginia.
MARK BUCCHERI – Keyboard / Piano
Pianist and keyboardist Mark Buccheri has performed at such New York city venues as Steinway Hall, Brooklyn Bowl, Bellhouse, Frying Pan NYC, and Galapagos Art Space in both classical and rock contexts. He has served on the piano faculty of the Performing Arts Conservatory of New York for the last 5 years and teaches an online Music Appreciation class at Sante Fe College in New Mexico. He received a Bachelors degree in Music from Northwestern University, and a Masters degree in Interactive Telecommunications from New York University. Mark has also been a tabla disciple of Pandit Divyang Vakil for many years and a teacher with Taalim for several years. Mark Buccheri is an experienced teacher, and is excited about sharing his love for music with children and adults.
HEENA PATEL – Management
The jane of all trades, Heena Patel is an engineer turned tabla player and music business manager who is passionate about promoting South Asian performing arts. As one of the driving business forces behind the multi-faceted music organization Rhythm Riders Music Productions (the sister organization of Taalim in India), Heena has established the Rhythm Riders and its artists, specifically renowned tabla ensemble Talavya, in the international music scene. Responsible for business development at Taalim, her aim to take South Asian performing arts to new and diverse audiences, while nurturing existing audiences. To further this aim, she also acts as a South Asian programming consultant for presenters, and career consultant for South Asian artists. As a musician, she is a member of female tabla ensemble Taalika, and regularly performs with Talavya as their accompanying artist on the harmonium.