TITLE: Major League Tassa
SPEAKER: Major League Tassa
EVENT DATE: 01/31/2008
FORMAT: Video + Captions
RUNNING TIME: 53 minutes
TRANSCRIPT: View Transcript (link will open in a new window)
Major League Tassa performs Indo-Caribbean drumming and dance from Queens, New York, as part of the Homegrown Concert Series sponsored by the American Folklife Center.
Speaker Biography: The powerfully propulsive Tassa drumming of East Indians from the Caribbean region is performed by both Hindus and Muslims, in sacred as well as secular contexts. Major League Tassa, and accompanying dancers, from Queens, New York, present rhythms used for processions, the Diwali holiday, and weddings, along with contemporary tunes performed at clubs, sports bars and social events in the New York City area. All of the members of Major League Tassa are Trinidadian-Americans in their 20s and 30s. Its leader, Anil Raghoonanan, plays the dhol, a big, double-headed bass barrel drum made of wood covered with goatskin. Kevindra Raghoonanan performs on the jhanj, brass cymbals. Dave Seetaram, the "fully" and Doodnath "Phantom" Lalchan, the "cutter," play the conical, clay tassa drum. The fulley keeps up a steady rhythm, while the lead cutter performs dazzling improvisations while guiding the other players through modulations of the rhythms. Dancers Amy Basdeo and Lauren Moomlal perform traditional dancing practiced widely at religious ceremonies and weddings, as well as hot, contemporary chutney dancing.