In the past, I have written about chaiti, a folk song form from northern India traditionally sung during the month of Chaitra as per the Hindu calendar. This form was adapted by Hindustani vocalists and has as a result become an integral part of the extended repertoire related to thumri and dadra. Today, I would like to draw the attention of readers to the manner in which the tabla accompanies the chaiti presentation.

Conventionally, the 14-matra Deepchandi is used to accompany the chaiti. The stanzas are set to this taal, but the interludes change to the eight-matra Kaherva taal and the first line of the song-text is rearranged to fit the new rhythmic canvas. Once all the performers are settled into the changed scansion, the tabla player launches into a series of laggis in Kaherva.

We will listen to two tracks that illustrate the tabla accompaniment for chaiti.

The first track features thumri-dadra exponent Girija Devi.


The second track features Nirmala Devi, well-known performer of the thumri-dadra and allied forms.


One of India’s leading tabla players, Aneesh Pradhan is a widely recognised performer, teacher, composer and scholar of Hindustani music. Visit his website here.

This article is based on Pradhan’s book Tabla: A Performer’s Perspective.