Post #6: Ra – Ra – Sis Boom Dha – self-composed Tukras, in all taals

This is a tukra composition I wrote based on a popular Western cheerleading chant (based on the sounds of a firecracker) originally from 1867, see also. My Grandma used to quote the Polish version: Ra – Ra – Sis Boom Bah, hit em on the head with a Keilbasa.  I thought the syllables and history were perfect for the bols of tabla and the impersonating nature of Tukras. (e.g. cricket game (same), mother-daughter argument,etc.).

For “Ra” I used the stroke as in “tek gara – ne dha” on the sur. For “sis” I use a sliding palm over the sahai–this represents the firing of the firecraker. For “Boom” (the firecracker’s explosion), an accented bayan (sometimes with the entire hand).  And instead of “Bah” (the crowd saying “ah”), I use–of course–“dha”. Therefore, I call these compositions “Ra- ra- sis boom dha-”.

I have the first composition as a video, so the strokes used can be seen. The rest are audio with a picture of my notation sheet for each. A written composition categorization method that has helped me organize my practice and process my repertoire can be found at the top of each sheet: number representing the taal, type of composition, and number of this composition, separated by a hyphen, e.g. 12-T-2: Ektaal, Tukra, second tukra in my repertoire.

The original composition that came to me was in 23 beats (or 11.5). I liked it so much, that I decided to challenge myself into writing it in every common taal: 9 beats, 9.5, 10, 10.5, 11, 12, 13, 7 (14), 15, 16.

Structure: Most of the compositions (not including the original) use the motivic development technique of rhythmic diminution, taking the 8-beat phrase (“Ra- ra- sis boom dha-”) and squishing it into a 6-beat rhythm (“Ra – ra  sis boom dha”) in most of these compositions–and always ending with a tehai that fits the taal.

*recitation on 9.5 taal is incorrect. I forgot the half beat rest after Dha that leads off the second cycle. The playing of that composition is correct.

Lastly, the notation of the original composition can be found here:
23 beat ra ra sis boom dha

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