I (ALOKE DUTTA) was born on July 22, 1953 in Bishnupur, India. This small town in the State of West Bengal is well known for its Hindu spiritual practices and for its artistic achievement in architecture, sculpture, terracotta, and all different forms of music, ranging from kirtan to folk music to raga music as well as drum music, primarily focusing on khol and pakhawaz.
My father Anadinath Dutta (1923-2002) was an authority of Bishnupur style of khol playing. He later studied pakhawaz, dhol and tabla, and became a unique multi-percussionist in the drum world.
My mother, Geeta Dutta (b. 1933) is not from a musical family but took care of my formal education.
In 1974, at age 21, I began to study tabla for the first time under my father's guidance. The most valuable lesson I received from Anadinath, who was a devout Hindu, was how to make art without having any utilitarian use. In other words, how to protect my art from being a decorative ornament for the other musicians. That was the single most powerful piece of information an artist would ever want to acquire. It enables an artist to play his/her own music, because now the true guidance comes from within. It destroys all the political, economical, and fake religious barriers. Thus, Anadinath Dutta is my musical mentor, philosophical guide, and spiritual guru.
Later, I took some lessons from Kolkata based two tabla teachers, Shankar Ghosh and his teacher Jnan Prakash Ghosh.
I have authored and published several books on tabla, and also released four performance CDs.
I have been living in Los Angeles, USA since 1997.
My only child, Ana, was born in 2006. She is showing some interest in drumming and will need all of your blessings to bloom fully as a drummer!
“...my tabla training (with Aloke) is rubbing off on the rest of the band (Tool).”
- Danny Carey (Modern Drummer, July, 2006)
“...Dutta stunned the crowd with his astounding tabla technique.”
- Modern Drummer
“...during the first song I fell into a trance, fixated on how fast his (Aloke's) fingers were moving and the sounds that were being vibrated off the drums."
- Mountain Weekly News
"...I know Sri Aloke Dutta as one of the very few outstanding young tabla players of our country."
- Nikhil Banerjee
“Clear sounds, complex movement and bayan modulation were the specialty of his playing.”
- Dainik Jagaran (Lucknow, India)
“...and on Saturday last the Nun’s Island Arts Centre was transformed into a little Delhi. The renowned tabla player Aloke Dutta was accompanied on the sitar...and the audience was treated to an evening of Indian delight.”
- Galway Gazette (Galway, Ireland)
“...Dutta took the tablas to the moon and back. The extremely rapid final section of his performance took the audience with him.”
- Albuquerque Journal