Toronto Tabla Ensemble begin their new single “Dream Symposium”

Out of the darkness and into the light, the Toronto Tabla Ensemble begin their new single “Dream Symposium” in a haze of disharmonic percussion, a synchronized melody beckoning us into the mudslide of beats without warning us of what might lay on the other side of its thick wall of sound. The drums run head-first into a groove the size of an ocean tidal wave, and without breaking stride with the tempo that we started with, we segue into the next section of the song’s gripping, multi-tier rhythm and become all the more lost in the hurricane of heroic beats starting to take hold of anything and everything that is within earshot of the track.

There’s not a lot of time to think about what’s going to happen next when the Toronto Tabla Ensemble are in a jam, but this is particularly true of “Dream Symposium,” which despite running almost four full minutes in total length feels like a staggered symphonic opus that is being presented to us in movements instead of conventional bars. Even if we wanted to try and slow things down and work through each strand of the melodic fabric, it would be too intimidating a process to undertake – if there is a message to be taken away from this song, it’s that life is relatively simple, and often enjoyed the most when not overthinking things as beautiful as a jubilantly colorful and crisp drumbeat.


We come full-circle in “Dream Symposium” with a simpler ending than what I would have expected, but the subtle crossing of the finish line doesn’t mute the roar of the past four minutes in the least. I’ve heard a bit of the Toronto Tabla Ensemble’s work before now, including but not limited to their last album Bhumika, their Compilations mix (released twelve years ago in 2007) and, of course, the especially incredible debut album Second Palla, and I can vouch that this song can sit beside anything they have stamped their name on to date. Theirs is a music that was supposed to be reserved for the likes of kings and demigods, but if you’ve presently got access to a computer or your local record store, you can experience it for yourself today – regardless of how blue your blood is.

Gwen Waggoner