I wrote TaReKiTa as a gift for a choir called Urban Voices Project. They are a choir of people who are currently or have recently experienced homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles. They are so dear to me, and one day I just decided to teach them about Indian rhythm. They enjoyed the lesson so much that I wanted to write them a piece that would use what I had taught them. The result was TaReKiTa – I literally wrote it in an hour, just in a single moment of inspiration, and recorded myself singing all the parts for them to learn. It has since become a staple of their repertoire, but it’s also been sung by so many choirs around the world. There is just something about the piece, perhaps borne out of my love for this choir, that just seems to resonate with people.
Practically speaking, this piece is based on sounds the Indian drum, the tabla, makes, called “bols” — they are onomatopoeic sounds that imitate the sound of the drum. The result is something like a scat would be in jazz – ecstatic, energetic, rhythmic music that feels good on the tongue.
Special Performance Requirements
This piece does not require Indian classical singers – a Western-trained choir can sing this piece. However, it can also definitely be sung by Indian classical singers with no Western training, if learned by ear. The piece is in Raag Jog.
Dha Tarekita, Dhum Tarekita, Nom Tarekita Takadimitaka
Takadimi Takajanu Takadimi Na
Here is a series of audio guides to aid with pronunciation and style.
Please note: This is a playlist – there are three parts to this series.
Hand Gesture (Mudra) Explanations
Shalini Haupt, the dancer and choreographer in TaReKiTa has put together a tutorial for the hand gestures that accompany the video of TaReKiTa. While the hand gestures are not mandatory to performing the piece, they are a way to engage more deeply with the Indian classical dance tradition called Bharatanatyam.
Since then, the piece has sold thousands of copies, and has been performed by choirs all over the world.
Here is an article written for the Oxford University Press blog about TaReKiTa