“TablaGirl” Tina Sugandh

"TablaGirl" Tina Sugandh : Modern DrummerHello, MD! I am a singer/songwriter, but I was given the name “TablaGirl.” My tabla skills actually just led me to Ringo Starr’s house, where I had the absolute honor of singing and playing tabla on his album, as well as showing him a bit about the tabla. Check out the hilarious Ringo and I at the link below.

I’ve had a strong love for anything percussive since I was very young. I started singing with my family professionally when I was five years old, and didn’t actually realize my love for percussion until I was eight. The fact that I had a sense of rhythm was discovered purely by accident. My family and I were performing on stage when I was eight years old, and my dad was playing dholak, is an Indian hand drum that is very different from the tabla. He wasn’t feeling so great at this particular show and so, out of the blue, on stage, I asked my dad if I could take over for him on dholak while he sang his most energetic song of the night. I had never touched a dholak before, but he said, “yes” anyway since I was his eight-year-old baby giving him my brown puppy-dog eyes. I started playing, and my mom, my dad, my sister Seema, the audience, and I were all shocked at how good my sense of rhythm was for an eight-year-old.

"TablaGirl" Tina Sugandh and Ringo Starr : Modern DrummerWhen we went home from the show that day, my parents said that I should start taking tabla lessons, since the tabla is a very intricate instrument and it would be a fun challenge for me. Shortly after that experience, I had another similar epiphany at my neighbor’s house. My neighbor had a dru kit and showed me how to play a basic beat on it. I eventually fell in love with the tabla, and now I just released my debut album, TablaGirl, where I sing, write, and play tabla on every track!

I’m so excited about the variety of percussion on my debut album. Although it is a mainstream pop album, it has a strong Indian flare, with lots of ancient Indian percussion such as the tabla (obviously), naal, dhol, dholak, mridangam, ghatam, daffli, ghungharu, Khanjira, goob goob, and more–and no, I’m not making these names up! Advertisement

This album took me three years to make, and I am thrilled to have people hear some Bollywood sounds that are laid down by real instruments–especially the percussive elements. With my album TablaGirl, I really hope to make instruments like the tabla as mainstream as the congas are today!

For the Ringo clip visit, and for more on my CD, visit