Varun is the founder and director of Taal Inc.
The visionary behind the motto
Come. Drum. Be One.
Inspired in part by his father, who played drums and guitar in college, and mother, who worked as a radio jockey in Kolkata, Varun took the drum kit at a young age and never looked back. Growing up, Varun dabbled with thoughts of becoming a doctor, chef and joining the army.
But in the end, valuable guidance (and good sense!) prevailed and Varun pursued clinical psychology along with drumming. He is now a published psychologist, master neuro-linguistic programming practitioner, a drum kit player, percussionist (specializing in traditional djembe) and drum circle facilitator. His aim is to marry his two loves: rhythm and psychology – It is ‘GENESIS’.
TEDX TALK BY VARUN ON THE RHYTHM OF MUSIC AND LIFE
Varun is a Taal Inc. certified drum circle facilitator and member of the Drum Circle Facilitator’s Guild; an association based in the USA that recognizes facilitators of rhythm based events. He has been facilitating group drumming activities for a wide range of populations since 2003. He has studied with various teachers nationally and internationally. With over 2000 drum circles as a facilitator under his belt, the highlight of his career has been when he facilitated a drum circle at the Mumbai University for 30 underprivileged children where the special guest was none other than the ex-first lady of the USA, Michelle Obama. Apart from this he has also drummed for the prime minister of India Sri. Narendra Modi and drummed with the ex-Chief Minister of Gujarat Smt. Anandiben Patel. He has been tirelessly working towards correlating drum circle concepts with that of psychology and has published (co-authored) academic papers exploring the potential of group drumming and the arts vis a vis health and well-being.
VARUN FROM TAAL INC FACILITATES A DRUM CIRCLE FOR 30 UNDERPRIVILEGED CHILDREN WITH MICHELLE OBAMA AS THE SPECIAL GUEST.
Varun, the head of Taal Inc.’s School of Rhythm has been playing the djembe for over 10 years and is an advanced level student of djembe grandmaster Mamady Keita (president of the Tam Tam Mandingue Djembe Academy) He was christened as ‘certified teacher’ of the djembe by the grandmaster himself in Tulum, Mexico in 2014 and as ‘senior certified teacher’ in Monterrey in 2017. He is the first (and currently, only) Indian to be bestowed this honour. You can learn the djembe at Taal Inc.’s Traditional West African Djembe classes or Jr. Djembe classes and study with India’s only certified TTM professor and team of teachers.
THE TAAL INC RHYTHM ENSEMBLE PLAYING A TRADITIONAL MANIAN RHYTHM CALLED ‘KUKU’
Varun has been performing since the age of 15 and is among the most sought-after drummers in India. He has played with veterans such as Sivamani, Amit Kilam (Indian Ocean), Taufiq Qureshi, Fazal Qureshi, Raghu Dixit, Dhruv Ghanekar, Jayant Sankrityayana, Derek Julien, Roger Dragonette, Sanjay Joseph, Shri Rajeev Devasthali, Kaustubh Dhavale, K Mohan, Rushad Mistry and more. Varun is also a part of Agnee, India’s biggest folk-rock band, for three years. He has performed nationally and internationally; TTMDA 25th Anniversary concert, Monterrey, Mexico in 2017, TTMDA concert, Beijing 2016 and Tokyo 2016, Abene Festival 2013, Senegal, Bali Cultural Festival 2011, Singapore Drumming Festival 2010, Dumru – the drum festival of India 2012, MTV Unplugged, MTV Coke Studio, to name a few. A grade 8 drum kit player as certified by the Trinity College of Music, London, Varun has learned from many teachers. Mamady Keita and Joshua Banks from Brisbane, Australia (ex Berklee College of Music, Boston) are his most recent and influential djembe and drum kit teachers respectively. He is a mridangam student of Shri Chandrashekar since 2007. Varun also plays the dhol, conga, bongo, darbuka, tar, dafli, daff and other percussion instruments. His latest musical creation is the collaborative concept of Taal Inc. and Friends.
VARUN VENKIT PLAYING WITH COMPOSER DHRUV GHANEKAR ON ‘BIRHA’ FOR MTV COKE STUDIO
He is a published clinical psychologist (M.A Pune University) and a master neuro-linguistic programming practitioner certified by the National Federation of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, USA. In the pursuit of excellence, he has undertaken research studies to go to the core of understanding the physiological and psychological benefits of drumming and arts on health and well-being. His work has been published in the Journal of Arts And Health, Canterbury and in a textbook of Arts and Health by Oxford University Press. Varun has always been interested in using drumming as a form of therapy. He has shared his passion for music and healing by presenting in national and international conferences some of which are ‘The Arts & Health Conference, Folkstone, UK 2013, ‘The Asian Rhythm Facilitator’s Conference, Malaysia 2016 and The Drum Circle Facilitator’s Guild Conference in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA 2017. Encouraged by positive feedback on the uplifting effects of drum circles from people from all walks of life, he aims to continue using rhythm to soothe, heal and motivate. He currently leads a course that teaches people how to work with groups using rhythm to facilitate positive change. To know more about this, click here
A GLIMPSE OF A ENERGY IN A DRUM CIRCLE WITH VARUN VENKIT