• Ben Hazleton

"I miss dancing"

Updated: Jul 7, 2021

Ben Hazleton's first blog for us reads a little like a script.

Maybe we're heading for our first theatre piece!

Curtain up on Bridgeside Lodge...


Ben Hazleton (bass & tabla)

DJ was sitting on a chair in the lounge. He gave a sigh and gazed into the distance. He sighed again and examined his hands, as if noticing them for the first time. He spots Ben unpacking and setting up his tabla.

DJ: “Oh, that’s an interesting looking machine “

Ben: “These are tabla, a set of drums from the subcontinent “ [plays...]

Dha Ti DhaGe Na Dha Tirikit

Dha Ti DhaGe Tin Na Kin Na

DJ: ”Oh, I like that fast bit, very nice“

DJ began to get very involved with the rhythm, joining in, drumming on the arms of his chair.

Ben: ”Your sense of rhythm is very good, did you ever study percussion?”

DJ: “No, just singing ,mainly in church. I would sing bass, you know. I started as a small boy in prep school, then later I was singing the bass part sometimes going up a bit, higher notes...”

Ben: ”Baritone?”

DJ: ”Yes, and some of us used to go to these jazz nights , you know. Lots of fun.”

Ben: ”Oh really? Was that a gig for dancing or sitting round listening?”

DJ: ”Both. Yes, it was terrific at these jazz nights, this kind of thing would fit right in.”

Ben began to experiment with tabla grooves, dynamics and sound quality. John, his eyes lighting up, picked out the beat. Smiling warmly "That's it..."

Carer Jyophi entered the room with an excited air: “Ohhh tabla! My heart! Can you play mridangam? I am a bharatanatyam dancer you know." Ben continues to play and she strikes some poses. DJ looks unnerved, his rhythmic reverie broken. He waves and leaves the room.

Jyophi: “Oh, you don’t know how thrilling this is for me...”

Ben, spurred on by a knowledgeable and interested party tries some dance compositions.

Jyophi nods and smiles approvingly, throws some shapes.

Jyophi: “How much can you get for one program playing tabla ? I have a friend who sings Hindustani classical music, very nice.”

Ben: “Well it depends in the event or occasion, It really varies “

Jyophi: “In Bangalore you can get £200 for 1 hour . This is important, this is a great art it needs to be respected. I trained 18 years bharatanatyam dance, I always respected my gurus . But here in london I have no time for dancing. Always working, working. They said I could dance here [at Bridgeside Lodge] but there is no money for that so how could I? This art needs to be valued and respected. You play well. Did you learn in India?”

Ben: “No, I learned in London.“

Jyophi: “Where did you get these tabla ? Are they from India?

Ben: “Yes”

Jyophi: "You know, I work so hard here. My husband works doubly hard. We have two young sons. I wake up at 5 o'clock to cook, clean the house and leave to work in care homes. I miss dancing.“


Ben also brought his electric bass for a song-writing session with J and her fiancee Matt.

Matt used to play bass for a punk rock band The Blaggers in the 80s and 90s under his stage name Matt Vinyl. He hadn't picked up his bass for many years but Ben managed to persuade him...

J cannot communicate verbally but her face is so expressive. The joy she showed watching Matt on the bass was heart-warming and we certainly hope it will be the first of many!

Exit stage left...

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