About Ray

photo by Ira Landgarten 2009

photo by Ira Landgarten 2009

Ray Spiegel is a disciple of the late Tabla Master Ustad Alla Rakha since 1975, specializing in the Punjab Gharana (style) of Tabla playing. He has also benefited from the intensive training and guidance he has received from Ustad Zakir Hussain from 1973 to 1980. Ray began his formal training at the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, CA under Sri Shankar Ghosh in 1970. He studied with Sri B.S. Ramanna, (a disciple of Sheik Dawoodkhan of Hydrabad) in New Delhi in 1971 and 1972.

 Ray Spiegel Bio

He studied vibraphone and jazz theory with master musician Bobby Hutcherson from 1972-74 in San Francisco. He has performed in the U.S. and India as both accompanist and soloist, appearing with such well-known musicians and vocalists such as: Ustad Alla Rakha, Ustad Sultan Khan (Sarangi), Ustad Aashish Khan (Sarode), Pandit Buddhadev Das Gupta (Sarode), Pandit Vidyadhar Vyas (Vocalist), Pandit Manilal Nag (Sitar), Pandit Ragunath Seth (Bansuri flute) and Pandit Barun Kumar Pal (Hindustani Guitar).

Spiegel also plays a variety of musical instruments such as Indian folk drums, Vibraphone, marimba, and assorted western and Asian percussion. He is head of Simla House, Inc. an independent CD label.
Ray Spiegel Bio
Ray spent his formative years in the San Francisco Bay area, where he was associated with musicians such as Ustad Zakir Hussain, Ustad Alla Rakha, Bobby Hutcherson, and at the Ali Akbar College of Music, studying tabla and playing in the Diga Rhythm Band (with Mickey Hart and Zakir Hussain), and various small combos.
Ray has received prestigious grant awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the American Institute for Indian Studies (Smithsonian Institute) to further his study of Tabla.


Ray has given lecture-demonstrations and master classes as well as performing at Julliard, Harvard, Dartmouth, Colgate, Amherst, Bennington, the New School of NYC, Simon’s Rock College of Bard, Univ. of Northern Illinois (Dekalb), Univ. of Michigan, Lawrence University (Appleton, WI) and has taught Tabla at Weslyan University (Middletown, CT) for several years.

Outside the realm of traditional Indian Classical Music, Ray leads his group, the Ray Spiegel Ensemble, who play an original blend of Raga and Rhythm centered music, composes and records film and television soundtracks, and performs with many various artists. Performance and recording credits include: The Grateful Dead, Patty Smyth, Diga Rhythm Band, Zakir Hussain and the Rhythm Experience, Robert Bly, Najma, Bhagavan Das, Gabrielle Roth, Shankar, Bon Jovi, Paul Winter, Danilo Perez, Noirin Ni Riain, Mike Diamond of the Beastie Boys, and Bill Cosby television productions.


Ray playing vibes at The Falcon 2014

Ray playing vibes at The Falcon 2014

Discography (selected):

Diga Rhythm Band DIGA [Round Records RX-LA600-G/RX-110] 1976. Re-released on CD:[RYKODISC RCD 10101] 1988

The Grateful Dead – SHAKEDOWN STREET [Arista ALB6-8321] 1978

Sri Gour Goswami & Steve Gorn – THE INDIAN BAMBOO FLUTE [Lyrichord LLST 7387 Re-released on CD: LYRCD 7387] 1985

Tor Dietrichson – GLOBAL VILLAGE [Global Pacific Records WK 40728] 1987

Zakir Hussain & THE RHYTHM EXPERIENCE [Aspen Records APN 307 CD] 1987 & [Moment Records MRCD 1007] 1991

Ray on tabla accompanying Usha Kalliampurkar

Ray on tabla accompanying Usha Kalliampurkar

Tony Dagradi – SWEET REMEMBRANCE [Gramavision 18-8707-1] 1987

Patty Smyth – NEVER ENOUGH [Columbia CK 40182] 1987

Paul Alexandre John – JOURNEY OVER INDIA [Flying Bird Music] 1990

Gabrielle Roth & The Mirrors – TONGUES [Raven] 1995

Manilal Nag – LIVE IN WOODSTOCK [Raga-215] 1995

Kenny Werner/SYDA YOGA- RAGA TARANGA [SYDA Foundation] 1995

Celtic Twilight – VOL. 3: LULLABIES [HEARTS OF SPACE CD11107] 1996

Noirin Ni Riain – CELTIC SOUL [Living Music LMUS 0031] 1996

Gabrielle Roth & The Mirrors – ZONE UNKNOWN [Raven] 1997

Ray Spiegel Ensemble – SUM AND KALI [Simla House 001] 1998


Danilo Perez – CENTRAL AVENUE [Impulse! IMPD279] 1998 (Grammy Award Nominee)

Ustad Ahmedjan Thirakwa – THIRAKWA Bombay [SH002]1999*

Vidyadhar Vyas – COLORS OF THE NIGHT [SH 003] 2000*

Bhagavan Das – NOW [Karuna] 2000

Dave Tofani – AN AMERICAN GARDEN [Solowinds SW1701] 2001

Mickey Hart – THE BEST OF MICKEY HART [Rykodisc38525] 2002

Paul Alexandre John – DUSK MONSOON [SH 004] 2002*

Karl Berger & Friends – STILLPOINT [Double Moon DMCHR 71029] 2003

Barun Kumar Pal- RAGAS ON SLIDE GUITAR [SH 006] 2003*

Ray Spiegel Ensemble – RAGA JAZZ [SH 007] 2004*

John Platania – BLUES, WALTZES & BADLAND BORDERS [Train Wreck Records] 2007

Ustad Thirakwa Khan – THE GENIUS OF THIRAKWA [SH 110]  2008*

Ray Spiegel Ensemble – MOKSHA [SH 111] 2014*


Shunzo Ohno – RENEW [SO1003 Pulsebeats] ©2015

*produced by Ray Spiegel