Peter and I attended a tabla workshop with Issam Houshan last weekend. He is a very famous and accomplished drummer in the Middle-Eastern style and it was a great experience to learn even the small amount of technique we were able to cover in the 3 hours we spent under his instruction.
The sounds he's able to get out of his drum were just amazing! Everything from deep, rich reverberating "doums" to ear-splitting sharp "teks". I actually own a smaller size of the exact same drum that he uses for performances: the Issam Signature Doumbek. My only complaint about the workshop was that, with 40-odd drummers in the room, it was difficult to hear what kind of a sound I was making as we all simultaneously practiced the rhythms.
So I picked up the drum when I got home and gave it a whirl. Turns out when I play the tabla, it sounds like I'm beating on a cardboard box with oven mitts on.
Seems I have some work to do before taking my show on the road!