Tag Archives: Indian classical

Artist Profiles: Debashish Bhattacharya

Debashish Bhattacharya

India’s Debashish Bhattacharya is one of the greatest slide guitarists in the world. He has, both through creating the actual design of the instrument, and with his incredible talent and discipline, elevated the Hindustani slide guitar to be the highest evolution of slide guitar anywhere. Debashish started Indian music from his parents before he learned the alphabet.

Born into a musical family on January 12, 1963, in Kolkata (Calcutta), India, Debashish Bhattacharya learned to sing before he could talk. At the age of 3, he started playing the Hawaiian lap steel guitar, giving his first major concert on All India Radio at 4.

In his childhood he mastered many Indian classical instrumental styles as well as vocal music from different musical teachers in Calcutta. He became a disciple and student of Brij Bhushan Khabra, the father of Indian classical guitar, for 10 years, and also trained under Ajoy Chakrabarty, the eminent Indian vocalist. He also studied with Ustad Ali Akbar Khan.

The first slide guitarist to receive the President of India Award in 1984 he was made a Pandit (master) at 40. Since then he has been established as one of the world’s most outstanding slide guitarists by tours of inspirational live concerts and bestselling albums, including the breathtaking collaboration with slide guitarist Bob Brozman, Mahima. A designer, as well as a virtuoso, Debashish has designed nineteen slide guitars since he began experimenting in his twenties.

To develop his playing, he has undergone decades of disciplined study of Indian vocal technique combined with his instrumental work. Debashish can sing perfectly in parallel with every blindingly fast melody he plays. Possessed of a very open musical mind, Debashish is eager and more than qualified to collaborate and truly blend with musicians from any other country.

Since 1996, his collaboration with Bob Brozman has resulted in two “World of Slide” tours of the USA and Canada, plus more appearances with Bob, and with The International Troupe, in Canada and South Africa. Debashish also toured Europe and recorded with John McLaughlin with Shakti. In 2002, Debashish returned to Quebec with Bob.

All the guitars heard on 3: Calcutta Slide-Guitar 3: Calcutta Slide-Guitar (Riverboat TUGCD1036), his 2005 album, are unique instruments designed by Debashish himself, a Trinity of Guitars, Chaturangui, Gandharvi and Anandi, representing three generations of instruments, while also continuing a thousand-year tradition of music. 3: Calcutta Slide-Guitar is shaped from Debashish’s original three-finger picking technique.

Discography:

Ahir Bhairav & Bhairavi (India Archives, 1992)
Calcutta to California (Frequency Glide, 1996)
Raga Bhimpalasi (India Archives, 1997)
Sunrise (Sagarika Music, 1998)
Hindustani Slide Guitar (India Archives, 2000)
Mahima (Riverboat, 2003)
Till Death Do Us Part (Saregama, 2004)
Season of Life (Saregama, 2004)
The Melting Pot Overfloweth (Saregama, 2004)
Love’s Dawn (Saregama, 2004)
Calcutta Slide-Guitar, Vol. 3 (Riverboat, 2005)
Raga Pahadi Jhinjhoti (India Archives, 2007)
Calcutta Chronicles: Indian Slide Guitar (Riverboat, 2008)
O Shakuntala! (Riverboat, 2009)
Beyond the Ragasphere (Riverboat, 2013)
Madeira: If Music Could Intoxicate (Debashish Bhattacharya, 2013)
Slide-Guitar Ragas From Dusk Till Dawn (Riverboat, 2015)
Hawaii to Calcutta: A Tribute to Tau Moe (Riverboat, 2017)

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Artist Profiles: Buddhadev Das Gupta

Buddhadev Dasgupta

Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta was a virtuoso performer who created a uniquely modern style rooted in a profound knowledge and feeling for raga music. He will be remembered along with giants such as Vilayat Khan, Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan for defining instrumental music in North India after independence.

Buddhadev was born in Bihar in 1933. For an extended period of thirty-eight years, he undertook a monumental regimen of practice and study under the illustrious Acharya Radhika Mohan Maitra, a celebrated performer and teacher. Radhika Mohan Maitra was known not only for his brilliance of technique but also for his scrupulous attention to correct and logical exposition of ragas as well as for his vast repertoire of ragas and compositions. These qualities were passed to his foremost student Buddhadev Dasgupta.

Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta’s style represented a modern synthesis of the rababiya and beenkar styles. This synthesis manifested itself in his brilliant combination of complex right hand picking patterns with fluid left hand movement. Buddhadevji’s baaj, however, was not a mere synthesis of these two idioms but a thrustful, avant-garde approach that gave him a totally new dimension to sarod playing and to Indian instrumental music in general. A hallmark of the music of Buddhadev Dasgupta is the architecture of his formal organization. Grand large scale structures are eveloped through systematic exposition of traditional forms.

Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta is perhaps unmatched in the variety and complexity of his taans (rapid melodic sequences that convey the contours of a raga). Long flowing melodic lines are masterfully constructed from smaller phrases which are concise formulations of the essential grammar of the raga. Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta is also well known for his intense cultivation of laykari. Rhythmic patterns of striking beauty and force are an essential part of his playing.

Dasgupta recorded for several major record labels, including HMV, Nimbus and Columbia. As as scholar and a musician, he contributed to Nimbus Records’ four-volume “Raga Guide”, and to “Alap” a book and ten-volume introduction to Hindustani Music published by Times Music. Panditji was on the panel of experts of All India Radio, Vishwa Bharati University, Rabindra Bharati University, Allahabad University, Indira Kala Sangeet Vishwavidyalaya, Sangeet Research Academy, the Rotterdam Conservatorium of Music, and the Den Haag Conservatory. Buddhadev was a “Top Grade” artist of AlR, and revered in musical communities as a connoisseur’s musician.

A recipient of many awards, Buddhadev Dasgupta was decorated with such coveted honours as the Shiromani Award (1992), Sangeet Bhaskar of the Pracheen Kala Kendra (1995), and most importantly, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1993). He was also an active and successful teacher, and a number of his disciples have made an impressive mark with music-lovers.

Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta died on January 15, 2018.

Partial discography:

Nidhi

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Artist Profiles: Brij Bhushan Kabra

Brij Bhushan Kabra

Pandit Brij Bhushan Kabra was born in 1937. Her was a senior disciple of Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, and pioneered the use of the guitar in Hindustani music. He recorded widely, and was perhaps best known for the album “Call of the Valley,” which he recorded with Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia and Pandit Shivkumar Sharma. He worked actively with the State Music Academies of Gujarat and Rajasthan, and in 1980 was the recipient of the Gujarat State Award for his meritorious services in the field of music.

Brij Bhushan Kabra died on April 12, 2018.

Partial Discography:

Call of the Valley (Gramaphone Company of India, 1968), reissued by Saregama
Exotic Sounds of Guitar (1986)
Jugalbandi Duet for Violin and Guitar – Raga Bageswari

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Artist Profiles: Biplab Bhattacharya

Biplab Bhattacharya

Biplab Bhattacharya Biplab was born in 1975 and was encouraged to play tabla at an early age by his father, Prof Kanai Bhattacharya (senior most disciple of Pandit Kanai Dutta). He studied with Pandit Shankar Ghosh and Pandit Arabinda Ghosh at Bengal Music College (Calcutta).

He is a recipient of several awards including: Sangeet Kalakar Degree (Hon) Senior National Scholarship in 1995; Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan Memorial Scholarship? in 1993-94; Biman Ghosh Memorial Challenge Trophy (Best New Talent) in 1995 Sangeet Kala Ratna? award from Matri Udbodhan Ashram – Patna (2001).

Biplab has performed and recorded in India, U.S.A, Canada, South Africa, Jordan, Mongolia and Europe collaborating with fine musicians and dancers such as Smt. Sujata Banerjee (Kathak), Smt. Madhumita Roy (Kathak) Shri Kushal Das (Sitar), Pt. Ronu Majumder(Flute), Shri Subhendra Rao(Sitar) Smt. Madhuri Chatterjee (Violene),Prof.Ken Zuckerman(Sarod). Pt. Srikant Bakre, Padma Bhushan Pandit V. G. Jog, Vidusi Sisir Kana Dhar Chowdhury, Ust. Ashish Khan, Vidusi Meera Banerjee, Pt. Manas Chakraborty, Pt. Samaresh Chowdhury, Usd. Maskoor Ali Khan, Shri Tajendra Narayan Majumder, Pt. Tarun Bhattacharya, Pt. Ronu Majumder, and Pt. Shri Kushal Das.

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Artist Profiles: Avijit Ghosh

Avijit Ghosh
Born on November 30th, 1974 in Kolkata, Avijit Ghosh was introduced to Indian Classical Music under the influence of his maternal uncle sitar player Pt. Ranjan Ganguly.

Avijit started learning Sarod in 1990 under the guidance of Dhyanesh Khan, son of the legendary master Ustad Ali Akbar Khan of Maihar Gharana; and also learned from Ustad Ashish Khan and Pandit Tejendra Mazumdar.

Avijit earned the first position in the All India Radio competition in 1996 and also received President’s Gold Medal. He is a regular B-high artist of AIR and TV. He holds a first class M.A. in instrumental music of the Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata.

He has also received a gold medal at the University exams. The Salt Lake Cultural Association gave him the coveted Jadubhatta Puraskar in 1998.

Avijit’s major performances include Sutanuti Parishad AIR Award Ceremony at Allahabad, several music circles in Kolkata, Aurobindo Ashram (Delhi), Habitat World (Delhi), and Bangladesh TV.

On May 8th, 2007, Avijit received his Phd in Instrumental Music Sarod from Rabindra Bharati University Kolkata.

Avijit wrote a book titled Origin and Development of The Sarod, published by Kalpaz Publications, New Delhi, 2012.

Discography:

Rising Star of Sarod (Raga Music)
Young Master of the Sarode (Bihaan Music Kolkata)

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Artist Profiles: Aruna Sairam

Aruna Sairam
Aruna Sairam was born October 30, 1952. Her virtuosity is expressed through a stunningly beautiful voice coupled with extraordinarily skilled improvisation and an ability to transmit one of the world’s great sacred repertoires to audiences of all backgrounds.

Her intricate vocal lines dance around rhythms of dazzling complexity, separating and intersecting, breaking free and doubling back, seeming to touch the ground only to launch into another ecstatic melody.

Discography:

Trialogue (2012)
Rang Abhang (2011)
Arunambujam (2009)
Uthukkadu Vaibhavam (2009)
Madrasil Margazhi 2007 – The Music Academy Concerts (2008)
Gayaka Vaggeyakaras (2008)
Divine Inspiration (2008)
Madrasil Margazhi 2006 – The Music Academy Concerts (2007)
Chennai December Season 2006 (2007)
Ksetra Chennapuri (2006)
Chennai December Season 2005 (2006)
Madrasil Margazhi 2005 (2006)
Hariyum Haranum (2006 )
Arupadai (2005)
Kannanum Kandhanum (2005)
Shanmatham (2005)
Live Concert Chennai December Season 2003 (2004)
Bhagyadhalakshmi – Live Concert (2004)
Jeevanandam (2004)
Kamboji (2004)
Unnai Allal (2004)
Live Concert Chennai December Season 2002 (2003)
Sree Ramaseva Mandali Live Concert Series – April 2001 (2003)
Ma Stuti – Devotional (2002)
Ekaika Ragam (2002)
Swar Utsav – Live Concert (2002)
Live Concert Chennai December Season 2001 (2002)
Live Concert Chennai December Season 2000 (2001)
Ksetra – Srirangam (2001)
Kana Vendamo (2001)
Sources (2000)
Madhura Smriti-Classical (2000)
South India Padam, Tanjore Style of Singing (1999)
Captivating Melodies (1999)
Perennial Favourites (1998)
Aruna Sairam – Classical Vocal (1998)
Classical (1997)
Aruna Sayeeram Vocal (1997)
Perennial Favourites (1996)
Marga Music Festival (1996)
The Lyrical Tradition of Carnatic Music (1995)
Aruna Sairam Classical Vocal (1995)
Aruna – Thousand Names of the Divine Mother (1995)
Aruna Sairam Carnatic Vocal (1995)
Abhanga Arunam (1994)
Chant Karnatique (1990)

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Artist Profiles: Badal Roy

Badal Roy – Photo by Mike Macione
Amerendra ‘Badal’ Roy Choudhury arrived in New York in 1968 with a pair of tablas and eight dollars in his pocket. In three days he took a busboy job and then waiting positions in various Indian restaurants. Soon, instead of waiting on customers he was entrancing them with his drumming.

Badal’s passionate style of playing is free-flowing and always from the heart, and when Miles Davis heard him play, the superstar warmed to him and spread the word. Soon he received his big break: an invitation to record with John McLaughlin and Miles successively.

Badal Roy has recorded with Amit Chatterjee, Ornette Coleman, Steve Gorn, Richie Havens, Bill Laswell. David Liebman, Herbie Mann, Mike Richmond, Pharoah Sanders and many other artists.

Discography:

One in the Pocket (Nomad Records, 1997)
Daybreak – Alankar (1998)
Kolkata Rose (2002)
Raga Roni (2002)

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Artist Profiles: Ashwin Batish

Ashwin Batish

Ashwin Batish is a composer, performer, teacher of music, and recording artist. He was born in Bombay (now Mumbai), India. His field of expertise includes playing the sitar and the tabla. Ashwin Batish had training in North Indian classical music from his father Pandit Shiv Dayal Batish (S. D. Batish).

Ashwin also studied accounting in the United States, where he now resides. For a few years, Aswhiwn Batish taught music at San José State University and University of California, Santa Cruz. Currently, he teaches classes at the Batish Institute of Music &Fine Arts, in Santa Cruz, California. He has made several educational videos dedicated to Indian musical instruments, including
Sitar Tutor Video #1 – Introduction to the Sitar; Sitar Tutor Video #2 – Beginning Sitar Exercises; Tabla Tutor Video #1 – Introduction to Tabla; Tabla Tutor Video #2 – Tabla Bols Tanpura Tutor Video; Harmonium Tutor Video #1 – Introduction to the Harmonium (Co-Authored with Pandit Shiv Dayal Batish); Dilruba Tutor Video #1 – Introduction to the Dilruba (Co-Authored with Pandit Shiv Dayal Batish); Tweaking Your Sitar; Changing Your Sitar Strings; Vichitra Veena Tutor (Co-Authored with Pandit Shiv Dayal Batish); and Tanpura Tutor.

There is also a boxed set by Ashwin: Tabla For Accompaniment and Practice: a boxed set of 10 CDs or 32 cassettes. Ashwin Batish presents 10 of the most popular rhythm cycles of North India in this unique collection that has been compiled especially for classical and folk music of North India and is an invaluable resource for Jazz/World musicians and composers interested in jamming with Tabla grooves.

Discography:

Sitar Power 1 (Batish Records, 1986)
Sitar Power 2 (Batish Records, 1994)

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Artist Profiles: Ashim Mallick

Sitar player Ashim Mallick was born and brought up in a family where music is the first passion. Ashim started learning Sitar at the age of 11, under the guidance of Sri Gobindo Bhatacharjee, a disciple of the late Ustad Md. Dabir Khan.

After initial training under him for about 7 years, Ashim got the opportunity to come in contact with Pt. Deepak Choudhury, the most prominent disciple of Pandit Ravi Shankar and of the finest Sitar players of India today.

Since then Ashim is having extensive training and guidance from Pt. Choudhury specially in the Dhrupad and Beenkar style of the Maihar Gharana and has already made as one of the most talented Sitarists of future generation. His creative talent is noted not just in his recitals, but also in teaching technical and aesthetical aspects of Indian Classical Music among his students.

Ashim has performed in several prestigious music conferences within the country like Tan Sein Music Conference, Park Circus Music Conference (morning session), Bhawanipore Sangeet Sanmelan, Sur Sagar festival and conferences organized by Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre. His performances in the last couple of years has been highly appreciated by his listeners. Apart from his solo performances Ashim is found keen in assisting his celebrated Guru on many occasions.

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Artist Profiles: Amjad Ali Khan

Amjad Ali Khan

Extraordinary New Dehli sarod player Amjad Ali Khan has established a reputation as one of the living legends of Indian classical instrumental music and is the sixth in an uninterrupted lineage of masters of the sarod. Amjad Ali Khan is rooted in the Senia Bangash school of music ~ responsible for keeping sarod alive for several hundred years.

His two sons and disciples Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash usually join him on stage.

Discography:

North India: Instrumental Music of Medieval India (Ocora, 1994)
Ragas Bilaskhani Todi & Brindabani Sarang (Navras Records, 1994)
Sarod Maestro Amjad Ali Khan with sons Amaan Ali Bangash & Ayaan Ali Bangash (Chhanda Dhara, 2001)
Music from the 13th Century (Navras Records, 2005)
Moksha (Real World Records, 2005)
Confluence (Navras Records, 2005)
My Inspirations (Navras Records, 2006)
Romancing The Rains (Navras Records, 2007)
Samaagam (World Village, 2011)
Masterworks From The NCPA Archives (Navras Records, 2012)
Amalgam (Affetto Records, 2016)
Indian Classical Ragas (Wigmore Hall Live, 2017)
Peace Worshipers (Affetto Recordings, 2017)

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