Debashish Bhattacharya is routinely referred to as one of the world’s greatest guitarists. The BBC Award for World Music winner, and Grammy nominated artist is presenting his latest project, Calcutta Chronicles, following on from his album Beyond the Ragasphere.
The core members of Calcutta Chronicles are Pt. Debashish Bhattacharya on the trinity of slide guitars, Subhasis Bhattacharjee on tabla and percussion, Nishad Pandey on electric guitar, and Anandi Bhattacharya on vocals. For their 11 date Making Tracks UK tour in 2014, the band was joined by Antoine Morineau on Iranian percussion and Colin Bass on electric bass.
Featuring elements of samba, funk, flamenco and other styles, Debashish is at his experimental best, while still drawing on a thousand years of history and tradition of raga. Calcutta Chronicles also introduces Debashish’s daughter, Anandi on vocals. In the words of her father, Anandi is a ‘born musician’ who has long aspired to become a professional singer. She delivers sublime vocals that have entranced audiences whenever the group have performed, leaving a lasting impression on those lucky enough to have witnessed her. Debashish’s brother, Subhasis contributes tabla, the incredible interplay between the pair, the type of intuition and understanding only possible between siblings is another highlight of a live performance. Nishad Pandey is a protégé of Debashish. With a technique inspired by his guru, he plays a raga infused version of jazz that compliments his master, but also takes centre stage at times, amazing audiences with his fluidity on electric guitar.
Debashish’s unique take on Indian classical music has cemented his international career for over thirty years, modernising classical melodies and rhythms with multiple levels of percussion and lightning fast solos. With Calcutta Chronicles Debashish explores the transformation of raga, taking it entirely in new directions. A spellbinding show that is spiritual, profound, uplifting and joyous. Wonder at his astounding, dazzling three finger picking technique while a subliminal, mesmerising cascade of emotions penetrate the soul of the listener.
Debashish has spent a lifetime in intensive study, performance and innovation of the guitars that he plays. All the guitars are unique instruments designed by Debashish himself, that he calls a Trinity of Guitars; Chaturangui, Gandharvi and Anandi- representing three generations of instruments. Born into a musical family on 12 January 1963 In Kolkata (Calcutta), Debashish Bhattacharya learnt 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. 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 established himself as one of the world’s outstanding slide guitarists through tours of inspirational live concerts and best selling albums including collaborations with other world famous guitarists such as John McLaughlin and Shakti and Martin Simpson.
First of his invention is the Chaturangui, a 24 string hollow neck guitar, followed by the 14 string Ghandharvi, which holds the longest glissando and finally the Anandi, a 4 string slide ukulele played at the end of a performance. All three combine aspects of the western guitar with elements of traditional Indian instruments.
This extremely personable and gifted artist takes the audience on a timeless journey through the history of Indian classical music, bringing it into the 21st century with unexpected detours. Deeply rooted in Indian spirituality, continuing the tradition of thousands of years, yet a perilous innovator and the product of years of international travel, soaking up worldwide influences. The extraordinary Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya.
Debashish Bhattacharya & Calcutta Chronicles (total 6 musicians) available in Europe 2015. For more information or to book contact us via the Far Side Music web site.
Press on Beyond the Ragasphere album and Calcutta Chronicles UK Tour 2014
‘a boldly original fusion experiment’ 4****stars The Guardian (2013)
Top Of The World, 4****stars, Songlines (2013)
‘The Indian slide guitar maestro Debashish Bhattacharya together with Calcutta Chronicles…took an expectant Cambridge audience on a celestial musical journey.’ localsecrets.com (May 2014)
‘Bhattacharya’s greatest asset is soul, to the extent that if Robert Johnson were alive today, a collaboration would seem pretty much inevitable.’ Time Out London (May 2014)
‘There is much to admire in the virtuosity of these musicians but it is the way they interact with each other that generates the response on an emotional level.’ In Suffolk (May 2014)