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Debashish Bhattacharya

General Profile of Debashish Bhattacharya  -   Classical Musicians

Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya evolves into a global inspiration in the arena of contemporary musical uprising. The musical journey is a counterpart to what remains a fond reminiscence of a child’s fancy with a Hawaiian lap guitar at the age of four.

He invented his own slide-guitars, unique to his compositions, which he calls the "Trinity of Guitars". The Savannah Music Festival's "World of Slide Guitar" concert featured him in musical conversation with the 28-year-old Allman Brothers phenomenon Derek Trucks, dobro master Jerry Douglas, and globe-trotting string expert Bob Brozman, who has performed widely with Bhattacharya over the past decade.

"His manual dexterity and his depth of rhythmic knowledge are generally off the charts of normal Western musicianship", Brozman wrote in an e-mail. "At the same time, there is a certain naivete about his harmonic sensibilities, which adds a kind of charm to the super-human playing."

Bhattacharya performs seated cross-legged on stage, with his instrument flat across his lap. In American music, slide guitar is indelibly linked to the blues, and the technique's vocal inflections are commonly used for searing, extroverted effect.

In Bhattacharya's hands, slide guitar is an infinitely subtle vehicle employing microtonal scales and intricate patterns alternating brief, lightly touched notes and long, sustained slides.

His combination of soul and stellar technique has attracted the attention of elite guitarists like John McLaughlin.Bhattacharya grew up accompanying his parents, who are both vocalists, but he distinguished himself as a prodigy at 3 after discovering a Hawaiian guitar at home, a reminant from a Bengali Hawaiian music craze sparked by a visit from the great Hawaiian steel guitarist Tao Moe in the late 1920s.

"Many gurus have a passion to hear or see their style in their disciples, which is natural," Bhattacharya says. "My guru has done the reverse. May be he has seen a future in me, in the way I grew up with the instrument I played. But I loved to copy his music, and many nights I was crying in my room. I thought my guru doesn't love me because he doesn't want me to copy his music."

Now Bhattacharya knows that Kabra was paying him the ultimate compliment by encouraging him to continue on his own path. It's a triumphant passage that is taking him around the world, even if his beloved guitars don't always arrive at the same time.

 
Family Background

Born in 1963. Bhattacharya was born into a musical family in Kolkata, brother, Subhasis Bhattacharya, his sister, Sutapa Bhattacharya.

Musical Training

With the lineage of Gurus like Pandit Brij Bhushan Kabra and Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty the inspiration has gone beyond performance.

 
Awards & Titles

At the age of twenty, he was awarded the President of India Award for winning the National Music competition of All India Radio in 1984 at the age of 21. He was nominated for a 2009 Grammy Award in the category of Best Traditional World Music Album for his album Calcutta Chronicles. Last year Bhattacharya won the BBC Planet Award for World Music.