Debasmita Bhattacharya | Ahir Bhairav
Filmed on location • 4m 53s
Raag Ahir Bhairav | Thaat Bhairav | Samay 6am to 9am
Recorded at Ravenna, Italy
Debasmita Bhattacharya is one of India’s finest young sarod players. She balances a deep knowledge of classical forms with an expansive mindset, pushing the Hindustani tradition into the 21st century without compromising on its core values.
She was born into a musical lineage. “I was brought into the life of music since I was in my mother's womb, and believe it was there where my love for music sprung.” She began training began under her father Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya, a leading sarod artist. She looks back on these early musical immersions with fondness, calling them “never difficult…insightful, inspiring, and a great sense of responsibility”.
From her early teens she took advanced instruction from the late Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta, torchbearer of the Senia Shahjahanpur gharana, describing this time as “a completely overwhelming experience…he was an ocean of knowledge”. She later augmented this study with a stint as a scholar at the famed ITC Sangeet Research Academy Kolkata.
After garnering initial acclaim in India, Darbar brought Debasmita to the UK in 2017 for a successful eight-date tour as part of its mission to support up-and-coming artists. She has since participated in several cross-cultural projects. Bhattacharya says, “Music has no boundaries, and fusion music embraces that in its true sense.” She has worked extensively with musicians from jazz and Scandinavian folk and played for public meditation sessions and educational projects.
Bhattacharya continues to demonstrate that gender stereotypes need not be a barrier to instrumental mastery, drawing inspiration from great female musicians of the past such as Sharan Rani Backliwal and Maa Annapurna Devi. “These women stand as a symbol for the struggle of female expression and equality”. Bhattacharya is a positive, young musician and describes herself as “hopeful and optimistic about the future of sarod and Indian classical music.”
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