• Thursday, July 25, 2024


Why sarod virtuoso Sangita Bhattacharya loves performing on stage

Debasmita Bhattacharya

By: Asjad Nazir

THE pressure of being legendary sarod maestro Pandit Debasish Bhattacharya’s daughter did not deter Debasmita Bhattacharya from pursuing the same path.

The naturally gifted talent grew up in a musically rich environment, which included her acclaimed vocalist mother Sangita Bhattacharya and used all that learning to become one of the finest sarod players in the world.

She rose up to the challenge of following in the footsteps of illustrious parents by carving out a place for herself, with worldclass live performances. The sarod virtuoso will next headline the Utsav 2024 show at Harrow Arts Centre in London on July 21, with acclaimed Kathak exponent Ashwini Kalsekar and classical singer Swati Natekar.

Eastern Eye caught up with the musician to discuss her magnificent journey and magical looking London show.

How do you reflect on your music journey so far?

Born into a musical family in West Bengal India, my journey as a sarod player has been a blessing. I started this journey at the age of four. Guided by my father Pandit Debasish Bhattacharya, a sarod maestro, my eminent vocalist mother Sangita Bhattacharya and my guru Padmabhushan Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta, I have learned to see life and music as inseparable.

What first connected you to the sarod?

I was born into a musical family, surrounded by my father teaching his students or his performances, and listening to great maestros. This environment deeply intrigued me, but I feel that the sarod chose me rather than me choosing it. How much does performing live mean to you? Every stage and every audience is a temple, where music becomes a form of worship. Each live performance is a spiritual connection beyond mere notes. That’s how I see it.

How much are you looking forward to the Utsav 2024 show?

I am so thankful and happy to be invited by the amazing vocalist of this country, Swati Natekar ji, to pay shradhanjali (homage) to her veteran mother, the great Pandita Vidhushi Dr Sushila Pohankarji. I am looking forward to paying my respects to her.

What can we expect from your performance?

I have been blessed with gharanedar taleem from my gurus, presenting the Senia Shahjahanpur gharana. In my concerts, I strive to deliver the most authentic Indian classical music, blending my understanding and creativity from 30 years of learning. With God’s grace, I hope the UK audience will appreciate its true essence and rich heritage.

How do you feel being on stage?

I feel at home. It’s hard to express.

How does it feel when you’re on a line up with such distinguished artists as you are for Utsav 2024?

Every opportunity to present the authentic raga music is a blessing. For me, it is about the sincerity and quality that I try to present in every performance. I am looking forward to witnessing all the other artists at the festival.

According to you, what is the secret to a great live performance?

There is no secret. I think it is the hard work and being true to yourself. These are the only two things we can work on – the rest is up to the divine.

What inspires you as an artist?

As a student of classical music, I am inspired by the profound spiritual depth that our music has. The wisdom of my teachers and joy of sharing, preserving its rich cultural heritage for future generations is something that I nurture every day.

Why should we all come to the Utsav 2024 show?

You should come to Utsav 2024 to celebrate the legacy of the maestro Sushila Pohankar ji. It’s not just any concert; it’s a musical pooja, promising a unique and deeply moving experience. I thank Swati (Natekar) ji for taking such a beautiful initiative and making us all part of it.

Utsav 2024 at Harrow Arts Centre in London on July 21. www.harrowarts.com and www.debasmita sarode.com

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