Interview: Internationally Acclaimed Rabindrasangeet Artist Shreya Guhathakurta

Click Play to listen to Shreya Guhathakurta chat with Arijit Chakraborty
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Shreya GuhathakurtaCleveland / Pittsburgh, Oct 3, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) Internationally acclaimed Rabindrasangeet singer Shreya Guhathakurta chats with Arijit Chakraborty of Washington Bangla Radio during Shreya's 2012 North American tour in this interview.

As most of our audience is aware of, Shreya is a grand-daughter of Shubho Guhathakurta, founder of Dakshini and Gitabitan Tagore music and arts schools in Kolkata. Shreya therefore naturally grew up in an environment of Rabindrasangeet. Though her institutional training on Rabindrasangeet is from Dakshini, given her family background she has been fortunate enough to learn from stalwarts like Kanika Bandopadhyay who Shreya considers to be a second grandmother. Shreya took lessons from Mohordi from age 7 and is still learning music from her uncle Sudeb Guhathakurta.

When asked to comment on the audience she comes across over her performances across the globe, Shreya expresses her pleasure in having found that her audience in relatively smaller cities like Cleveland and Pittsburgh are as much sophisticated and erudite as in megalopolises like New York City and San Francisco.

Saregama (erstwhile HMV) has published six albums by Shreya so far, with more coming up. Her album "Khanchar Pakhi" released on panchishe baishakh this year was very well-received and won her the best singer award from Kolkata FM. Another album of Shreya titled "Megher Kheya" also featuring narration by Ratna Mitra was released on baishe srabon and contains 12 monsoon songs. Her latest album "Timeless Tagore" was released recently for Durga Puja featuring 10 songs. In addition, her album titled "Baaje Purano Shurey" featuring twelve Prem Parjaye (romantic) Tagore songs has been published by Bengal Foundation, Dhaka in Bangladesh.

When asked about the incredible enthusiasm and energy that Shreya Guhathakurta displays in touring constantly across the world, the singer reveals that somehow she does not feel tired or jet-lagged when she is traveling in pursuit of music.

Shreya is also a capable actress, having debuted as a playback singer and an actress when only five years old in Arundhati Devi's 1983 Bengali movie Dipar Prem starring Tapas Pal, Moon Moon Sen, Chhaya Devi, Arundhati Devi, Bhupen Hazarika, Debika Mukherjee and others. Shreya played a young Deepa (Moon Moon Sen) in the film as well as recorded the song "Joto bar aalo jalate chai nibhe jaye baare baare". Later on, at age 15, Shreya performed as a playback singer for Tapan Sinha's National Award-winning Bengali film Antardhan (1992) along with Sagar Sen's son Promit Sen. Shreya has also appeared in many popular television shows and was offered and accepted some modeling assignments, but at the end of the day, she admits that the world of acting and glamor on the small or silver screen did not really appeal to her. She has always been much more attracted towards music, especially Rabindrasangeet.

Belonging to a generation of contemporary Rabindrasangeet performers, Shreya is not shy of experimentation with non-traditional music arrangements for Tagore songs. As a matter of fact, "Timeless Tagore" incorporates some very interesting instrumentation.

Here is wishing Shreya Guhathakurta all the best from Washington Bangla Radio and all Rabindrasangeet lovers across the world who look forward eagerly to many more spectacular works by the remarkably talented singer.

Picture: Shilpi Rahman
Recording, Editing, Article: Supratim Sanyal