Abraham Mazumder. Exclusive WBRi Interview. Kolkata (Calcutta) Music Academy. Mohiner Ghoraguli co-founder.

Abraham MazumderAs you probably know, Abraham Mazumdar is an integral part of the path-breaking Bengali Band Mohiner Ghoraguli (মোহিনের ঘোড়াগুলি) which marched its way into the musical circles of Kolkata in the later part of the 1970s. Abraham Mazumdar is a music composer, a music teacher and an excellent human being all packaged into one.

VIDEO: Exclusive WBRi Interview with Abraham Mazumder

Mazumder taught Western Classical Music at the Calcutta School of Music. Recently he has launched his own music school - Kolkata Music Academy for imparting courses in western classical music. Prior to that he was involved as a music teacher with Calcutta Boys’ School and La Martinere for Boys in Kolkata.

Abraham & Madhusree Mazumder Talking to WBRi
Abraham & Madhusree Mazumder Talking to WBRi

Abraham was just a little boy of four when he lost his father - an incident that created a great impact on his mind and made him a sort of a loner. He was admitted into a missionary school (Oxford Mission) where he first got the taste of great compositions by Beethoven and Bach. As a boy of eight and not getting a chance to touch any instrument before the age of eleven as per rules of the institution, the passion for music burned within him. "I used to hide behind a tree and listen to Beethoven's Chamber Music playing at the Principal Father's room.That was the time when I first understood how to listen to Western Classical music and that was a major factor in my proper schooling as a classical musician." says Abraham.

Abraham MazumderAt the age of eleven Abraham first played an instrument and almost instinctively took up the violin. He says "It seemed as if I drew an instant chord with the Violin and completed the one and half year course in four months."

Now the ball was set rolling and Abraham started his journey of learning how to play compositions of legendary composers like Haydn - the father of symphony. He was fascinated by Mozart's ability to write fast and Bach's Cello Suite and Violin Suite haunts him even today. Abraham says "But if you ask me who my favourite composer is, I will have to sayBeethoven, but that does not mean I am denigrating others."

Abraham and Madhusree Mazumder

Abraham was involved with Bengali popular music, and was associated closely with Mohiner Ghoraguli. "Goutamda opened the closed windows of my mind." he says with a sense of nostalgia. Abraham fondly remembers his days in Bhopal where he got in touch with Goutam Chattopadhyay, the versatile experimentalist of Bengali music. At that time Goutam had been asked to stay away from Kolkata for seven years because of the tensions regarding the Naxalite Movement. "Getting in touch with Goutamda, I got to explore the untapped beauty of popular music.The world of Beatles, Pink Floyd, Magna Carta and the likes-which had so far been banned from my musical schooling-opened up new horizons."

Abraham Mazumder talking to Saikat Banerjee
Abraham Mazumder talking to Saikat Banerjee of WBRi

In 1976 Goutam came back to Kolkata to form the legendary Bengali Band Mohiner Ghoraguli with Abraham Mazumder as the youngest member playing the piano and the violin. "We experimented with rich folk of music of the 'Bauls' and tried to form a new genre of Baul Jazz.In our performances the bauls themselves joined in and that was an absolutely fabulous experience." Mohiner Ghoraguli, which set the trend of a new kind of Bengali music, performed till 1980 but after that the band disintegrated because the members had to disperse for professional reasons.

Abraham: The music teacher

Abraham always felt the need of sharing the joys of music with others - so the profession of a music teacher allowed him that scope. "I started to learn the piano myself and began teaching in 1978 at the Calcutta School of Music and formed my own orchestra.My intention is to lead a simple life and make people conscious of the enormous wealth Western classical music has to offer.Moreover, there is no end to leaning and being a music teacher I can continuously upgrade myself.

abraham mazumder teaching music
Abraham Mazumder teaching music at the Kolkata Music Academy

He has recently started his own music academy – The Kolkata Music Academy imparting courses in western classical music. He now conducts shows under the brand name “Tagore Symphony” where a purely western classical orchestral arrangement forms a mesmerizing background to Rabindrasangeet rendition by various artists.

Washington Bangla Radio had the rare opportunity of talking to Abraham Mazumder and his wife Madhusree at their residence in Kolkata. The host was Saikat Banerjee and behind the camera Soutik Singha was thrilled as well.