Buddhadev Chattopadhayay - Indian Classical Flute (Bansuri) Maestro: Exclusive Interview & Extempore Live Performance

By Soumitra Talukdar

Calcutta, March 7, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) On behalf of Washington Bangla Radio, Soumitra Talukdar speaks to the renowned exponent of the bansuri (bamboo flute), Sangeet Praveen, gold medalist, Sri Buddhadev Chattopadhayay in a video interview also incorporating an extempore classical flute recital that you will love.

Buddhadev Chattopadhayay - North Indian Classical Instrumental-Flute (BANSURI)In his early childhood, Buddhadev took his vocal training in classical music from his uncle late Pratikinath Chattopadhayay who was a direct disciple of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and Pandit Chinmoy Lahiri.

In his early school days, he would get fascinated by bansi-wallas i.e. the hawkers who sell the bansuris at the same time as playing them. He sometimes madly followed the flute seller like the children in Pied Piper of Hamlin and walked for miles together. That fascination led him to focus on learning to play the flute.

Buddhadev Chattopadhayay started his flute training under Professor Deboprasad Bandyopadhayay of Rabindra Bharati University, who is the present maestro of Pannalal Ghosh Gharana in Eastern India. Thereafter he became the disciple of the sangeet maestro Pandit Samaresh Choudhury, a direct predecessor of Pandit Ravi Shankar and taking finer musical training in Hindustani Classical Music.

He became "Sangeet Praveen" from Prayag Sangeet Samiti and had been awarded a gold medal from the same institution. Coming from "Rampursenie" Gharana, he specialised on the gayaki style, which is rare now-a-days and his special "Taan" and "Gatkari" have also given him a rare attention in musical world. Moreover an unparalleled depth in tonal production has given him a separate identity in his stream.

Buddhadev has performed in various conferences in India, such as Nikhil Banerjee Memorial, Uttarpara Sangeet Chakra, Nad-Bramha Sangeet Sammelan, Nadam, Bhawanipore Sangeet Sammelan, Kalakar Geet Music Conference, Ezcc etc. His flute recital has been telecast in various Television Channels. Music albums "Echoes from the Eternity" and "Divine Romance" have also been released.

He said that according to ancient scriptures, flute is one of the three forms of rendering Indian Classical Music, i.e. Vaani or Swar (vocal) , Veena (String Instrument) and Venu or Benu (flute). According to Hindu mythology, benu/bansuri/bansi is the instrument of Lord Krishna and thus became popular in Folk Music. There are some difficulties in playing the flute, for example a "Saroj to Pancham Meer" is not possible to play on flute.

The introduction of the Flute in Modern Indian Classical Music has been widely recognized by Late Pandit Pannalal Ghosh for his achievement. Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia further enhanced the flute playing style with his innovative fingering and blowing techniques, taking it to a higher level.