Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya’s Trinity of Guitars in AVATAR - A meeting of Celestial Strings (Live Concert Audio Recording)

By Subhomoy Mukherjee*

Click on the Play button to listen to clips from the live concert

Calcutta, March 18, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) Siddha presented Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya’s Trinity of Guitars in Avatar - Meeting of Celestial Strings, a live concert on Sunday, March 13, 2011 at Calcutta School of Music at 7 pm Indian time. The concept of Avatar was "If God manifests before man, his shape and form or Avatar, will be music."

To explore this celestial reincarnation, Grammy nominee Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya, the pioneer creator and inventor of Indian slide guitar, chose the medium of divine celestial strings, his Trinity of Guitars – the Chaturangui, Gandharvi and Anandi, a family of new generation slide guitars.

The accompanists for Pandit Bhattacharya are international classical and acoustic guitar virtuosos Johannes Möller of Sweden, Nutavut Ratanakarn of Thailand and Matthias Muller of Germany. Mike McCormick of Canada on Electric Guitar and Nishad Pandey of Australia on Western Classical Guitar ably assist them. The Indian musicians in this heavenly parade are Biplaw Singh on Western Classical Guitar, Subhashish Bhattacharya on Tabla, Mainak “Bumpy” Nagchowdhury on Bass Guitar, Somranjan Chakraborty on Anandi (the third eye of the Trinity of Guitars), Soumyajyoti Ghosh on Bansuri, Raja Mukherjee on Western Violin, Charu Hariharan on Mridangam and Sambit Chatterjee on Western Drums. These musicians have collaborated for a week, creating new compositions based on Indian Ragas, Western Classical Music and Thai Music.

Brief Introduction of the Musicians

Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya – India – Chaturangui

Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya is perhaps the only phenomenon in the history of World Music and Indian Classical Music who created a Trinity of slide guitars, christened Chaturangui Gandharvi and Anandi. He is one of the most amazing music personalities of the world, whose dynamism of artistry and creativity place him in the category of a genius, who goes beyond and opens new horizons in his field. His improvisation within the framework of a raga or within the limitations of the instrument he plays becomes a novel experience for himself as well as his listeners. A nominee of Grammy and numerous other awards, he is one of the brightest stars of slide guitar performace and composition, the world over.

Johannes Möller- Sweden – Western Classical Guitar

The Swedish guitarist Johannes Möller has captivated audiences throughout the world with charismatic and soulful performances. His ability to communicate a musical message to listeners of any cultural background, age or level of musical experience have brought him an international career and numerous prestigious prizes. He has been awarded first prize in the GFA Concert Artist Competition that was held in Austin, USA.

Nutavut Ratanakarn – Thailand – Western Classical Guitar

An international classical guitarist in Thailand, Nutavut Ratanakarn has been giving concerts, and master classes in Austria, Bhutan, Croatia, England, India, Italy,Israel, Japan, Korea, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia, Spain and Thailand. He is acknowledged as a virtuoso in solo and ensemble performances.

Matthias Müller – Germany – Acoustic Guitar

Over the several decades of his musical career, Matthias Müller has toured internationally and played in many styles. Matthias’ compelling interest in Indian classical music led him to study Carnatic Music, affording him opportunities to play and collaborate with some of the finest Indian players of our time, such as Dr. L. Subramaniam, Sivamani, Tanmoy Bose and world music Grammy winner Vishwa Mohan Bhatt.

Mike McCormick – Canada – Electric Guitar

Mike McCormick has developed an ear for many types of music, all of which have influenced his own sound. Mike likes to incorporate elements of jazz, avant-garde, experimental and world music into his playing.

Nishad Pandey – Australia – Western Classical Guitar

Nishad has been exposed to musical and cultural forms from across the globe. He has been part of various bands encompassing a wide range of styles – jazz, metal, electronica and Indian fusion.

Biplaw Singh – India – Western Classical Guitar

A prize-winning guitarist, Biplaw Singh has trained extensively in India and abroad and given numerous recitals all over the country. He is the President and Co-Founder of the Calcutta Classical Guitar Society and the Director of the Calcutta International Guitar festival.

Subhashis Bhattacharya – India – Tabla

Subhashis is a leader of his generation of Indian percussionists. He has regularly performed in every major Indian music festival, and has recorded several albums. He has toured several countries and has been applauded as a fine musician, both solo and as an accompanist.

Mainak “Bumpy” Nagchowdhury – India – Bass Guitar

Mainak Nag Chowdhury, lovingly known as Bumpy, has worked extensively as a bass player and music producer all over the world. He plays various styles ranging from Latin (Afro–Cuban, Brazilian), Pop, Rock, World Music, World Fusion, Progressive Rock and Jazz, with some of the most sought after performers of the country and abroad.

Somranjan Chakraborty – India – Gypsy Anandi

One of the most talented Indian Classical Guitarists of the younger generation, Somranjan has received National Award of the Government of India and has performed solo and accompanied Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya in recitals at innumerable prestigious concerts.

Soumyajyoti Ghosh- India – Bansuri

Soumyajyoti Ghosh is a force to reckon with in the realm of Indian classical music both as a thinking musician and scintillating performer. He performs regularly with bands/ensembles like Kendraka, Taal Tantra and Folkzion.

Raja Mukherjee – India -Western Violin

Raja Mukherjee is one of the most talented violinists of the new generation. A gifted solo performer and collaborator in the sphere of world music, he has performed in numerous concerts and is a regular member of bands like Orient Express and Los Amigos.

Charu Hariharan – India – Mridangam

Charu Hariharan is a mridangist and a singer who likes to program and compose.  Charu has performed in concerts in India and EU, with masters like Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya.

Sambit Chatterjee – India -Western Drums

Teen drummer Sambit Chatterjee is a rising star in the world of music and has made a name for himself as one of the finest young drummers of the country.

The program was very good and decorated with compositions like Charu Shree,  Matrix Matla, Rasam Samba, Pillusion, Avataar, Gypsy, Raslila ~ Nrityangana, Sundarbana (Mali), Thai Traditional.

All the compositions were good but best presentations were Avtaar, Gypsy, Thai Traditional and the homage to Swami Vivekananda.

The program was hosted by the Calcutta Classical Guitar Society.

* Freelance Journalist, responsible for all content in this post.