Debasmita Bhattacharya is one of India’s finest young sarod players. She balances a deep knowledge of classical forms with an expansive mindset, pushing the Hindustani tradition into the 21st century without compromising on its core values.
She was born into a musical lineage (“I was brought into the life of music since I was in my mother's womb, and believe it was there where my love for music sprung”), and began training began under her father Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya, a leading sarod artist. She looks back on these early musical immersions with fondness (“never difficult…insightful, inspiring, and a great sense of responsibility”).
From her early teens she took advanced instruction from the late Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta, torchbearer of the Senia Shahjahanpur gharana, describing this time as “a completely overwhelming experience…he was an ocean of knowledge”. She later augmented this study with a stint as an ITC scholar.
After garnering initial acclaim in India, Darbar brought Debasmita to the UK in 2017 for a successful eight-date tour as part of our mission to support up-and-coming artists. She has since participated in several cross-cultural projects (“music has no boundaries, and fusion music embraces that in its true sense”), working with musicians from jazz and Scandinavian folk as well as playing for public meditation sessions and educational projects.
Debasmita continues to demonstrate that gender stereotypes need not be a barrier to instrumental mastery, drawing inspiration from great female musicians of the past such as Sharan Rani Backliwal and Maa Annapurna Devi (“these women stand as a symbol for the struggle of female expression and equality”). She describes herself as “hopeful and optimistic about the future of sarod and Indian classical music” - and it is down to the work of musicians such as Debasmita that Darbar share her positivity.
"Half of what emerges is the sentiments of the raga itself, and half is the influence of my own experiences and feelings. These two sides can be very different, and only together can the picture be understood. And while a raga is always more than just the sum of these two halves, it cannot exist independently of them either. In this way raga is an illusion."
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