Magazine article Guitar Player

Debashish Bhattacharya: Recasts Indian Slide Guitar

Magazine article Guitar Player

Debashish Bhattacharya: Recasts Indian Slide Guitar

Article excerpt

"I HAVE WORKED WITH MANY INDIAN AND WESTERN MASTERS of music since 1993, so I could not resist asking some of them to play on my 50th birthday album," says celebrated Indian slide-guitar virtuoso Debashish Bhattacharya. "It is a feast of music drawing on varied genres reaching beyond the traditional ragas that I have been playing my entire Life, and is my first fusion album."

Included among the many esteemed musicians contributing to Beyond the Ragasphere [Worldisc] are Bhattacharya's longtime friends guitarist John McLaughlin and Dobro maestro Jerry Douglas, as well as renowned classical and flamenco guitarist Adam del Monte. The album presents a highly evocative trans-global fusion of melodic and rhythmic approaches, brimming with breathtaking musical interactions and stellar guitar playing.

Bhattacharya began playing Hawaiian lap-steel when he was three, and gave his first performance on All India Radio a year later. One of his many early teachers was Brij Bhushan Kabra, with whom he studied for a decade. Kabra was the first musician to successfully establish slide guitar within Indian classical music, and Bhattacharya moved the art form forward while also being cognizant of the past.

"There were many experiments with slide guitar in Indian music from 1950 onward, but we also have the ancient chitra veena, gottyuvadyam, and vichitra veena, so slide Indian raga instruments were already there before the slide guitar," says Bhattacharya. …

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