Debashish Bhattacharya: Calcutta Slide Guitar (Elite)

 |   |  1 min read

Debashish Bhattacharya: Prema Chakor
Debashish Bhattacharya: Calcutta Slide Guitar (Elite)

In 2003, I chose the Mahima album by Bhattacharya and American guitarist Bob Brozman (who played at Womad that year) as one of the best of the year in the Herald with the comment that their musical dialogues referred to Africa, Spain, simple pop and something which sounded like an arranged marriage between Waikiki and Varanasi.

As a result, world music had seldom sounded so worldy.

Bhattacharya is an odd one: he plays slide guitar (it was Brozman's teacher who introduced Hawaiian guitar to India in 1929) and brings the sensibility of Indian classical traditions to an instrument which can just charm the pants of you at the best of times.

This album which appeared in 2006 was a reissue of his album of the previous year (it came with a somewhat undramatic performance DVD) when Bhattacharya was back on home ground playing two ragas, divided into their three separate sections for convenient CD scanning -- which at the time I said was unnecessary, ragas are best listened to in their entirety to fully appreciate their development.

That said, this is quietly impressive: Raga Tilak Kamod, an evening raga, opens with reflective delicacy before being improvised out into some playing which can be quite amusing; and Raga Basant Mukhari is a resonant morning raga which yawns awake over tamboura drones but halfway through sounds like the coffee has kicked in.

For those who like Indian classical music but who don't want another sitar or sarod album -- or if you just want some meditative music -- then this is something special and different.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

BILL SEVESI INTERVIEWED: Light of the Pacific

BILL SEVESI INTERVIEWED: Light of the Pacific

Bill Sevesi says he speaks three languages, but he actually speaks four. The three he will admit to are Tongan (he was born in Nuku'alofa almost 88 years ago), English which he learned when he came... > Read more

SERGIO MENDES INTERVIEWED (2006): The return of the cool and the kitsch

SERGIO MENDES INTERVIEWED (2006): The return of the cool and the kitsch

If you need further proof that you should go through your parents‘ and grandparents‘ old records it’s the current revival of Sixties hitmaker Sergio Mendes. The pop career of... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Dinah Washington: Embraceable You (1946)

Dinah Washington: Embraceable You (1946)

The Gershwin brothers' Embraceable You, written in 1928, became a jazz standard and down the decades has been covered by an extraordinarily diverse range of artists from Nat King Cole, Doris Day... > Read more

WATERMELON SLIM INTERVIEWED (2007): He's had interesting lives

WATERMELON SLIM INTERVIEWED (2007): He's had interesting lives

“You tell them this,” says 58-year old bluesman Watermelon Slim in a voice which sounds like he has been gargling whisky-soaked nails. “God has blessed me with an extremely full... > Read more