Calcutta Chronicles is a new world music band led by BBC award winner and Grammy nominee Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya, the legendary master of Hindustani slide guitar. Panditji has an illustrious musical lineage going back eight generations. He is the pioneer of Hindustani classical music on the slide guitar, which he has adapted and modified to create three uniquely expressive instruments – the Chaturangui, Gandharvi and Anandi. The core members of Calcutta Chronicles are Pt. Debashish Bhattacharya on the trinity of slide guitars, Subhasis Bhattacharjee on tabla and percussion, Nishad Pandey on electric guitar, and Anandi Bhattacharya on vocals.
Drawing inspiration from Panditji's vast musical experience and his many highly acclaimed albums, Calcutta Chronicles is creating a form of music that speaks to the emotions and has universal appeal. It consciously sets itself apart from main-stream ‘fusion’ music by focusing on compositions that are based on the essential melodic, rhythmic and thematic qualities of Indian classical music, and provide a platform for free and varied improvisations. Each member of the band leaves his or her own distinct imprint on the music through years of training in various genres: jazz, Hawaiian music, Latin and Indian folk music, among others.
In their debut album Beyond the Ragasphere (Riverboat Records UK, 2013), Calcutta Chronicles collaborated with renowned international musicians including John McLaughlin, Jerry Douglas and Jeff Sipe. The album received a notable mention in the 2013 WOMEX Label Award and has had many enthusiastic reviews:
'a boldly original fusion experiment' 4****stars The Guardian (2013)
Top Of The World, 4****stars, Songlines (2013)
In May 2014, Calcutta Chronicles undertook their first international tour to promote this album, with 11 shows across the length and breadth of the UK. The core band was joined by Antoine Morineau on Iranian percussion and Colin Bass on electric bass. The performances received glowing reviews:
‘The Indian slide guitar maestro Debashish Bhattacharya together with Calcutta Chronicles…took an expectant Cambridge audience on a celestial musical journey.’ localsecrets.com (May 2014)
'Bhattacharya’s greatest asset is soul, to the extent that if Robert Johnson were alive today, a collaboration would seem pretty much inevitable.' Time Out London (May 2014)
‘There is much to admire in the virtuosity of these musicians but it is the way they interact with each other that generates the response on an emotional level.’ In Suffolk (May 2014)
Calcutta Chronicles is planning a follow-up tour to the UK, as well as tours to Europe, USA and South-East Asia, in 2015.