Kolkata Gharana 

Kolkata, previously known as Calcutta- the British Capital of India, was exposed to the Western education and culture much before any other Indian city. The Cultural Revolution during European Renaissance deeply influenced Kolkatans. The upsurge of a new Bengali generation of intellectuals with tremendous power of expression in every sphere of life and creativity was reflected in the proverbial saying, 'what Kolkata thinks today, India thinks tomorrow.' A generation of Heroes, Poets, Writers, Philosophers, Painters dominated the spiritual, philosophical, educational, social, cultural, political scene of the entire country. Kolkata, a pilgrimage for the representatives of different cultures, music and art, emerged as the cultural capital of India.

The city has been home to India's Noble laureates. Kolkata's very own Satyajit Ray, the world renowned film maker, music composer, painter, author and publisher was conferred upon the Oscar Award for Lifetime Achievement. Kolkata's Mother is , Saint Teresa!

A few lines on the cultural history of this city of joy is not enough to draw a sketch of Kolkata. Since the first All India Music Conference in 1949, all the Indian musicians from different parts of the country, beginners and maestros alike, seek to perform in front of Kolkata audience. According to them, Bengalis were the worshipers of art and music and thus were the best listeners - knowledgeable and appreciative. This is because every Kolkatan family, within its means, must have a student of vocal or instrumental music or percussion instrument like tabla. The whole night classical music concerts are a regular event. Listening to such concerts is an enjoyable social practice for even those who do not give music its due priority but come to meet their friends and relatives. The annual musical events serve as their rendezvous.

Lap steel guitar playing is a social practice too. It caught the fancy of young Kolkatans due to its versatility as a pleasant solo and accompanying instrument. Debashish Bhattacharya, a prodigy, was drawn towards Guitar and mastered the technique under the able wings of a maestro who brought the instrument in the Indian classical stream. The innovative streak of the guru encouraged the highly creative mind of the disciple. The research oriented work done by Debashish since past fifteen years has led him to add many important features in the instrument to suit the demands of Indian Raga music. Complete with an exhaustive syllabus now, he has established the Kolkata Gharana (school) of Steel guitar.

 

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