Debashish Bhattacharya

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COMPOSERS: Debashish Bhattacharya
LABELS: Riverboat/World Music Network
WORKS: Debashish Bhattacharya
PERFORMER: Debashish Battacharya (guitars), Subhasis Bhattacharjee (tabla)
CATALOGUE NO: TUGCD 1036

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When Bhattacharya’s collaboration with Bob Brozman came out (reviewed October 2003), I made a plea for making his solo work more easily available. Here’s a spectacular answer. Bhattacharya is a North Indian classical musician who has been inspired by steel guitars since he was three, and has created his own adaptations of the instrument as vehicles for traditional performance. Here he plays three of them, in ascending order of size and corresponding length of raga elaboration.

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They all have an astonishing range. In a high-quality slow introduction, the middle one scoots up to eerily bent high notes like a super-sarod, while the biggest with its 22 strings, 12 of them vibrating sympathetically like a sitar’s, first booms away in a bass register and then inspires sustained virtuoso flights which are shared by the speedy tabla of Subhasis Bhattacharjee. Robert Maycock