On 30 March, World Music Network released Debashish Bhattacharya's seventh Riverboat Records album, Slide Guitar Ragas From Dusk Till Dawn. Born in 1963 in Calcutta, Debashish Bhattacharya experimented on his own Hawaiian lapsteel guitar from as early as the age of three. Having developed this childhood fascination with the instrument, Debashish honed his skill under the tutelage of Pandit Brij Bhushan Khabra, the pioneer of Indian Classical guitar. Debashish has since earned a Grammy nomination for his 2009 album Calcutta Chronicles and has collaborated with musicians from all over the world including blues guitarist Bob Brozman, Derek Trucks and flamenco guitarist Adam del Monte. On Slide Guitar Ragas From Dusk Till Dawn, Debashish Bhattacharya is accompanied by his brother Subhasis on tabla.
The slide guitar ragas of Grammy-nominated Debashish Bhattacharya are deeply grounded in India’s musical traditions yet profoundly innovative. Combining revolutionary reinvented guitars with a boundary-bending melodic and rhythmic approach, Slide Guitar Ragas From Dusk Till Dawn is an album of sublime and joyous musical meditations.
One of the uniquely poetic features of Indian musical tradition is the attachment of ragas to distinct times of the day and night. From the first crack of sunshine at dawn until diminuendo into darkness at dusk, and from twilight to the start of the new day, every fragile moment of earth’s daily passage is linked to a specific raga. It is believed that the melody and modality of each raga is at its most powerful when played during its allotted hour. On Slide Guitar Ragas From Dusk Till Dawn Debashish Bhattacharya guides listeners through his sensitive exploration of raga rotations.
Debashish’s apparatus is his self-designed chaturangui guitar. The chaturangui is a Hindustani adaptation of the slide guitar with six primary strings, four supporting strings, two drone strings and twelve sympathetic strings creating tonal similarities with the Indian sitar. Debashish plays his instrument with a three-finger picking style derived from ancient practices of veena playing. The veena is an ancient predecessor to the modern sitar, distinct for its resonating gourd chamber, bridge and long neck. Debashish’s instrumental influences include sarangi player (and singer) Ustad Bade Ghulum Ali Khan and sitar maestro Ustad Vilayat Khan. Later he formed a close relationship with Jodhpur-born guitar pioneer Pandit Brij Bhushan Kabra. Debashish now considers Kabra his musical guru. Debashish plays ‘Roshni (The Light)’ on Kabra’s custom-made Gibson S400 guitar, top-layered with lines on his own gandharvi and anandi models.
Allow Debashish to lull you into dusk-time reverie and awaken your spirits to a glorious new dawn on this evocative album of insightful Indian guitar.