UK-based Datta gives a riveting performance in Raag Durga, Gorakh Kalyan and Tilak Kamod infused with energy and joy. He unfolds Durga, the pentatonic raga, etching its enchanting characteristics with meditative explorations and assertive improvisations. Datta strikes a brilliant balance between the sweetness, profundity and playfulness of Durga, exploring its contours with his bright sound, bols, meends and gamaks. “The old-school sarod playing requires a lot of physicality and therefore is capable of drawing blood from the fingers; I am still trying to figure out a more compassionate way of playing it without much physical hurt,” says Datta with a smile. Next, he plays two ragas - Gorakh Kalyan and Tilak Kamod, with a mesmerizing build-up and without a single superfluous moment.
Singh comes in with bright streaks on the tabla, interspersing the recital with an array of tukdas and improvisations ending in tihais that drew appreciation from Datta as well as the entire star-studded Darbar line-up seated at the front row of the Barbican Hall – viz. Meeta Pandit, Rupak Kulkarni, Omkar Dadarkar, Parveen Sultana, Wasifuddin Dagar, Ojas Adhiya et al.
Soumik Datta is a sarodi from the younger generation, describing himself as ‘a slave to the instrument’. He trained under the late maestro Buddhadev Das Gupta, flying to Kolkata for periods of intense study during his holidays from boarding school in the UK. Today he plays a vast range of styles - jazz, Indo-blues, drum’n’bass, and many more. But he always returns to his classical core, performing Hindustani music around the world.
Sukhvinder Singh (affectionately known as ‘Pinky’) is a singular percussionist, specialising in low-tuned tabla and jori. Hailing from the Punjab, his first musical immersions were in dholak and pakhawaj, playing traditional Sikh devotional music. His style is deeply influenced by the Punjab and Benares gharanas. His career has featured accompaniment slots with Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ustad Vilayat Khan, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, and other leading Hindustani instrumentalists. He is a charismatic performer and teacher, dedicated to bringing the tabla to audiences around the world.
Soumik Datta (sarod)
Sukhvinder Singh ‘Pinky’ (tabla)
Ragas: Durga, Gorakh Kalyan, Tilak Kamod