Somnath Roy: Striking a common thread in Hindustani & Karnataki

Posted by Kaahon Desk On December 15, 2016

Somnath Roy is one of the rare classical music artistes who started out as a versatile North Indian musician and then seriously pursuing South Indian percussion and imbibed both the influences in his own music. He is currently one of the exponents of playing the Ghatam in eastern part of India. But he is equally skilled in the flute, Dholak and Western percussion, among countless other instruments. His range of tutelage extends from Shri Nepal Sarkar, who trained him in Hindustani flute to Sri Bablu Biswas gave him “Talim” in “Dholak” and Shri Amal Roy who gave him the lessons on western percussion. He then travelled south and enrolled as a disciple of the maestros like Shri S. Sekhar and Vidwan Shri V. Suresh.

As a complete and integrated musician or student of music Somnath Roy shares in detail the various concepts of Hindustani and Karnataki music; their similarities, differences and points of overlapping. He is especially excited about the precise mathematical approach towards rhythm found in South Indian music since it oftentimes leaves room to improvise. He also makes certain interesting historical and cultural observations regarding the evolution and formation of the two distinct forms of Classical Music in India. His extensive and rigorous pursuit of various forms of music has certainly resulted in an open mind. He finds every form of music, not just classical, to be rich and full of potential. He shares a few experiences of his own where his never-ending quests for new forms have yielded exciting musical results. He looks for that even in fusion music. But unless it results in a new form, just playing various types of instruments together is a futile exercise for him.

Talking about the local scenario in terms of musical practices in West Bengal, he sounds rather crestfallen. Here, it seems, that the tendency is to gain fame and money instead of dedicated practice and pursuit of music. It might be the consequence of music becoming alienated from the everyday practices and the community, as a whole exists only as a commodity or investment.

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