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Debashish Bhattacharya is routinely referred to as one of the world's greatest guitarists. The BBC Award for World Music winner and Grammy nominated artist is presenting a new project, also the title of his new album on World Music Network, O Shakuntala. A dazzling combination of southern Karnatic and Northern Hindustani music, O Shakuntala features Debashish's brother and ever popular wizard on the tabla drums Subhasis, plus India's only female pakhawaj (wooden barrel drum) and mridangam (Karnatic music small drum) players. The quartet played a couple of one off shows in 2009 and now are preparing to take the special O Shakuntala show on the road in 2010.
Pandit (master) Debashish Bhattacharya is one of the world's most remarkable slide guitarists. He has spent a lifetime in intensive study, performance and innovation of the guitars that he plays. All the guitars are unique instruments designed by Debashish himself, a Trinity of Guitars- Chaturangui, Gandharvi and Anandi - representing three generations of instruments, while also continuing a thousand-year tradition of music. A performance of Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya dazzles the listener with hypnotic patterns and stunning music shaped from Debashish's original three-finger picking technique.
Born into a musical family on 12 January 1963, in Kolkata (Calcutta), India, Debashish Bhattacharya learnt to sing before he could talk. At the age of 3, he started playing the Hawaiian lap steel guitar, giving his first major concert on All India Radio at 4. The first slide guitarist to receive the President of India Award in 1984 he was made a Pandit (master) at 40. Since then he has been established as one of the world's most outstanding slide guitarists through tours of inspirational live concerts and best selling albums, including collaborations with other world famous guitarists such as John McLaughlin and Shakti, Bob Brozman and Martin Simpson.
First of his invention is the Chaturangui - a 24 string hollow neck guitar, followed by the 14 string Ghandharvi, which holds the longest glissando and the Anandi, s 4-string slideukulele, played at the end of a performance. All three combine aspects of the western guitar with elements of traditional Indian instruments.
This extremely personable and gifted artist takes the audience on a timeless journey through the history of Indian classical music, bringing it into the 21st century, with detours into the blues and Hawaiian music.