Debashish Bhattacharya Trio
ST JAMES HALL i
3214 West 10th Ave, Kitsilano
Accessible All ages
Kolkata's Grammy-nominated Debashish Bhattacharya is one of the world's most extraordinary and innovative slide guitarists. He fuses influences from all over India as well as the West, creating a style that is both hypnotic and fiery. Debashish famously gave up the sitar at age six in search of a greater challenge! He found it by modifying a jazz guitar and adding sympathetic strings. He is now universally celebrated for juggling his three self-designed slide guitars: the 22-string Chaturangui, the 14-string Gandharvi and a tiny slide ukulele called Anandi, representing three generations of instruments and continuing a thousand-year musical tradition. Debashish continues a tradition that began when Hawaiian slack key guitarists were stranded in India when WWII broke out, and local players adapted their open tunings and slide effects to perform classical ragas.
Blending trance-like Hindustani sounds, southern ragas and an incisive, Western-influenced melodic style, Bhattacharya's guitars ring and reverberate, often in the style of a sitar (his innovations have frequently been compared to the great Ravi Shankar).
Debashish has performed at the Rogue on four previous occasions, most recently at CBC with pianist Bob Murphy and saxophonist Tom Keenlyside - what a show that was! He first came here with Bob Brozman and Martin Simpson on a World Of Slide Guitar Tour in 1996 and 1997. Each time he has been accompanied by his brother Subashis - the leading percussionist of his generation - on tablas. Their uniquely powerful interplay demonstrates an almost telepathic link which only siblings can achieve! On this tour they will be joined by Debashish's prodigiously talented teenage daughter Anandi on vocals and tamboura, who matches Debashish's swift-swooping melodies note-for-note.
The trio have a new CD, Madeira -- If Music Can Intoxicate. In the supremely
gifted hands of this amazing family, music is most definitely a powerful intoxicant, and if
they perform the 26 minute frenzied raga Reflections Of Love again, hold on to your sweetie,
cos as the old Blues song Back Door Man says,
the men don't know, but the little girls understand.
I reckon it's the closest thing to tantric sex that music can muster - and judging by the
heavy female sighs in the balcony at St. James that night, I could be on to something!