Bickram Ghosh: Must celebrate our incredible tradition of instrumental music

The esteemed Bickram Ghosh recently orchestrated an extraordinary musical endeavor, his album “Glorious India”, lighting up the musical landscape with the collaborative genius of top-tier Indian musicians. This harmonious assembly includes Grammy winning flautist Rakesh Chaurasia, sitar maestro Purbayan Chatterjee, and the violin virtuoso Kumaresh, among others. In an enlightening interview, Ghosh spills the beans on his inspiration behind uniting such distinguished artists under one roof, the intricate process of filming, and his aspirations to take “Glorious India” to the illustrious platform of the Grammy Awards.

“Glorious India” as an album transcends mere auditory experience. It emerges as a testament to India’s rich musical lineage, a concoction of heritage and innovation, mirroring the nation’s vibrant spirit in contemporary times. Ghosh’s initiative celebrates the diversity and virtuosity of Indian instrumentalists, the maestros who have won global acclaim. His pursuit? To create an album both rooted in tradition and pulsating with modernity.

When prised about the initiative, Bickram Ghosh underlined the historical tapestry of fusion music that has, time and again, been sewn by Indian classical musicians broadening their horizons. As a pioneer in the field, him bringing together these titans of instrumental music was a visionary step to showcase India’s cultural splendor. “World over, India is recognized not just for its rich past, steeped in spirituality and music, but also for its present promises. This album mirrors that very essence of India,” Ghosh notes.

He champions the cause of celebrating India’s instrumental music, a heritage that needs no multitude to resonate with the audience. A handful of these instrumentalists suffices to weave hours of enthralling performances. Ghosh talks passionately about the myriad of instruments – the veena, bamboo flute, sitar, and diverse percussions each holding a universe of sound textures. “Why should we not harness these to create something that resonates with groove and excellence?” he questions rhetorically.

The making of “Glorious India” was not short of challenges, particularly the creation of its visual complement. Ghosh explained how miming to Indian classical music is a formidable task due to the impromptu improvisations integral to live performances. Capturing every nuance, every spontaneous inflection was vital to the authenticity of the videos. This process of replication often entailed numerous retakes but, according to Ghosh, the outcome vindicated the effort manifold.

With a career spanning decades, one might suspect managing and directing other composers to be a walk in the park for Ghosh. However, he disclosed that the real joy and challenge lie in playing off each other’s strengths, setting the stage for playful yet awe-inspiring musicianship, a playful camaraderie that is palpable in every performance.

Turning his gaze towards the Grammys, Ghosh, a voting member with four Grammy-nominated albums to his credit, is enthusiastic and optimistic. “Glorious India” holds for him, the kernel of something truly special, a piece that could resonate with the global audience and the Grammy committee which has shown interest in music emerging from India. He submits, “To send it to the Grammys is straightforward for me, but from there, it’s the public and the music that will speak for themselves.”

As “Glorious India” gears up for a deserved spotlight on the global stage, Bickram Ghosh’s labor of love waits to enchant a wider audience, potentially earning a spot amongst the crème de la crème at the Grammys. It is a celebration, an homage to India’s ever-evolving and endlessly fascinating instrumental music tradition, poised now to earn its share of global applause.

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