Sarod player Soumik Datta’s TV series brings to the fore stories of native musicians
For a young musician born in India, but who has lived most of his life in the UK, it was quite natural that he came looking for his musical roots. That’s what Soumik Datta, the Mumbai born, British-Indian composer says. The young man who picked up the sarod at the age of 12, and was trained under Buddhadev Das Gupta, set out on this journey, travelling across his native land India, along with his brother Souvid Datta, to discover lost musicians.
After a two-year journey, the duo is ready with their new show, Tuning 2 U: Lost Musicians of India that will be telecast on Sony BBC Earth. The six-part series, showcases native musicians from places such as Kolkata, Varanasi, Rajasthan, Nagaland, Goa and Karnataka. “We have had this conversation about going back to India and shooting with the musicians for over 10 years now. As Indians living in the UK, there is a growing sense about the connect and disconnect with India.With the sarod, I was trying to connect with my roots through its music. There was a lot of commercial work I was doing with big artistes but I don’t think any of it was answering my questions,” says Soumik.
The show in some way has been able to address many of Soumik’s deep personal questions. For Souvid, this was a project not only to help his brother but to also showcase indigenous music to the world. The process wasn’t an easy one, considering the team had to visit remote towns and villages in India. “It was a long process of research. We worked with Weavers Studio in West Bengal and with people such as Srinivas Kopanna, a music historian in Karnataka and producer Jahanara Rabia based out of Delhi. There are over 2,000 smaller tribes with their own unique cultures. We wanted to show the universal pleasure, purpose and peace you get through their music,” says Souvid. Not everyone they met was a professional musician. But like everyone says, music has no language and no barriers.
Tuning 2 You: Lost Musicians of India will be telecast from May 9 - 11, at 2 pm on Sony BBC Earth