Sarod player Arnab Chakrabarty on making the sarod more accessible
For over 30 years, sarod player Arnab Chakrabarty has developed an intense bond with the sarod. It’s not just a musical instrument for him. It is a medium to communicate with a Hindustani music enthusiast or an aficionado, and to make classical music accessible to the common man. “I am working on putting out all the information in the public domain about learning and playing the sarod,” says Arnab who performs this Saturday at Jagriti Theatre.
Hosted by the Bangalore Sarod Foundation, the concert titled Saraswat - A Musical Voyage to Eternity will also have Soumen Sarkar on tabla. Arnab will be following the format of a usual classical concert — a main raga for 45-50 minutes and a smaller raga for 20 minutes which will include an aalaab (independent music that’s composed on the spot based on the ragas). “I don’t know what I will play, but I will improvise on stage. It is highly subjective,” he explains.
When asked about how he plans his concerts, Arnab says, for technical practice, he works with ragas that have common notes.“I think of a range of ragas. For example, I might pick either raag Shree, raag Purvi or raag Lalita Gauri — all three have the same notes. But structures are different.
When practising any of these ragas, the scale is common. It’s the same process with raag Desh, raag Khamaj and raag Tilak Kamod. That’s how I do my technical practice. I think of the logic of intrinsic movements and I don’t ever rehearse the actual performance,” says Arnab.
Though based out of Toronto, the musician travels to India twice a year for various performances and this year, he has played six concerts in India. Trained under late Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta and Dr Kalyan Mukherjea, Arnab says his approach to the sarod is quite similar to the style of late Pandit Radhika Mohan Maitra. “I grew up listening to him and I am trained in his style of music,” he adds.
The musician is currently working with classical compositions that were written only for the sarod. “My composition teacher Ustad Irfan Muhammad Khan of Kolkata is teaching me several dozen sarod compositions at the moment, some of which date back almost 200 years. Through this and my concerts, I am wish to promote the sarod as a viable and ear-friendly instrument. Anyone should be able to learn it,” he signs off.
Rs 450 upwards. November 10. At Jagriti Theatre, Whitefield