Bickram Ghosh teams up Sudha Ragunathan for the first time to present Omkara
After two decades of enthralling people all around the world with his unique Hindustani classical interpretations, tabla maestro Bickram Ghosh continues to explore uncharted musical territories. In a conversation about his upcoming concert in Chennai, the veteran musician, 53, spoke about the city as one where he has performed many times in the past. This familiarity with Chennai’s Carnatic-heavy musical milieu led him to present a brand new show, with none other than acclaimed Carnatic vocalist Sudha Raghunathan, a luminary with whom Bickram is collaborating for the very first time.
“A lot has happened in my career (from music to movies), but what I really want to do now is collaborate more than ever. There are many artistes in the world whom I think would be great to work with, and Sudha ji is one of them,” says Bickram, adding that collabs help musicians learn how to break form and understand others’ aesthetics. “The growth of a musician never stops. Take Pandit Ravi Shankar for example, someone who I have played with for so many years. Till the last day, he was growing as an artiste. And, that is the goal for me too,” says the founder of the band Rhythmscape, who has received both Grammy nominations and Oscar contentions in the past, for collabs with artistes like George Harrison of The Beatles and Sonu Nigam.
His upcoming Chennai performance is called Omkara, a name which he liked from the start. “There is a resonant feel to it, which suits the occasion of Maha Shivratri,” he quips. Talking about how the performance was conceptualised, he reveals that it was Saraswathi Krishnakumar of organisers Event Art who suggested to him that he perform with Sudha. “Having been familiar with her work, I thought it’s a great combination. Also, along with us, there’s a diverse line-up of other musicians like Suresh Vaidyanathan with ghatam, veena maestro Rajhesh Vaidhya and Arun Kumar on drums, all of whom have played with me at Rhythmscape,” he says, adding that they will be performing a mix of old and new content.“We are going to do one or two pieces from Rhythmscape followed by a full-on rhythm jam featuring drums, ghatam and the tabla, after which Sudha ji comes on. So expect a wide variety of genres and styles, ranging from North Indian classical and Carnatic to electric entrances and body drumming,” he reveals.
February 21, 6.45 pm. At Narada Gana Sabha. Tickets available online.