Bickram Ghosh’s fusion spectacle

Renowned tabla virtuoso Bickram Ghosh, and his fusion ensemble Rhythmscape, enraptured audiences in Hyderabad with their spellbinding performance
Bickram Ghosh’s fusion spectacle

HYDERABAD : Pandit Bickram Ghosh, a revered tabla maestro renowned for his fusion music, recently graced Hyderabad with his

fusion band Rhythmscape, leaving the audience at Ravindra Bharathi enthralled with their high-octane jamming. The musical evening was organised by the Jadavpur University Alumni Association, Hyderabad Chapter, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to philanthropic activities in the twin cities.

Famed for seamlessly blending pure classical music with the fusion genre, Ghosh and Rhythmscape captivated the audience with renditions like “Dance of Shiva,” “Zinc,” “Little Krishna,” and more. Accompanied by a stellar ensemble of musicians, including V Suresh on ghatam, Abhisek Mallick on sitar, S Pranav Dath on drums, Pulak Sarkar on keyboard, and Nirmalya Roy on vocals, Ghosh shared insights into his musical journey in an exclusive conversation with CE.

How do you feel performing in Hyderabad?

Performing in Hyderabad is always a pleasure. The city boasts a rich cultural heritage, and the audience here is deeply connected to music. It’s gratifying to perform for people who not only love but also understand music. The audience’s vibe fuels the artist’s performance, and the stronger the connection, the more fulfilling the experience becomes.

Tell us about your fusion band Rhythmscape?

Rhythmscape is perhaps the oldest and longest-surviving fusion band in the country. We officially launched Rhythmscape in January 2002, with our inaugural show in Mumbai featuring choreography by the South Indian actress and dancer, Shobana. Over the past 22 years, we’ve performed worldwide, influencing an entire generation with our percussion-driven sound. Combining classical tabla, mridangam, and ghatam with contemporary elements like the SH-101 bass guitar, we strive to create an avant-garde musical experience.

What inspired Rhythmscape?

Coming from a background steeped in pure classical music, my tenure with Pandit Ravi Shankar in the 90s exposed me to the essence of traditional music. However, I also recognised the need to resonate with younger audiences by infusing contemporary elements into our sound. Drawing inspiration from Western music’s low registers, which were absent in Indian classical music, we incorporated the SH-101 bass guitar to create a more dynamic and engaging experience for listeners.

Any memorable moments with Pt Ravi Shankar?

Among the countless memories I share with Raviji, one stands out vividly. In 1993, during a small house concert in Brussels, Belgium, Ravi ji attended our performance. Although he praised other artists, he didn’t acknowledge my contribution, leaving me disheartened. However, later that evening, he called me and expressed his admiration for my tabla playing, inviting me to perform with him the following day. This momentous opportunity marked a turning point in my career, shaping my musical journey thereafter.

 Pt Bickram Ghosh & Pt Ravi Shankar
Pt Bickram Ghosh & Pt Ravi Shankar

Who influenced your journey?

My journey has been shaped significantly by my gurus, particularly my father, Pandit Shankar Ghosh, and Carnatic teacher, Pandita S Shekhar. Additionally, Pandit Ravi Shankar played a pivotal role in mentoring me. In terms of composition, RD Burman remains my idol, despite never having met him. His innovative approach continues to inspire me profoundly.

Any message for aspiring artists?

My advice to budding artists is simple: never compromise on learning and practice. Mastery in your craft is paramount for long-term success and relevance in the industry. I’ve been fortunate to sustain a fulfilling career spanning decades, thanks to my dedication to continuous learning and rigorous practice. Embrace the journey of growth, and your passion for music will remain fresh, entertaining, and relevant.

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