Debashish Bhattacharya | International House, University of Chicago | International | Chicago Reader
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Debashish Bhattacharya 

When: Sun., Nov. 1, 3:30 p.m. 2009
Price: $20, $10 students
DEBASHISH BHATTACHARYA pioneered the use of the slide guitar in Indian classical music, and on his latest release, O Shakuntala! (Riverboat), he continues to tweak tradition even as he embraces it. The ten tracks on the album are loosely aligned with the narrative of the Abhigyana Shakuntalam, an ancient epic love story by the great Sanskrit poet and playwright Kalidasa, and Bhattacharya sticks to musical approaches several centuries old. But the three guitars he plays—among them the chaturangui, which has 12 sympathetic strings and two drone strings—are of his own design. He also nonchalantly collides Hindustani and Carnatic elements. The opener, “Megha Re,” is gorgeously austere, while the ebullient “Priyatameshu” is wide-ranging and richly ornamented; the ensemble features both tabla, a staple of Hindustani music, and traditionally Carnatic drums like mridangam and pakhawaj. For this concert Bhattacharya is joined by his brother Subhasis on tabla. —Peter Margasak



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