Aloke Dasgupta believes in improvisation to make music palatable to all age groups
"WE, the Indian musicians are best known and respected for being maestros and performers abroad because of the established superlative splendour of Indian classical music," saying it with pride is the Los Angeles-based renowned sitar virtuoso, Aloke Dasgupta in the city, on the invitation of Pracheen Kala Kendra.
"Last time while opening a Kendra centre, Guru Madan Lal Koser advised me to create any Indo American classic in which the sanctity of Hindustani music and my personal contribution should be eloquently felt in the composition. This resulted in my venture of recording Indian gana with all Western instruments and later I teamed up with the oldest Cheap Trick Music Ensemble of America for another wonder," says Aloke.
"We reproduced the 40 years old works of legendary sitar wizard Pandit Ravi Shanker with the Beatles and the Indian ragadari-based compositions, with me as the lead Sitarist and delighted the 17,500-strong ticketed crowd. Adept at the Jazz and other Western music genres, I will be performing with the noted clarionet maestro Dan Geetings in many countries. But another venture titled "Pastoral" , a jugalbandi of western Ballet and Kathak partly directed by Guru Shobha Koser will be taken around the world for which the music is being finalised. Along with classical vocalist Sanjukta, partner in his profession and life, he also runs the Raga Ranjani School of Music in LA with five centres in the US. Students of my five Kendra's are awarded degrees. My son Abhigyan Dasgupta and his batch mates have cleared Vishard and formed a group called Anhad in their college. All artistes creates voice of respective instruments even tabla through the mouth only and the format is known as Aka Pillo," he explains.
Aloke is among the most outstanding and original sitar players in the North Indian classical style. With his mature style and compositions all his own, he draws the memory back nostalgically to the past greats of sitar, while at the same time revealing an awareness of contemporary, international movements, such as Jazz, new-age and world music. Though grounded in the Maihar gharana of Allauddin Khan Saheb, Aloke has rapidly assimilated phrasing and tonality from other gharanas, which has really embellished his original style of playing. Holding a master's degree in ethnomusicololgy from San Diego State University, Aloke made his debut in 1981 at the New York Folk Festival and rest is history.