About Debashish Bhattacharya
Bhattacharya's brain-stretching slide guitar epitomizes world music at its world-iest: a singer trained in his family's classical Gwalior style, Bhattacharya picked up a Hawaiian steel guitar when he was just five years old and never looked back. His sound still traffics in the heady, melodically complex world of Indian classical music, but he has invented his own slide guitars to retain a Hawaiian tone while expanding his musical range. The 22-string chaturangi can imitate sounds as diverse as violin, sarod and sitar; the 14-string ghandarvi veers from sounding like a flamenco guitar to a sarangi; and the tiny anandi has only four strings. He has also created new finger and playing styles that have led to unbelievably fast playing, much of which was never possible before. The result? Music that never compromises its roots, though it fiddles with them gleefully. Only a few other musicians have visited the hypothetical musical world that lives between the South Pacific and South Asia, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Ry Cooder and Bob Brozman among them. But few can claim Bhattacharya's virtuosity: listening to a raga by the man can be both an emotional and an intellectual journey.