He, and his brother on tabla, were wonderful, humble people so deeply in love with the music they were playing that it was all but tangible. The recital began with a raga played on Debashish’s largest guitar, which he designed himself at the age of 16. He is now 45, I think. It was a wonderful piece, spreading a mood evoking peaceful satisfaction with the day that has just been, a vivid and even violent, yet controlled, celebration and thanks for such a beautiful evening, for just being there.
The second raga, played on a guitar dreamed of for many years and only born in 1999, was in the equivalent of a minor harmonic scale. The effect of the music was to induce feelings of disturbing melancholy, a mood of longing, of something missing, almost anxious beauty.
Finally, a short piece on his baby guitar, Anandi, born in 2002 and named after the Sanskrit for ‘the sound of joy’. A 4-string ukelele played like a lap steel and sounding like the strangest sitar.
In between, some gracious words and explanations of his philosophy of music, the importance of listening, of the development of Indian classical music. What generosity we were shown.
And it wasn’t even sold out.
Having just seen 180,000 people willing to pay through the nose and live in filth for a line-up described by a devoted ‘indie-music’ journalist as being mostly “Landfill Indie”, why were there not queues around the block to witness two musicians who have devoted their lives to producing something extraordinary?
Debashish Bhattacharya plays the Barbican tomorrow night (4th July). Its on the FreeStage! Free! All you have to do is listen.