East Meets West with Santanu Datta Trio
Different cultures have their own unique canons of classical music. Traditionally, classical musicians have worked towards preserving these individual canons. However, musicians today are increasingly looking at exploring the intersections between these musical traditions and how they can be made to work together. The Santanu Datta Trio is the result of one such collaboration between France and India. The explicit aim of the group is to create bridges between the two countries and their respective cultures. Santanu Datta (vocals and guitar) has spent a long time studying Western Classical Music in France. With Pierre-Antoine Lasnier (bass) and Subhasis Bhattacharya (tabla and other percussion instruments), he adds another dimension to this soundscape by incorporating influences from Indian Classical Music, Indian Folk Music and even Jazz. The three musicians left audiences spellbound in Pondicherry (Jan 28), Delhi (March 30), Chennai (April 1), Pune (April 5) and Ahmedabad (April 7) thanks to a series of concerts organised by Alliance Française du Bengale.
As a a music producer, composer, guitarist, singer and music educator, Santanu Datta‘s quest for his personal sound extends from the Jhumur of Bengal to the contemporary classical music of Europe. After graduating from the Indian Institute of Technology in 2011, Santanu moved to Paris to study Western Art Music and received training in Composition, Harmony, Counterpoint, Fugue, Orchestration, Analysis, Guitar and Chamber music from distinguished musicians like Edith Lejet, Stéphane Delplace, Anthony Girard, Narcis Bonet amongst others. In 2016, Santanu completed the Diplôme Supérieur (Masters) in Composition from the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris with the unanimous vote of the jury. Santanu also studied Classical Guitar performance extensively and holds the Diplôme d’Etude Musicale (D.E.M.) from the Conservatoire de Ville-d’Avray and the L.T.C.L. from Trinity College London. He has received various scholarships for his musical studies and his works have been performed by musicians from all over the world.
A sociology project brought Pierre-Antoine Lasnier to Kolkata four years ago – a move that he calls life-changing.
Having begun training in western classical music at the age of 5, Pierre found a penchant for jazz by the time he turned 14. He had been learning Hindustani classical music under Debashish Bhattacharya and had been associated with Santanu for quite a while. In fact, it was Pierre who introduced Subhasis to Santanu and it was thus that the trio was born. The musicians hesitate from referring to their unique sound as fusion – a term which they feel is thrown around casually. In the words of Santanu Datta, “…[wh]at we’re doing here is focussing on the core concepts of different musical cultures. If you’re playing a raga, you need to maintain the melodic movement and at the same time try to find a way and harmonise it as well…It’s about finding a way to make everything work correctly and independently”. The musicians admit that it is complex to bring their different musical philosophies together. However they equate the process of finding their unique sound to happiness – “It’s not a goal or an ambition, but a journey.”
A video clip of the trio performing Recuerdos de la Alhambra can be for found here :
Rédaction, AF Magazine Inde-Népal