Poet, litterateur Amit Chaudhuri is happy to have 'Found Music'. But as he experiments with his new passion, he wants to make it clear that though Jazz and classical form the base of his expression, 'This Is Not Fusion'.
Amit Chaudhuri the musician seems to be catching up with Amit Chaudhuri the poet and litterateur. The reticent writer, recipient of numerous literary awards and wide international acclaim, is now absorbed in his experimental music, a union of the Western jazz, blues and rock with the Indian raga.
“I was exposed to good music from a very early age. This interest became an obsession when I was 16, and started taking music lessons from Pandit Govind Prasad Jaipurwale,” says Chaudhuri, whose mother, Bijoya, is a noted Rabindra Sangeet exponent.
He also learnt to play the guitar, and college days were filled with the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and James Taylor.
“The fundamentals of the five-note raga in Indian classical music and five-note blues scale are very similar and often overlap with one another, which made me ponder about creating a new genre of music,” says Chaudhuri, who is happy with the response to his music. “This unique concept allows me to go from one musical scale to another and come back again to the starting point.” The similarities shared by jazz and Indian classical music formed the base of the artiste’s freedom to experiment.
His first concert in India, at Gyan Manch in 2005, received critical acclaim. Since then the Amit Chaudhuri Band has been touring the globe. “Audiences abroad are much more receptive to experimentation,” says Chaudhuri. The clubs and music festivals abroad encourage new kinds of music, he feels, citing the lack of government and corporate initiatives as a reason for the absence of similar initiatives in India.
However, Chaudhuri, now a regular on BBC Radio and at jazz festivals across Europe, is clear about steering his music clear of the ‘fusion’ label — the title of his first album proclaims, ‘This Is Not Fusion’.
His next, ‘Found Music’, will be released in India this month by EMI Music.
The artiste, who has performed at Vortex in 2008 and Art Depot, Finchley in 2009 as well, is also planning to launch a compilation of his live shows. Fans of the literary Chaudhuri, meanwhile, have a work of non-fiction to look forward to.