BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

Accessibility help
Text only
BBC Homepage
BBC Music
BBC Radio 3

Radio 3

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

Awards for World Music 2007 - Asia Pacific
Debashish Bhattacharya


Debashish Bhattacharya album cover
The Jesuit maxim ‘Give me the child until he is seven and I will show you the man’ could just have easily have been coined in India, where the tradition of immersing children in music from birth is a natural result of them growing up within musical dynasties. In fact, Debashish Bhattacharya learnt to sing in the Gwailor classical vocal style his parents were steeped in even before he could talk. Oddly, the instrument he was first drawn to as a three-year-old was a Hawaiian lap steel guitar left lying around the house. As he recalls, “it was love at first touch.”

As a boy, Debashish learned western guitar as well as sitar, but his most rigorous training was a ten-year stint during his twenties studying with Pandit Brij Bhushan Kabra, the great pioneer of Indian raga slide guitar. It was during this time that he realised his vocation would be ‘to serve as a bridge between raga’s past and future’.

Now 43, and officially a Pandit (master musician) since turning 40, he is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s greatest slide guitarists, and has invented his own ‘Trinity of Guitars’. His Chaturangi has 22 strings, which enable it to suggest the timbres of violin, sitar, sarod and veena. The Ghandarvi is a 14-stinged guitar that can sound like a veena, sarangi, saz or flamenco guitar, and the tiny 4-stringed Anandi is basically a slide ukulele. He also has his own three-fingered style of playing which gives him an edge over others when it comes to speed and dexterity, and in 2003, he established a music school in his hometown of Kolkata.

His notable early recordings include Guitar: Raga Ahir Bhairav (1993), Call Of The Desert (with Brij Bhushan Kabra) and Hindustani Slide Guitar (2000). He has toured and recorded with John McLauglin’s group Shakti, and in 2003, recorded the fusion project Mahima with the ubiquitous Bob Brozman, his sister Sutapa on vocals and brother Subhashis on tabla. His most recent release is the inspired 3:Calcutta Slide Guitar, which showcases the sounds of his inventions over the course of three ragas.

Jon Lusk

Debashish Bhattacharya on the web
Read other people's comments then Tell us what you think:

Jean Pierre, Cognac France
I have seen Debashish playing an amazing show in Cognac.I can not beleive what I have heard and seen! Great spirit and Divine! My Opinion is, Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya should be considered for life time achievement award. I congratulate BBC Radio 3 to award him for his great music and work.

Dr.alok Biswas,California.
Indian Ragas expressed in Guitar! i never heard it before but i was stunned to hear the Music.It's my pleasure and pride to see such Indian ambassdor to the world stage. with deep regards, AB.

Sukanya Kolkata
he is the best

Sampa Dutta, Kolkata
C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S !!!!!

Junko Hasegawa, Tokyo, Japan
His music is so inspirational and I was so amazed by his performance. What a gift!

Ron White, Henley-on-Thames
Compelling and compulsive! An oustanding award winner.

Rakhal Raj, Maui
Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya is manifesting a role similar to that of Pandit Ravi Shankar in the 50s and 60s. He is bringing Raga to a new audience in this pan-world global village era. He is India's ambassador bringing not only a grand tradition of high musical art but also the noble and sublime personal qualities of India's legacy of saintly kings. I am fortunate to have his association.

Many many congratulations. I enjoy your play very much.

Jenny Enticknap, Scotland
Well deserved award - absolutely excellent music.

Pete Roberts, London
Truly great music, a wonderful discovery

Sabina Mirriam, South Africa
Musician are born to deliver messages through Music,some of them keep on rolling on the same path,as they are trained to be, there are only a few musicians who can successfully create their own path, bring a new horizon and become a milestone of new genre...Debashish Bhatacharya's work itself is such an award for music.I assume what a great parents he must have,my salute to them who gave us Debashish as such a great award.

Yves Gingras Québec Can.
Debashish is very best slide guitar in the world and a great person. Je l'aime beaucoup et il y a mon vote.

Dwij - Sarasota, Florida
Dear Debashish - My heart overflows with joy and gratitude that you, and your family, are held in such high esteem. Beauty and Grace is the gift that you bring to all and I am thankful for those creative times when our paths have crossed. Blessings

David Moore, Birmingham,UK
Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya was unexplored treasure of Indian as well world music,this recognition is though very late, for him, yet is good for many like me, to see him as a fire ball bringing so much meaning as well as potentiality in the confused world music society.Hats Off!

Suzana and Sharapova, Russia
Debashish Bhattacharya is only available in Radios here, we are glad that He won BBC Radio Award.-Thank you Debashish for bringing Indian Raga Music so close to us. and specially thanks to your Parents who brought you to this world.

Jerry Hall
Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya is the Jesus Christ for World Music today.

Hello Debashis Da , You are simply the best .And you are the ONE AND ONLY MASTERO IN SLIDE GUITAR I feel it is an honour and priviledge , to hear you ....You are an inspiraton for young artist like us .Pranam ,Avijit - Sarod . Kolkata

Debashish Bhattacharya Fan Club,Kolkata
We are glad that you were born, we are happy that you liberated Raga Music in the ocean of world music,for us.We are proud that you won BBC Radio 3 Award 2007.We are always with you.

Ratul Kanti Sinha, ,Kolkata
I cannot beleive somebody can be such good a musician, He is as good in guitar as I am in Zoology.Congrats,u have made us proud as I have made you proud.

vivek sekhawat
the best musician i've ever heard. no music has ever touched me as much as his. congratulations on winning, absolutely phenomenal. definitely up there with the ali akbar khans, ravi shankars,and vilayat khans of this world. to me he's better actually... looking forward to finally seeing him at the awards show... got front row!!!

Waheed Shaikh. Houston, TX.
I thought I have heard all the instruements and artists but Debashish Bhattacharya is unique.Its a great pleasure listening to you. May God bless you.

Lokesh, Sydney
Vishwa Mohan Bhatt is the God of Music.

Anirban Chakraborty, Kolkata
The greatest of the contemporary musicians........ he truly deserves what he received....!!!

Nazneen Ala

Sense World Music & Darbar Leicester


Pdt. Tejendra Narayan Majumdar
Congratulations! deserve fact you should have got it earlier.. I think he is the BEST GUITAR player of the Universer....Please keep it on...we are so proud of you...Tejendrada

Dave, New York City
As someone once told me, Debashish Bhattacharya is not one of the greatest guitarists on the planet. He is one of the greatest musicians on the planet! Bhattacharya is not only amazing to me because of his speed or virtuosity. I am blown away by how each note he plays is so deeply infused with emotion.

Edmund Punch - Freiburg, Germany
Congratulations to you Debashish.

Hella Kihm, Honolulu
Watching Debashish meet Papa Tau Moe (the man who introduced steel guitar to India) was one of the most moving experiences in my many years of attending concerts. I was particularly impressed that Debshish had brought traditional gifts for Papa as well as an award from India on behalf of all the steel guitar players. This shows that Debashish is not only a great musician but someone who understands the value of cultural heritage and how tradition is passed from person to person and that it is good for the soul to acknowledge the people you learn from. My husband went to Papa Tau Moe's funeral and Debashish's visit was described as one of the highlights of Papa's final years.

Trudy Ann Tellis, Vancouver, Canada
Pandit Debashish is my Bhai and of course I think that this award should be his. His music touches the soul and he stands apart in a class by himself that no one can match. His music is a gift to all of us.

Sutapa Bhattacharjee Das, Kolkata,India
If someone of the present generation can perform Raaga Musicat per highest quality maintainingthe intrigue traditional artistry on an internationally most famous instrument (guitar) his name is Debashish Bhattacharya. To me he is the complete musician and pride of India and Raaga Music.

Shawn Bevan , Los Angeles, United States
I am a song writer and a fan of Indian Music,My introduction to indian music was in 60's with Ravi Shankar's music. Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya is the God of Hindustani (Indian) Slide Guitar, his power of thinking, visualisation of Music and ability to present it in the form of Raga or contemporary music is absolute phenomena.I think his best award he has been sharing with us, the touch of love, peace and joy...which only God can give. I do not think he has any competitor,in such a sense, I think he is far beyond of any competition,his music is blissful,his energy is pure and his message is eternal.

Sukanya Kolkata
Debashish Bhattacharya is the best.

Lou Glandfield Brighton UK
Debashish is one of the greatest living musicians in any culture, sytle or genre. His example shows us what is (theoretically at least) possible and everyone, musician or not, is the richer for it. Give him the award!

Saukanya Bhattacharya Kolkata
Debashish Bhattacharya is simply the "Guitar Maestro" My Vote.

Utpal Sekhar Mondal, Kolkata, India
Pt. Debashish Bhattacharya is the greatest player of Indian Slide guitar and his control over "Sur", "Taal", "Loi" (melody, beat and rythm) is far better than any other contemporary guitarist (them I personnaly feel are the mimics of Sitar / Sarod only and not conforming 100% with Indian Classical mood). Mr. Bhattacharya's upgradation of the instrument as well as the playing style is going to be the pioneer for the future musicians especially for the guitarist of the world.

Manoj (India)
Guitar is my favourite musical instrument.I found him playing guitar which make me move to the peace of world.

koushik mukherjee from behala
pt. debashish bhattacharya glorifies his country by his achievments that is far more precious and reach the ultimate height of an ideal and therefor his music remains as a sacred entity and inspirating force in man's life.

visalaxmi from kolkata
True music comes from heart and that we find it in music given to by us pt. debashish bhattacharya in this world.So,I would like to vote him through the bottom of my heart and also feel proud for the son of indian soil.

Afshin Pourasgheri Australia
Debashish Bhattacharya is my Guru. To put this in a few sentences would be. I have never met anybody in my life that lives and breathes music as does this man. His life is like a musical note that is always being composed. His music and skill is nothing like i have heard or experienced before. Very touching. Debashish is a genourous and loving individual. He is definately worthy for this award!

Chris Gerlo Belgium
Debashish Bhattacharya is absolutely the best. His music is magic

Gargi Ghoshal, Kolkata
Debashishda deserves this award as he really uplifted Guiter as a Classical Instrument and at the same time popularising it. Wish him all the best.

He was called 'SONAR CHELE' Pride of kolkata radio.Got 'Top Grade'from all India radio,President award of India,gold medal from Asiatic society with so many brilliant of India like Dr. Monamohan Sing prime minister of India,Dr. Manilal Bhowmick,Sri K.R.Narayanan,Smt.Mahasweta Devi.His music and playing style of guitar is unique and matchless.He deserves to get this award.



Janaknath Ranjan,Banaras
Simply put- Debashish Bhattacharya has got guts,knowlegde and mastery- the three basic things for standing out as a classical musician without a "papa".

Debajyoti Baruah, Assam
He is the best musician .I think His melodious music in his guitar touch everyones heart

Integrating the two classical traditions of India has been fantastically done by Pt.Dabashish Bhattacharya.This is the true identity of a great musician.He surely deserves this award.

Daulat Kishan,Melbourne
This man is fascinating.Make the award contemporary by giving him the award.

P Nandalal,Bhopal
Can there be any comparison between the superb maestro Pt.Debahashish Bhattacharya and Anoushka? She only has her father's music to harp upon but Debashishji is the modern version of Ravi Shankar.

Sanjeev Sharma,New Delhi
I heard Debashishji at Pt.Ravi Shankar's institute.He is fantastic in his rendition of ragas.Brilliant skills should get him this award.He truly deserves it.

Avijit Das "Kolkata"
Debashish Bhattacharya is the Best Guitarist in the whole world and he deserves this award.

Soma Bhattacharya KOLKATA
Debashish Bhattacharya is one of the greatest human being in the music world he is much better than the other nominees participating in the BBC award 2007 thus he should get the award.

Sohni Bajoria, Mumbai,India
Debashish is the Star of 21st centuries indian music.his creation, his presentation is a symbol of unique individualism.A passionate performer Debashish never seemed to me a copier of any existing form or style, rather he has given birth of new musical,as well as instrumental idealism for the generations to come.A path finder as he is ,a true torch bearer of Hindustani music.

Ratul Shankar,Kolkata
DebashishJi is one of the leading exponent of Indian Music,he has artistically reached far ahead than many others, his music never repeats the items he plays, most powerful soul he puts in his music , neither his style can be judged by hearing him once, I hear him quite often in Kolkata, every concert is a different story,I compare him with none at the moment, and will definetly bring the glory of Kolkata back by wining BBC Radio 3 award, as he himself has put Kolkata(Calcutta) in the international or Global music chart.

Shusheela Raman, Paris
If Jesus has given birth of Christianity, Buddha has given Peace to the world,Debashish has brought Indian Raga music, by his own way into the world music with out loosing the power and art of the Ragas , no Indian musician has ever done that in such a short span of life,after hearing debashish, V.M .Bhatt's music sounds to me full of repeatations and limitted by his own Mohan Veena.Music has no masculine or feminity,those who sees artistes before art they should hear Debashish who puts art before the artiste.I wish him a very long and successful journey.

Sukanya Kolkata
He is the best among all the nominies, thus he deserves the award.

Sukanya Kolkata
I think Debashish Bhattacharya is the best and far more better than Vishwa Mohan Bhatt so only he can or should get the planet award

Srikanth Canada
He is too technical and does not touch me like Vishawa mohan

Madhavi Ray
Anoushka is the reigning queen of the sitar. She has given hope to many women that we can also win if we have a talent. Its not just a man's world

Bhaskar Roy Choudhury
He really deserves it among the nominees

Dwipayan Saha ,kolkata
He is one of the pioneer of Indian slide Guitar & an outstanding performer

Dhrubojyoti Roy, Kolkata
He weaves magic with Chaturangi, Anandi and Gandharvi. Mesmerising.

Amano Manish, Pune, India
Debashish bhaiya is my Guitar-god! He is music-n-magic together. So much ahead of his times, he is a phenomenon impossible to be overlooked. Awards get honoured coming to him...

Amit Dallas Texas
Its said good music comes with wonderful people. Which copliments with Debashish bhattacharya a amazing person with immense creativity and control on his instrument. Very melodious and passionate music.

We are proud of Sri Debashish Bhattaercharjee. He is the best.

cynthia johnson california
I heard him at the RaviShankar Centre and although he was very good, my choice is vishwa mohan bhatt on the guitar.

Popat Savla, Los Angeles
Debashish is simply great slide guiter player. I had have been following his performing career for last 12 years and he has reached new height and has made indian classical music popular thru his instrument. He deserves the award.

Tripti Bhattacharya KOLKATA
Pt.Debashish Bhattacharya is the best !!!

Suryadipta Bhattacharya KOLKATA
Pt. Debashish Bhattacharya is a great musician he is a outstanding artist in performing the three guitars , thus he deserves thousand times to this award.My vote !

Sukanya Kolkata
Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya is one of the greatest human being and musician that is why he is special in our planet , and only he deserves planet award, my vote

Ron White
Simply masterly. My choice.

ushnish sarker,kolkata
if u want to see life in the realm of strings,simply listen to pandit debashish bhattacharya

Fred Hamilton, Denton, Texas, USA
I am a jazz guitar professor at the University of North Texas. Debashish Bhattacharya gave a lecture/recital in October, 2006 at our university. He is a master musician, a wonderful communicator and the audience was absolutely spellbound. He deserves this award.

Mihir Patel, Dallas
He is a treasure of creative and soul-touching music, which reflects his personality. One of the finest, self-groomed and versatile musician. He has positioned Indian slide guitar music at new peak, where I do not think anyone would reach in near future.

Vikram Shrowty, California,USA
Leave aside his technical mastery over the instrument, which easily puts light-years ahead of any slide guitarist ever. His raagdari (raag interpretation), bhav (emotion), rasa (no suitable english word), command over laya (tempo) and all other aspects of his music put him in the same class as the giants of our instrumental music: the vilayat khans, the ali abkar khans, the ravi shankars etc. Unfortunately, us indians don't seem to fully appreciate the geniuses among us until some foreign body confers an award upon them. This award would go a long way in that direction.

Nilesh Ladha,Wisconsin,USA

Mary Lucey, North Carolina, USA
Debashish is a true inspiration. The emotion that comes through his playing is so powerful, I usually sit as if time has stopped when listening.

Prshant Lahoti, Hyderabad, India
Had the pleasure of hearing him on couple of occasions. Besides being a genius, he is a great person, a rare combination. We are sure he will walk away the award.

Charles Blass, WKCR-FM NYC, USA
Debashish Bhattacharya is a guitar master at a relatively young age. Supported by the exquisite tablas of his brother Subhasish, Debashish reaches one's innermost depth and uplifts with sound. Their precision, lyricism, and joyful soul are unparalleled. The incredible care and complexity of Debashish's instruments and techniques, combined with the purest and simplest result - music! - should qualify him to win this contest. He is perhaps not so famous as his competitors, yet all the more so deserving.

Daniel Shane Thomas
Debashish's contribution to the world of slide guitar is unparralled. Not only is he among the finest musicians in the world, he is a good man whose integrity and love shine in every note played. Debashish Bhattacharya deserves this award!

soren venema,amsterdam
debashish is an rare example of a man who forged his own way in music,developping a new technique for playing hindu slide guitar.a wonderfull musician.

Teed Rockwell. Berkeley CA
Few people are both as Innovative and Virtuostic as Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya. He is not only invented a whole new style, he has mastered and taken it to dazzling levels. He's got my vote for this award, for sure.

J.W. Junker, Honolulu, Hawai`i
Especially since classical music (and long tracks at that!) hardly ever get the kind of airplay other forms of world music receive, it is very welcome indeed to see our dear musical brother Debashish nominated for this award. Win, lose or draw he is one of the world's great musicians and richly deserving of wider attention. Those who really listen to his passionate playing are usually delighted; even elevated and inspired. What could be better?

Kushal Gaya
Debashish Bhattacharya is simply and totally PUNK ROCK.

Manoj Gupta, Kolkata, India
He is really great and nobody is near him.

Manas Das, Kolkata, India
He is the best slide guitarist in the world.

Ted Tanner, Victoria, Canada
Debashsish Bhattacharya is a true master of his instrument. His music is an expression of the way he lives his entire life - with integrity & joy, immersed in pure music, and it shows when you hear him play. A rare experience in music today. He wholeheartedly deserves this award.

Shreela Chakrabartty, Canada
Debashish Bhattacharya is a musical genius whose creative expression remains boundless - be it his music or the instrument through which his music flows.

It has always been a wonderful experience to listen to his music, and we believe he deserve to win this award
J'aime beaucoup

Shantanu Bhattacharya, Dallas Texas
Hands down, on of the top musicians India has ever produced. A tremedous innovator in musical style and instruments. One of the major bridges between eastern and western music in this generation. As genuine and profound a musician as he is a human being.

Ananya Mukherjee, Singapore
His music touches the audience where it should—the soul. He elevates music to a level where it is no longer restricted to the senses; it becomes a spiritual communion with the Gods. Truly deserves to win.

Tom Austin Occidental, CA
Debashish is the finest guitarist on the planet, and he keeps getting better. It is a crime that he is not more well known and celebrated. He should get this award.

Dominique / Quebec, Canada
DEBASHISH plays with so much love and is a virtuous. He really deserves to win this award.

Billy, North Carolina, USA
Debashish is an absolutely phenomonal man and musician of the highest order.

Laura Acevedo, Hilo Hawaii
Pandit Bhattacharya is a true inspirition musically as well as personally. Without question the outstanding talent in this category and deserving of award.

Dolon chakrabarty Kolkata
It has always been a wonderful experience to listen to his music, and we believe he has given a new dimension to the instrument

Nabanita, Kolkata
With a striking and beautiful resemblance to vocal classical music, the compositions in the album are a connoisseur's delight

Abhijit Sen, Milwaukee
He is not only a great musician but an innovator as well.The excellent tonal quality of the instruments designed by him as well as his style of playing the instruments brings a rare musical experience to the listener.

Atanu Sengupta,West Bengal
He is a guitar virtuoso,what he's done for music till now ,is shows his greatness.

Subhasish Chakraborty,Kolkata(South)
when the music is concern "i feel good" when i here him.So he deserves it

Koustav Dey,Kolkata
He is the guy ,i think no one is closer to him to win this award

Ananya Roy,Bhopal,MP
We really look forward to Debashish Bhattacharya winning this award as undoubtedly he has carved a niche in today's Indian classical music.

Panchugopal Sikdar, Mirjapur,Bengal
Phataphati- that's overwhelming in Bengali.This man is ruling the dynasties of modern Hindustani classical instruments.

Nishad Pandey, Melbourne
Guruji is my teacher and has a very generous spirit apart from being an outstanding artist. He thoroughly deserves to win this award.

Tell us what you think:

Your Name and Location:

Your comment:

Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy