I am Sabyasachi (Rahul) Bhattacharya, based in Melbourne, Australia and I play the sarod primarily in the style of the legendary Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, whose has been my original inspiration and teacher in my sarod journey. I have also imbibed external influences on my playing, primarily from the Imdadkhani/Etawah school of sitar playing. I commenced my musical training at the age of 5 , moving to advanced vocal training in the ancient city of Varanasi (Benares). I briefly trained in western classical guitar for a few years. I moved to the sarod in the early 90s, adapting my vocal training to the instrument. Recently, I have also sought training in the Shahjahanpur style of sarod via sitar virtuoso Pt Sugato Nag (senior disciple of Shahjahanpur doyen Pt. Buddhadeb Dasgupta) and also continue to receive guidance from sitar maestro Ustad Shahid Parvez.
I believe that Hindustani Music is something to be experienced, not analysed. I call it a soul- soaking – I love music which allows me to close my eyes and allow my heart and soul to be drenched in the colour of the sound. My ideal musicians are Ustad Amir Khan, Ud Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ustad Vilayat Khan, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and Ustad Shahid Parvez as their music displays a sense of balance – despite their tremendous technique, they use it only to enhance their musical poetry.
I am acutely aware of the demands of concert playing on musicians. In a concert, people expect a spectacle – there is often the urge to dazzle the audience with technique – the complex tihai, the convoluted taan, the superfast jhaala – these, while pleasing, impress the mind but do not touch the heart. I also place great emphasis on the clarity of sound from instrumental musicians, in particular the sarod. It is only recently that the sarod sound has been refined from earlier styles of wooden, muffled rabab style playing.
I am working to build up a vocal repertoire on the sarod . Vocal music is replete with masterpieces – take for example, the well known composition Eli Aali Piya Bina in Yaman – even the best instrumental compositions do not come close to the quality of this signature piece – why not play it on the sarod instead of settling for a lesser but more comfortable sarod composition?
The problem with playing vocal music on the sarod is that it is exceedingly difficult. Thanks to Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and his innovative techniques we can now dream of even attempting such a composition on the sarod – previously this was unheard of.
In terms of my non-musical credentials, I hold a Bachelors Degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) New Delhi and an MBA from Deakin University, Australia
I can be contacted via email at info at sarod.com.au or by leaving a comment on this site.