Soumik Datta, the virtuoso Sarod player, has performed with several leading international musicians that includes Jay-Z, Anoushka Shankar, Bill Bailey, Talvin Singh, Beyonce Knowles, Nitin Sawhney, Joss Stone and Shankar Mahadevan, to name a few. Soumik’s sarod renditions have adorned soundtracks of various films and albums by Nitin and Jocelyn Pook.
Soumik is considered to be an emerging Sarod exponent in the West. The British-Indian composer has won accolades for reintroducing this ancient Indian instrument to global audiences. Last year saw Saumik perform as a soloist. He held the world’s maiden contemporary sarod concert and also rescored the immensely popular soundtrack of Satyajit Ray’s Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
Soumik is a self-confessed fan of 1990s dance music. He grew up in Kolkata, Mumbai and London. It was only when he was 14 that he stumbled upon his grandmother’s old sarod. He never knew that it would be a life-changing moment. He trained under the legendary Buddhadev Das Gupta, while completing his post-graduation at a London music school. He hit bulll’s eye with his debut album Fretless and went to perform in classical concerts. He also started collaborating with other artistes.
Soumik’s latest album, titled Anant, is a tribute to Rabindranath Tagore on the bard’s Nobel Prize winning centenary. Veteran lyricist Javed Akhtar has translated some Tagore songs to Bengali for the album. The original composition has been retained in all the translated songs, with traditional music arrangement followed by the likes of KL Saigal and Pankaj Mallick, who opened up Rabindra Sangeet to a pan-Indian audience. Vogue has dubbed Soumik as one of the biggest new music talents in Britain.
The ace sarod player has formed his own label Soumik Datta Arts. He releases his music only under his label.
--- Prabuddha Neogi