From Howrah to the lanes of London, Chiranjib Chakraborty’s vocals have been acclaimed by the audience far and wide.
His family, though not formally trained in music, had established ‘Anjali’ a music teaching institution. It was at this very institution that Chiranjib would start his musical learnings under acclaimed teachers like late Shyama Prasad Karmakar, Jatan Basu Majumdar, Lakshmi Nandi and Ajit Bandyopadhyay. It was later that Pandit Nidan Bandhu Bandhopadhyay would teach him the ragas in their purest traditional form.
“That the style of singing should reveal the finer characteristics of the raga was his main thrust. To teach this in depth, he trained me in Dhrupad and gave compositions from other gharanas as well,” said Chiranjib.
It was with his permission that Chiranjib went to Pandit Arun Bhaduri at Sangeet Research Academy. Here he pruned all his mannerisms and groomed in the systematic badhat of khayal gayaki.
Though he joined Shrutinandan as a teacher, he sought music lessons from the institute’s founder the great Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty.
“The most important lesson I learnt was the method of doing riyaaz. Panditji also guided me into blending the traditionalism with modern technical intricacy of music including the dynamics of voice-throw. His continuous thinking process to enhance vocalism impressed me the most,” recalled Chiranjib.
Taking his music to London
After he settled down in London, the great M. Balamuralikrishna taught him some of his unique compositions. These are part of Chiranjib’s musical personality and have subconsciously influenced his overall presentation.
“I feel blessed and privileged to have learnt from so many eminent musicians. I realise now that learning from several gurus has a great advantage and that helps to form a holistic view of music.” quipped Chiranjib.
Having learnt under Gurus from various gharanas has made Chiranjib proficient in Indian classical and light classical music. His blending of the vocal styles of the Rampur, Gwalior and Patiala gharanas has been appreciated globally. His ability to control the sur and tala have drawn him a lot of praise. Chiranjib has up-skilled his style in various forms of Indian Classical vocals from Dhrupad to Khayal to Thumri.
“My passion and love is Khayal style of gayaki. I find it the most imaginative genre where I get the freedom of expression,” quipped Chiranjib.
“In Indian classical music, raga is the main character. We try to visualise the raga through the notes. We establish the mood of the raga through the compositions in a definite tala”
In Indian Classical Music, vocals is the primary element of any presentation. The raga and tala are expressed through one’s voice which has some inner elements that come from the heart. For this reason, many instrumentalists also train in vocal music to understand the nuances of the raga.
“The emotions of the lyrics can be portrayed much better through voice than instruments,” opined Chiranjib.
Teaching Indian Classical vocals
After moving to London, Chiranjib has been performing and teaching Indian Classical vocals across Europe. He has also worked with Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, London as a lecturer. A believer in the authenticity of the art, he teaches his students in the traditional format. This not only involves vocal training but also the mannerisms of riyaaz and taalim. Chiranjib is upbeat with the interest in Indian Classical Music among the younger generation.
“This generation values the importance of receiving training in this form of music as a basis to becoming competent singers in any genre. They are training seriously to become successful and good performers,” opined Chiranjib.
After having fulfilled his dream of becoming an Indian Classical musician, Chiranjib plans to spread this art globally. Though he considers his art as the best, he supports experimentation with Indian Classical Music. He feels this will help the art become more appealing to a wider audience.
“I am proud that I represent the most traditional form of Indian music and my biggest motive would be to spread this art form around the world. Indian classical music forms the perfect medium of spread peace and harmony and in day to day life. It provides an excellent background for meditation,” opined Chiranjib.