From Medieval to Modern; a master of the Indian mandolin

Snehasish Mozumder

A simple black coffee helped shake off any tiredness he may have felt from his 10 hour trip from London Heathrow to Leeds, and on to The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. A quiet and relaxed entry onto the stage, an ultra-fast sound check and set up with his colleague Kousic Sen made the Barbirolli Room ready for the afternoon concert at Milapfest, and Snehasish Mozumder ready to share his music and instrument with us.

On Saturday 23rd November, we welcomed a unique artist, Snehasish Mozumder, to Milapfest, after a gap of almost 10 years. It was a really happy reunion, giving us the chance to enjoy this rare display of Hindustani Classical Music on an instrument which is common to many genres of the world. Performing with Kousic Sen, he performed Raga Basant Mukhari in the first half, and a beautiful Ragamala after the interval.

Bringing a western, or “global” instrument to Indian Classical music, it has been interesting to see how Snehasish adapted it for the very unique style of classical music. We also enjoyed his relaxed and calm approach to his profession, and he beautifully explained his instrument to the audience at the start of the concert. During the afternoon, I chatted to Snehasish Mozumder about his career, music and his instrument, and you can hear his words in a 2 part interview below.

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(R) Kousic Sen with Snehasish Mozumder

(L) Kousic Sen finds a photo of a previous Milapfest concert in the Charles Halle Room

The mandolin, like the Indian Sarod, comes from the lute family of instruments, and is believed to have originated in Italy, emerging from a medieval version of the instrument, and developing more from the 17th and 18th centuries onwards. Just as the guitar and violin have adapted so well in Indian music, the mandolin has moulded very well to the improvised slides and “bends” of Indian classical music. Sarod maestro and Samyo & Tarang Composer Pt Ranajit Sengupta started first playing mandolin as a child, before moving to guitar and then later Sarod too. Currently, mandolin is also prevalent in orchestration in film scores in India too, though not played in a classical format. In Carnatic music, U Srinivas is a well known adopter of mandolin, who has adapted his style of playing in many classical, fusion and world music concerts around the world.

In the short interviews below, Snehasish Mozumder talks of how he adopted mandolin for his art, created a double fret mandolin, and how he plays a variety of concerts in many contexts, particularly in India and the USA.


 

 

You can find out more about Snehasish Mozumder on his website and find out about more our Milapfest concert in Liverpool on Saturday 30th November 2013.

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