The Great British Gharana – SAMYO: Pt Ranajit Sengupta Profile
Pandit Ranajit Sengupta – Guest Artist & Composer
The Great British Gharana: SAMYO
Saturday 23 March – Southbank Centre, London
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When SAMYO return to the stage in March, they will be joined by guest artist and composer, Pandit Ranajit Sengupta. Ranajit is a sarod artiste of the highest order but is also a well-loved musical mentor and composer who has frequently worked with our ensembles over the years. Ranajit has a long association with Milapfest. He originally became involved with us as a touring artist but, after being introduced to the orchestra manager at the time, decided to assist with a session taking place in London. He loved the experience and Milapfest were thrilled with Ranajit’s involvement and so a working relationship began that still exists to this day.
For Ranajit, his favourite thing about SAMYO is the way in which it brings both Hindustani and Carnatic musicians and styles together. Ranajit is a natural composer but embraced the challenge of writing pieces for the different instruments comprising the orchestra in order to create a new and unique sound. It is not only writing for SAMYO that Ranajit enjoys so much. He loves listening to them perform pieces by other composers to. The range of pieces SAMYO play from such a diverse cross-section of genres and musical backgrounds, makes each performance truly special. The introduction of the Indian voice choir, Sabrang, which Ranajit calls “a unique soundscape” only added to the excitement of working with the ensembles. His favourite part of the job is interacting with the ensemble members using this experience to inspire and add to his compositions. This is because Ranajit believes that “music not made, it is born”.
Ranajit spends his spare time away from composing, performing and teaching music… listening to music! His favourite classical musicians are Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Pandit Ravi Shankar, and Pandit Nikhil Banerjee, but his music taste extends beyond the genre for which he is known for. He also loves listening to R. D. Burman, Salil Chowdhury, Madan Mohan, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and Kieth Jarrett to name but a few. Whilst all these musicians have inspired Ranajit in some way, his own work is deeply personal. It represents his as, as he admits, “he finds himself whilst composing”. Unsurprisingly, some of SAMYO’s compositions that he enjoys most are his own – works such as Homage, Lullaby, Sarswati Vandana, and Tarangini – but he also likes Sunshine by Girishh Gopalakrishnan.
2019 marks Pandit Ranajit Sengupta’s 25th year of touring and performing around the world. He is thrilled that one of the ways he will be marking this achievement will be by taking to the stage alongside the talented young stars of SAMYO and Sabrang on Saturday 23 March at London’s Southbank Centre. We asked Ranajit what audiences could expect from this upcoming show. He simply replied “they will be surprised”.
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Ranajit performing with SAMYO in 2016