A true-blue fusion artiste personality

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  • Published 20.01.05

Dipak Sarma

As you enter the portico of flutist Dipak Sarma?s house, the portrait of his guru, Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia, greets you. A look around his drawing room leaves little doubt about his passion, if not his profession. A huge painting of various musical instruments hangs from his drawing room wall.

One of the most talented upcoming new stars of the bamboo flute in the country speaks with immense harmony.

?I enjoy travelling to various places with my music, and at present I am preparing for my forthcoming tour all over the Northeast along with my Indo-European group Mito to collect funds for tsunami relief in our own way,? smiles the flautist.

Born in Panigaon in Nalbari district of Assam, Dipak discovered a natural inclination towards flute since childhood. With no musical lineage behind him, Dipak learned music and the art of playing the flute from scratch.

?During my initial days as a flautist, when I had no guru to guide me, I was an avid listener of the recital of any musical instrument performed on stage or radio,? he recounts.

?The urge to learn more and more every day grew in me and there was a time when I could not even spend a second without trying new ragas in the flute.?

He did his matriculation from Bangaon School near his hometown. The turning point in his life came when he got admitted to Gauhati Commerce College and started taking flute lessons from his guru Prabhat Sarma.

Guidance under my first guru, Prabhat Sarma, was my first step towards the vast ocean of music, and each day under his guidance I quenched my thirst and I started evolving, understanding various nuances of the instrument,? he said.

After graduation, he moved to Calcutta to hone his talent. He took admission at the Rabindra Bharati University and under the guidance of Debu Banerjee he got his Masters degree in music.

?Prabhat Sarma, Debu Banerjee and the great guru Hari Prasad Chaurasia, everyone gave me new directions to sharpen my skill and along with their invaluable suggestions and encouragement, I am still continuing.?

Known as the most globe-trotting artiste from Assam, every year he performs twice in Europe. His first foreign tour was in South Africa, sponsored by the Indian Council of Cultural Relationship (ICCR). He was one of the members of Assam Kala Kendra and gave solo performance on the 50th anniversary celebration of India?s Independence in South Africa, Seychelles, Mauritius and Reunion island which was organised by the ICCR in 1998 in South Africa.

During one of his sojourns to Europe where he, along with his Indian friend Subrata Manna, the renowned tablist jammed together to produce music of excellence with vibraphonist Ralf Kamphuis and guitarist Torge Niemann from Hamburg, Germany, with whom they had already played before.

The four awesome musicians took great delight in the experience of their musical heritages, which at the same time brilliantly blends. Thus was founded the group, Mito, in the late summer of 2000.

?Later on guitarist Martin Dress joined us and the five of us play fusion music from around the world in different places of the globe,? he says.

?The five of us share a great relationship, although most of the time we stay apart but when we meet we sit together and countless hours are spent in doing experiments to produce unique creation with music from both parts of the world.?

Apart from global performance enthralling the audience with unique melody of India, played in the tunes of flute, Sarma at present is a regular graded artist of All India Radio and Doordarshan Kendra, Guwahati.

He has performed at Assam Sangeet Sanmilan in Mumbai and various others in India.

Says his guru Parbhat Sarma, ?I am proud of Dipak, he translates his unique power into amazing precision and has successfully carried the legacy of his land to different parts of the world.?

?And what else a guru can ask for from his disciple as guru dakshina and Dipak showers us with gifts all the time.?

Sarma has also participated in youth festivals in various parts of India as an artiste and has not only taken the audience to divine height of peace and tranquillity but has also won accolades from his fans and admirers. He has won numerous gold medals at various youth festivals. Sarma recently took part in two consecutive workshops conducted by Ustad Ali Akbar Khan in Rabindra Bharati University.

?My philosophy is to carry on my reyaz. No matter where my performance takes me, whether Greece or Italy. Every day I sit for regular reyaz, my homework if we want to call it,? he says.

?The day I will stop learning, my growth will be restricted at the very next moment, and I want to carry on with my music till my last breath.?

He has composed on innumerable occasions, both vocal and instrumental compositions for radio and Doordarshan and stage. He has also directed music for several audio cassettes, documentary films, television serials and feature films.

?Music direction is another aspect of my association with music, but I had never nurtured the dream of becoming a music director. This is perhaps an extension of my musical journey,? he says.

?I address my music as world music, where there is a amalgamation of jazz, European, Greek, Latin, American and of course, the soothing Indian classical music,? he says.

?Everywhere, along with Indian classical music, I perform Bihu, folk song, Biya Namm and Borgeet, and there perhaps lie my interest and forte.?

His music is a manifestation of his love for the flute and that perhaps translates itself into the ethereal notes that have won him admirers across cultures.