A strain of Calcutta at Grammy 2003 - Album by three city musicians nominated for World Music Group awards

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  • Published 13.11.02

Peter Gabriel has won it and so has Ravi Shankar. Now, it’s the turn of three city musicians to take a crack at the coveted World Music category of the Grammy Awards.

Yes, there will be a touch of Calcutta at Grammy 2003, with an album featuring Pandit Monilal Nag on sitar, Pandit Ramesh Mishra on sarangi and Subhen Chatterjee on the tabla being nominated for Category 70 (World Music Album — Group) at the 45th edition of the awards. Artistry, recorded live in Kansas City in June 2001, has made the cut for its ‘recording package (quality of music and presentation), album notes and album engineering’.

“I was absolutely elated when I got the information through a faxed message from our label, Rhyme Records of New York City, on Sunday night,” says Chatterjee. The concert, organised by the ethno-musicology department of Kansas University, was recorded, mixed and mastered digitally on the 24-bit/96khz format and released last month.

“For the first time, three eminent artistes of Indian classical genre have performed together in a live concert on sitar, sarangi and tabla,” says the nomination release from the Grammy awards committee forwarded by Rhyme Records. Artistry contains raga Rageshree, a track on folk themes and a kirtan.

“This was an experimental project for me, since I was playing alongside a sarangi-player for the first time. I think this unique combination of a plucking instrument and a bow instrument won us the nomination, which is a huge honour. This is a proud moment for Calcutta, since all three musicians in this album are from here,” says Nag, recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award last year.

“The atmosphere at the university auditorium was electric and the audience seemed spiritually swayed by the magic of the music,” recalls daughter Mita Nag, who played the tanpura that evening.

Chatterjee, who performed with David Crosby of Crosby, Stills & Nash fame at Woodstock Revisited in 1999, besides playing with the likes of jazz legends Paul Horn and Keith Jarrett, is equally kicked about the Grammy nomination. “The entire concert was improvised and all three of us had a great time, complementing one another. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for February,” smiles the 42-year-old tabla player.