Uniquely, Amit Chatterjee is as respected as a sitarist playing Indian Classical Music as he is a guitarist playing jazz-oriented western music. This is even more interesting because he only plays pure Indian Classical Music (Hindusthani) on sitar, and choosing to not “cross over” into other genres. (His performances of “other” musics are restricted to guitar alone.)
His style on sitar is from the "gayaki ang" (vocal style), although somewhat different from the gayaki ang sitar that is prevalent today. Amit Chatterjee follows an approach or presentation where the sitar uses the actual path that the great vocalists use, their musical elements, as well as forms that the master singers have developed. In his sitar playing, one can hear the profound, introspective expressions of the singers, their elegance of pace and timing, and, when the time is right, their jubilant and spontaneous flights in high-speed and virtuosic forays.
The gayaki ang that Amit Chatterjee follows is not an "imitation" of vocal techniques on an instrument. It is about actually "singing" through the instrument, and adhering to the structures that are most appropriate for the great singers. This brings forth deep and heart-rendering expressions of this high art, moving listeners deeply and going beyond “entertainment.”
Amit Chatterjee's lineage in Hindusthani Classical Music is eclectic, having first learned from his Mother, a singer of the Patiala and Vishnupur gharanas. He later studied with different teachers of different lineages, finally settling on his personal and unique approach, which is somewhat influenced by the “instrument side” of the Mewati Gharana gayaki, whose most famous proponent is Ustad Rais Khan. However, Amit Chatterjee's presentation is based on being true to the music and Spirit, respecting ALL musicians and all lineages who have brought glory to the art.
Finally, Amit Chatterjee's presentations are based on the original reason for Indian Classical Music: as an offering to the Divine and a way of returning our Souls to the Supreme Soul. As stated by the great grandmaster of Indian Classical Music, the great sarodist Ustad Ali Akbar Khan: “Real Music is not for wealth, not for honors, or even the joys of the mind... but as a path for realization and salvation.”
“Singing instrumental music is most important
because while you play the instrument,
you are singing through the instrument...
actually, you are singing inside.” - Ustad Ali Akbar Khan
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