A Note on the Music
Amit Chaudhuri is a trained and critically acclaimed singer in the North Indian classical tradition; he has received high praise for his singing from various newspapers and journals, including the Times of India, the Hindustan Times, Ananda Bazar Patrika and India Today. He learned singing from his mother, the well-known exponent of Tagore songs and devotionals, Bijoya Chaudhuri, and, extensively, from the late Pandit Govind Prasad Jaipurwale of the Kunwar Shyam gharana. He was then guided in Hindustani music by Pandit A. Kanan. He has performed at several venues, including the National Centre of Performing Arts, the Nehru Centre, and the World Social Forum, Bombay; the India International Centre and the India Habitat Centre, Delhi; the Dover Lane Music Circle, the Sangeet Research Academy, the Bhowanipore Sangeet Sammelan, the Seagull Arts and Media Resource Centre, the CIMA art gallery, and the Raj Bhavan, all in Calcutta; the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune; the Bengal Foundation, Dhaka; the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and the Nehru Centre, London; at the California Institute for Integrated Studies, San Francisco and at Columbia University, New York. HMV has released two cassettes of his singing, and recently brought out a selection of the khayals he’s sung on CD.
In 2004, he began to conceptualise a project in experimental music, ‘This is Not Fusion,’ which received great critical acclaim and an overwhelming response from the audience upon its inaugural performance in Calcutta on January 15, 2005. It has established Chaudhuri as one of India’s most internationally acclaimed experimental musicians. His first CD of experimental music, This Is Not Fusion (Times Music), was released in Britain on the award-winning independent jazz label, Babel Label, and got excellent reviews from some of the most considerable music publications in the UK. His second CD, Found Music, came out in October 2010 in the UK from Babel to huge acclaim and extensive coverage, and was released in India from EMI. It was an allaboutjazz.com Editor’s Choice of 2010.
He has been a featured artiste on flagship culture programmes on television and radio in the UK, including the Review Show (BBC 2) Late Junction (Radio 3), and Loose Ends (Radio 4). His version of ‘Summertime’ was featured on the BBC 4 television documentary, Gershwin’s Summertime: the Song that Conquered the World, alongside classic versions by Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin, Mahalia Jackson, Miles Davis and Ella Fitzgerald.
He is the only Indian musician to have performed twice at the prestigious London Jazz Festival. He’s played all over the world, including Berlin, Lille, Brussels, Frankfurt, Beijing, New York, Johannesburg, and at various venues in Britain – notably the Hay on Wye Festival, the Brecon jazz Festival, the Big Sky JazzFestival, the South Bank Centre, and several times at the legendary jazz club the Vortex, London.
His show, A Moment of Mishearing, recipient of a 25,000-pound Arts Council of England grant, mixing a live concert with film, premiered at Kings Place, London, in October 2012, and toured Britain in 2013. It was performed nationwide in India as part of the Park’s New Festival in Chennai, Bangalore, Bombay, Delhi, and Calcutta. It began life as a radio broadcast on Radio 3, BBC, where it was broadcast twice, the second time on Christmas Eve 2011.
“Calcutta-born singer Amit Chaudhuri’s follow-up to This Is Not Fusion (Babel, 2010) is another captivating and deeply idiosyncratic fusion/not fusion of Hindustani classical music, jazz, rock and blues… If you haven’t heard the band before, you’re in for a treat—dreamy raga-based discursions which incorporate the acid rock songbook, trumpeter Miles Davis’ modal legacy, Delta blues and retro Tin Pan Alley… A quirky, one-of-a-kind, little piece of magic.” Chris May, on www.allaboutjazz.com
“Occasionally, very occasionally, something arrives out of the clear blue sky that, because of its verve, daring, and chutzpah, so tickles your fancy that it double-take ripples into double-take. Found Music is one of those rarities…a series of soundscapes straight out of Chaudhuri’s imagination and his memory’s darker recesses…Just go with the flow.” Ken Hunt, Jazzwise magazine
“It’s a rich and provocative journey he’s taking us on… Inspirational… The world music scene is a much more interesting place with the presence of Amit Chaudhuri.” Peter Culshaw, **** Songlines