x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Indian classical musician Ranajit Sengupta to play in Abu Dhabi

Saeed Saeed talks to the Indian classical musician Ranajit Sengupta about using music for good and the importance of preserving tradition.

When people were attempting to flee Syria, Ranajit Sengupta was on his way to the country.

The Indian classical musician performed a special March show in Damascus, an experience that remains fresh in his mind.

"My family was very scared, but they offered me security and promised to look after me," he says. "It was a good time and I really believe music can help to spread peace and I tried to do that in my own way."

Sengupta's next journey is a much safer one.

Skilled in playing the sarod - a stringed instrument used for Indian classical music - he is set to perform at Abu Dhabi's Embassy of India Auditorium tomorrow with a set dedicated to classical Indian music.

This will mark a change of pace for Sengupta, who has an equally prolific career as a world music artist, collaborating with musicians from Europe including Germany's Big Band Orchestra.

Sengupta says he enjoys the freedom of experimenting with international groups because it showcases his instrument's dexterity.

During an Abu Dhabi performance last year, he had a musical duel with a German oud player.

"I enjoy these kind of projects because it excites me," he says. "It allows me to discover my own sound in music that is not traditional."

However, it is not only the prospect of bigger crowds that has Sengupta returning periodically to traditional musical terrain.

Named as an "A Grade Artist" by All India Radio - an honour bestowed upon those with supreme technical skills - Sengupta views his traditional performances as much as a duty as a thrill.

"It is a big honour and it is my responsibility to keep my tradition going," he says. "This is why I keep travelling. I have shows in Europe and America later this year and I'm happy to perform songs from my tradition anywhere and all over the world."

Ranajit Sengupta will play at the Embassy of India Auditorium tomorrow at 7pm. Indian Embassy, Al Safarat, Abu Dhabi. For further details, call 050 429 5293.