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A Chromatic Journey - By Sukanta Ghoshal

This moment, I just want to pause, take a deep breath and capture the entire journey of my life into a film celluloid and slowly rewind from where I began till what I am now. We all take birth with a handful of seeds, that add special skill to our life. For many of you, who are curious to know about my musical journey, let me tell you that, a lush fertile field for my life was already readied and laid down by my family, before I chose to sow my share of seeds for Music.


I am happy I made this choice since it led to an enchanting love towards the chromatic harmonica. Born in Shibpur, Howrah in 1970, I was brought up in a rich musical environment. My dad being a disciple in tabla of the great Pt. Jnan Prakash Ghosh – informal musical sessions at home were common. What’s more - My aunt used to be a professor at the Rabindra Bharati University, and an aura of Rabindra Sangeet was surrounding around me. These combined musical factors thus had a profound effect on my life from the childhood days which later blossomed into beautiful garden of melody.

While in college, at the time when I was a first-year undergraduate student, I was fascinated with a senior, playing chromatic harmonica. I then started out as a self-taught guy on a ‘Tower’ and even did a couple of shows that way! But soon decided to learn the instrument formally, and started doing so from Premangshu Chatterjee, back in 1991.

I remember very well, the first 6-7 months went smoothly, as I sincerely worked on my musical assignments. Harmonica by then, had captured my mind completely! But from mere fascination to the instrument, the interest grew to insightful learning. In a song, ‘Pathe Ebaar Naamo Saathi’ when I stumbled upon some difficult note progressions for the first time, I discovered that this tiny instrument revealed its limitless power hidden in its small body.

The learning further went on fine and I got myself my first ‘Hohner Super Chromonica’ in 1992. In 1994 came an important juncture when I became a disciple of the great Milon Gupta! Unfortunately, Milon Gupta died in February 95 – and I continued learning though from his daughter Mummun Gupta. By this time, I had become quite adept at reading music on the go.

In 1995, I started learning harmonica from the great Parimal Dasgupta, who is considered a legendary musician, composer and arranger in the Calcutta music circuit. Dasgupta being a learned man and a scholar of music in his own right, I started learning the technicalities and nuances of music from him and began to acquire maturity in terms of technique and theory. It was Dasgupta who also taught concepts of harmony and double stops in the 3rd and the 6th!


The year, 1995 proved to be a turning point in my harmonica career in more respect! It was this year that I surpassed 65 competitors to snatch the winner’s trophy in both ‘Light Indian’ and ‘Rabindra Sangeet’ categories – in a competition organized by the IHA (Indian Harmonica Association) in memory of the Late Milon Gupta. What’s more – I was also selected as a grade artiste at the All India Radio! And ever since there has been no looking back!



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The shows on AIR and selective public performances got me closer to the general public. This also helped in creating more harmonica lovers in return. I fondly remember a show in 2006 at the CCFC grounds in Kolkata where I had to play 25 songs at a stretch in a show spanning over 2 hours for which I received overwhelming response from the audience.

This love from the people across the nation wide keeps me motivated and also further enhances my joy in music.


As a musician, I have always been inspired greatly by the compositions of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore and Salil Chowdhury – and of course by the playing of the great musicians such as Larry Adler and Milon Gupta. “I have listened to ‘Salil Chowdhry Hits’ by Milon Gupta more than 200 times!”.


Since 2000, I have been engaged - as a faculty at Banichakra, Kolkata –which has helped in nurturing fresh minds to take the art forward! It was my desire to reach out to all the harmonica aspirants from different nooks of the world. The power of harmonica must be known to all. Mr. Rohit Sahay the founder member of ‘Harp brothers’ has enabled this opportunity by providing a common platform on social media to learners at different levels. As a ‘Core Instructor’ for this group, I sense a fulfilment when I am provided with facility to reach out to nearly 700 learners from across the world who are either learning or connected with my teaching of harmonica.


The art of playing chromatic harmonica involves a deep technique. The mastery over speed, executing difficult and fast note progressions in a crisp manner, the vocal inflections and nuances in a song and bringing into instrumental form by challenging to equate the vocal touch in a song, playing within unique rhythm patterns, and most importantly the ‘feel’ of the song. It takes years long of ‘Tapasya” to attain these skills. But with the guidance of a right Guru and sincere efforts will make it certainly attainable. My life will be more fruitful when I am able to create not only a clan of Harmonica lovers but also guide the learners.


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3 commenti


TANU SHREE
TANU SHREE
01 feb 2021

Sir how can i learn harmonica from u. I live in kanpur.

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Sushil Goyal
Sushil Goyal
22 gen 2021

Sukanta Ghosh Ji, Namaskar.Love your harmonica journey and its milestones. It was motivating for me. I belong to Punjab where there are not many lovers of this instrument. I am a senior citizen and picked up my harmonica after 45 yrs during the lockdown stretch. I practiced as instructed by some versatile harmonica players on Youtube. Now, I can play notes on the chromatic harmonica with the facility, also can I play some Bollywood songs. But I don't know its subtleties. I am interested to learn further about its techniques and advanced lessons. What should I do now? My next step? Your guidance will be heartily appreciated. Regards.

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Raja
Raja
22 gen 2021

Mr. Sukanta is really a master of chromatic harmonica and we are glad that we are getting techniques and lessons from him.


Love HarpBrothers. ❤️🥂

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