King of Ghosts

King of Ghosts

25 November 2016
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"Soumik Datta is one of the biggest new music talents in Britain”Vogue Magazine

"British Sarod Maestro”Time Out

Step into a cinematic world of fantasy adventure conjured by master storyteller and Honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement recipient Satyajit Ray, a giant of Indian cinema.

Follow the off-beat journey of Goopy Gyne and Bagha Byne, two musicians who are driven out of their villages for their mediocre talent and are granted three boons by the benevolent King of Ghosts: they can have all the food and clothes they want by clapping their hands; travel anywhere with the magical slippers they are granted; and render their audience immobile when they perform.

British sarod virtuoso and composer Soumik Datta revives Ray’s award-winning 1965 Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne with a reimagined score that features the haunting sounds of the sarod, Indian folk rhythms, and strings. With scenes from the film projected on a large screen, King of Ghosts takes you on an atmospheric, breathtaking journey through time and space, against the backdrop of a monochrome rural India.

Commissioned and toured by the Edinburgh Mela in 2014, King of Ghosts was composed by Datta, percussionist Cormac Byrne and Johannes Berauer. It has been toured to Glasgow, Inverness, Perth, Hong Kong and Malaysia. This performance at Kalaa Utsavam will be presented as a reduced version for string sextet, featuring musicians from the Orchestra of the Music Makers and Byrne on percussions.

Soumik Datta

Brought up in London, Soumik Datta has often been referred to as a British sarod maestro. While his speed and precision with the instrument often dazzle and delight, it is his ability to bring together the traditional and the modern that has made him one of the most acclaimed sarod players of his generation. Mercury Award winner Talvin Singh describes him as “Darjeeling tea meets Coca Cola”. Soumik was trained by Pandit Buddhadev Das Gupta and holds a master’s degree from London’s Trinity College of Music. He also plays the edorsa (electric sarod) and composes music for feature films. To date, he has collaborated with renowned figures in dance, music, and literature, such as Nitin Sawhney, Beyonce, Shankar Ehsaan Loy, Talvin Singh, Akram Khan and Javed Akhtar.

Soumik was last featured at Kalaa Utsavam 2012 in Sounds of Bengal, a travelogue film accompanied by live music, based on his travels across the Indian state of Bengal.

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