Does life have a purpose? Or is it meaningless, after all? The endgame varies, depending on whether you like to think of the glass as half full or half empty. As far as Bodhisattwa Ghosh, frontman of the eclectic Bodhisattwa Trio, is concerned, it’s always the former. “I believe I am a child of the universe. I was born for some reason and this is it. There can’t be any compromises,” he said, on the eve of their gig in the city. To Bodhisattwa, the beauty of existence is embedded in his music and the band has, since it was formed in 2012, dealt with its fair share of ups and downs.
“Everyday is a struggle to make ends meet. You have to cope on various levels: mentally, financially and psychologically. Yes, it’s hard, but when your heart is in something, you do what you have to do,” he remarked.
The trio features Ghosh as lead composer and guitarist, Premjit Dutta on drums and Arunava Chatterjee on keyboards & synth bass. They have two full-length albums under their belt and have several performances from across the globe to their credit. Together, they deliver a sound that transcends genre, blending harmonic and rhythmic expansion with thematic connection and improvisation”
Their first album Intersections, was released in 2014, their second, Heart of Darkness in 2016. The gig tonight is the Bengaluru chapter of what is currently an All-India tour, organised as they release their third album this year. They’re still keeping the title under wraps, though. The band has produced an album every two years – was that intentional? “Total coincidence,” Ghosh laughs. “This is the minimum length of time we need to work on our compositions and bring the entire sound into shape. If we rush things, the album won’t sound as it good as it should. On the other hand, if we take too long, we will lose momentum. Two years works just right for us!”
Heart of Darkness explored a personal sound rather and found much critical acclaim across the country. The upcoming album, says Ghosh, is decidedly more mainstream. It’s experimental modern jazz fusion nonetheless, for the band believes in expressing the range of human emotions. Their sound, therefore, is a mix of jazz, funk, drum-n-bass, Indian classical, rock and blues. At an international festival recently, Ghosh was told, much to his happiness, “Your music is very interesting. It’s Indian but it’s not, it’s jazz but it’s not, it’s rock but it’s not.” It’s a remark ghosh continues to cherish.
“I can’t stick to any traditional format as I haven’t been raised in that culture. It’s important to understand who you are, instead of trying to be someone else,” says Ghosh, who weaves together a fabric of sounds based on the many things he has learned over the years. The computer science graduate is a disciple of Indian guitar legend Amyt Dtta and remains in great awe of his master.
Premjit, whose connection with Ghosh goes a long way back, is a trained musician and certified drummer. Studying Latin American music from veteran conguero Monojit Datta, Premjit has been an integral part of Latin-Jazz band LOS AMIGOS with whom he performed across the country and abroad. In 2016, he was selected as one of the ten international talents all over the world.
As for Arunava, he has recently joined the trio giving them a distinct flavor of piano which makes their third album’s music different from the previous two. Known as Shonai to all his fellow musicians, is predominantly a contemporary and jazz pianist who has worked with several Jazz artists in India.
No matter what happens, they never miss a jam : it is through constant improvisation that they find their faith in a particular composition. “If we look back at the great, their life stories are so inspiring because they stuck to their dreams through thick and thin,” believes the trio that is consistently enlightening themselves with music and cultures to stay on the path of growth in life.
What: The Bodhisattwa Trio
When: Friday, May 25, 9 pm
Where: bFlat, Indiranagar
Price: Rs 499