India's guitar maestro takes classical music to new places

India's guitar maestro takes classical music to new places


 Indian guitar maestro Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt (left) with his son Salil V Bhatt before a rare concert in London on Sunday. IANS

"It's really a fusion of the east and the west in one instrument," Bhatt said.
"Innovation is very necessary. If you continue to think like we have done for 500 years, music will not evolve.
"And both technology and thinking have to evolve - a bit like the 12 megapixel cameras that we have today."
Bhatt is in London to give a rare one-off concert with his son Salil, a celebrated player of the Satvik veena, an instrument that is similar to his father's.
Much like his guru and sitar maestro Ravi Shankar did decades ago, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, is taking Indian classical music to entirely new places.
Having won a Grammy for his album "A Meeting by the River" with American slide guitarist Ry Cooder in 1994, Bhatt has appeared in guitar festivals alongside British rock legend Eric Clapton and American blues giants B.B. King and Taj Mahal.
"My aim is to maintain the purity of tradition while bringing in innovation and experiments. This allows me to set my own trend," Bhatt said on Sunday ahead of the concert being organised by the London-based NoteAsia.
"Music is like dressing a statue. I want to touch every corner of the raga - no corner should be left untouched."
Bhatt describes his Mohan veena as a "very modern instrument" - he introduced 12 sympathetic strings below the main playing strings in the manner of many Indian instruments, alongside technical innovations that make it an extremely versatile instrument.
Having attracted Western students such as the Canadian folk musician Harry Manx and American bassist Matt Malley of Counting Crows, the Mohan veena is now set to become a standard of the Indian classical instrumental repertoire.
"I only wish I had more time to teach," said Bhatt, who appears in around 20 concerts every month.
Son Salil - a virtuoso instrumentalist - plans to carry the tradition forward by taking regular music classes in London.
"My father has shown the path, and I have to light up the same path," said Salil Bhatt.

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