Presented in partnership with SOHARA
Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt
Vishwa Mohan Bhatt has mesmerized the world with the pristine, delicate, yet fiery sound of his Mohan Veena, an instrument that he personally created from the western slide guitar to produce the music of the plucked-stringed Indian classical instruments like the sitar, sarod, and veena.
By giving this instrument an evolutionary design and shape, and by his sheer artistry, Vishwa Mohan is able to incorporate two distinct styles of instrumental music from the masters and his Guru, Ravi Shankar (sitar) and Ali Akbar Khan (sarod), who played their instruments in a distinct idiom called “tantrakari ang,” literally meaning “the string player style,” and the masters of violin, flute, and sarangi to simulate the versatility of the human voice by following the “gayaki ang.”
Vishwa Mohan is also a highly regarded cross-over artist based on his numerous fusion and pan-cultural collaborations with Western musicians such as Taj Mahal, Béla Fleck, Jerry Douglas, and Ry Cooder. For their album A Meeting by the River, which is often hailed as a landmark of East-West classical fusion music, Vishwa Mohan and Ry Cooder won the Grammy Award in 1994 in the World Music category. In January 2017, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt was honored with the Padmabhushan, the third highest civilian award from the Government of India.
Vishwa Mohan Bhatt developed and named his hybrid slide guitar Mohan Veena. The Mohan Veena is a highly modified concord archtop, which Bhatt plays lap-style. It has nineteen strings; three melody strings and four three-drone strings coming out of the peg heads, and twelve sympathetic strings connected to tuners mounted to a piece of wood added to the side of the neck. The Mohan Veena is under tremendous tension; the total strings pull is in excess of 500 pounds. Due to this high tension, the tone turns incredible with the sympathetic ringing out and strengthening of each note played.
Pandit Subhen Chatterjee
Subhen Chatterjee’s tabla playing is based on the Lucknow Gharana, which he learned from maestro Pandit Swapan Chowdhury. He is a much sought after tabla accompanist who has performed and recorded with some of the best legendary musicians of our time. He has collaborated on the world music stage with Paul Horn (flautist) and David Crosby (of Crosby, Still, Nash & Young). His album Artistry was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2002, where he performed with Manilal Nag on sitar and Ramesh Mishra on sarangi.