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Every time Amyt Datta performs a guitar solo at a gig,music connoisseurs get up,raise their hands and bend forward as a mark of respect.

Written by Somya Lakhani | Published: June 14, 2012 4:14:09 am

Every time Amyt Datta performs a guitar solo at a gig,music connoisseurs get up,raise their hands and bend forward as a mark of respect. Some of India’s best bands gather around the stage when Datta is on the guitar — his eyes shut behind the dark glasses,his thin,nimble fingers creating magic on the strings,and a Zen-like expression on his face.

Part of pop-rock bands Skinny Alley and Pink Noise,the Kolkata-based guitarist inarguably enjoys the status of a guitar demigod in the country. The

52-year-old is releasing his debut solo album under the The Amyt Datta Project. Titled Ambience de Dance,the seven-track album will release in July. “Over the years,I have played different music and experimented with different styles. I’ve also been recording solo for 4-5 years. The album is a way of documenting this growth,” says Datta.

His chemistry with Jayashree,Gyan Singh and Monojit Datta (members of Skinny Alley and Pink Noise) is electrifying. “I have been friends with them for 30 years now. Jay and Gyan’s son,Jivraj,used to sit on my lap while we used to rehearse,he used to travel with us and carry my guitar around,” says Datta. Jivraj now accompanies him on the drums in Ambience de Dance.

Harmonically complex,with a sense of aggression,the album has tracks such as Ironic Bironic and Camellia. Innovative with his guitar style,Datta refuses to box his music in genres. “Just because there is saxophone involved,it’s not jazz and similarly,just because there is overdrive,it’s not rock,” he explains. Till date,Datta practices for hours alone and then plays with the band. “Many people ask me why do I practice so much. Am I trying to improve? The fact is that I have an intense love affair with the six-stringed sweetheart — it’s mellow and unconditional,” he says.

While talking,Datta often

becomes nostalgic about his journey as a bored and sad 13-year-old who picked up the guitar to kill time,to being part of Shiva,one of India’s most popular bands in the ’70s and ’80s. In 2001,he scored an album deal with music giants EMI as part of Skinny Alley — a first for an Indian indie band that sang in English. “It was a milestone for us and indie music. But from there,it didn’t go anywhere for indie music,” he says. He reminisces about the time when concert venues were popular in Kolkata,even though there was no food or beer. “In the ’70s,bands like High were huge hits. It was only about music,” he adds.

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