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 Indias 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. Ive 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 Gyans 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,its not jazz and similarly,just because there is overdrive,its 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 its 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 Indias 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 didnt 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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