Unbounded: Sitar maestro Purbayan Chatterjee takes us on a global musical journey

Hardik Joshi | BeatCurry Team

Music has long been categorised into traditional and modern styles. Some of the music composed today would not have been considered as music a decade ago. But as everything in the world, evolution is a process through which music has been and will always undergo. What is termed ‘classical’ today will at some point evolve into being termed as ‘contemporary,’ and this applies to all genres of music. The old guard of Indian classical music has been a staunch opponent to this eventual change.

As the major education today is an oral tradition unlike its western counterpart, there have been new ways to document and preserve our rich heritage. The generation today listens to new and upcoming global sounds, and to have them appreciate and experience our heritage, we need to take a contemporary path.

One of the staunchest supporters of taking this path to ensure Indian classical music’s survival and growth is the Sitar maestro Purbayan Chatterjee. Hailing from the Senia Maihar Gharana and a disciple of legends like Ustad Ali Akbar Khan and his father Parthapratim Chatterjee, he is viewed as one of the finest sitar players of his generation. Purbayan has often bridged diverse musical worlds in his music and terms it as an amalgamation of his daily experiences, learning and upbringing.

To attain his musical goal of uniting divergent world soundscapes, Purbayan founded ‘Sufiscore’ in 2020. The media company was started not as a conventional record label but has quickly become a significant force in the production and distribution of South Asian music. Through Sufiscore, Purbayan aims to produce albums featuring legends and upcoming stars who shall explore the global fusion ‘musicverse’.

With collaboration at their heart, Purbayan and various co-collaborators will take the listener on an inspiring auditory journey through their new album, Unbounded – Abaad. The album reflects not just his mastery of Indian classical music, but also portrays his love story with jazz and his inquisitive approach to music of all kinds, blending a wealth of colours from master musicians around the world.

In words of Purbayan Chatterjee,

“I am trying to create a sound that appeals to the greater diaspora, incorporating the nuances of Western harmony along with the embellishments and ornaments of Indian music in terms of my playing, my phrasing, my thinking.”


On the first single from the album ‘Shanmukhapriya – The Mystic’, the sitar maestro is joined by global masters like acclaimed drummer Antonio Sanchez, Snarky Puppy bassist Michael League and percussionist and Kanjira master Selvaganesh. Based on the Carnatic raga, 56th Melakarta which is considered to have that special power to evoke divinity, Chatterjee chose the single for the same reason to open the seven-track album. Sung by one of the best vocalists in India Shankar Mahadevan, the track explores the devotional element of Carnatic music in a post-modern Latin-Jazz soundscape. It also features the talented Nakul Chugh on keyboards, the mandolin master U. Rajesh, Indonesian native guitarist Aleif Hamdan and the string collective of cellist Emanuel Keller, violist Anna Stromer and violinist Bengisu Gökçe.


Reflecting on the song Purbayan said,

“This piece has a chant-like quality to it and many of its language-less chorus lines are like sacred chants. I wanted to start this album on this note.”


“It is like the entire universe was created out of the hum of the ‘music of the spheres’. This album is a quest for a common musical consciousness which strings together many musical sensibilities into one pulse.”


‘Unbounded – Abaad’ will be released on the UK-based South Asian-focused music platform and label Sufiscore and will be available worldwide on September 10 2021.


You can listen to ‘Shanmukhapriya – The Mystic’ and pre-save the album here ( Hyperlink: )


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