Ushering in New Opportunities in Folk Music

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Eminent musician and composer Kaushik Dutta, who has taken Bengali folk music to the global audience, is all set to host India’s first and largest International conclave for folk musicians

 By Aiyushman Dutta

There is no end to learning, even for Kaushik Dutta, who has been involved in music business for over 30 years as performer, composer, sound engineer and sound designer. Dutta a multi instrumentalist has worked extensively with independent artists and musical groups. He has designed sound for ELAN (European Live Arts Network) scored music for innumerable dance theatre projects and 400 children at the festival of joy in Bangalore sang his compositions. He has composed for theatre, ad films, documentaries, and Bollywood feature films and also ran a recording studio. Renowned Bollywood playback singers like Kailash Kher, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Shreya Ghoshal and Shaan sang Dutta’s compositions. Besides music his passion remains documentary filmmaking. He has made documentaries on Ganga Sagar, Street Urchins and numerous social activities in West Bengal.

Dutta worked as a composer and musician for the world-class multilingual British production ‘A Mid Summer Night’s Dream’. He has toured extensively and performed at over 300 shows abroad. Besides conducting workshops for differently abled children and special needs schools, he has participated in many collaborative projects, seminars and panel discussions including the jazz master class series organized by the National Arts Centre, Ottawa in collaboration with Manhattan School of Music, USA. He was also invited as a visiting tutor at the London Roundhouse, UK and Singapore Music Academy. Dutta was invited to Judge the Inter school drama competition (2013) and was also a workshop trainer for annual inter school drama festival 2014-15 both organised by the British Council.

He has been a regular speaker and panel member for international meets which includes, ‘Live Singapore’ a conference on performing arts (2011/12), ‘IOMMA’ (Indian Ocean Music Market), Reunion Island (2013/2015/2016/2017), ‘BWME’ (Borneo World Music Expo, Malaysia,(2013/14), ‘APAMM’ (Asia Pacific Music Market, Ulsan, South Korea), (2013/14), ‘Seoul Music Week ‘(2016/17/18), ‘MMVV’ (Mercat Musica Vive De Vic, Spain 2016) , ‘Talinn Music Week’ (Estonia, 2017), ‘Showcase Scotland’ (Scotland, 2014/15), ‘Trans Asia Music Market’ (Okinawa, 2017), ‘Focus Galicia’ (Spain, 2016), ‘Visa for Music’ (Morocco, 2017), ‘WOMEX’ (Spain/Poland 2016/2018), Musiconnect TransCanada (2018), ACC world Music Festival, Korea (2018). He was one of the jury members for Jazz in Seoul in 2016.

In the 90’s he founded Song of Soul, an NGO and since then have been working extensively with folk musicians around the world. He is the founder and Artistic Director of the ‘Kolkata International Music Festival’. In the past six years the festival has supported more than 1700 distressed folk musicians of India and featured 158 international musicians from 27 countries. This festival is probably the only festival in India that has covered more than eighty rare folk music and dance forms from all over India.

In 2017 he was appointed as one of the Vice Presidents of GloMMnet (Global Music Market Network) and a judge for the 3rd Asia World Music Awards. Dutta has been instrumental in launching ‘Musiconnect Asia’, a platform to bring together the Asian music fraternity under one umbrella. He is presently the acting Chairman of this forum, which was launched at the WOMEX, Poland in 2017.

Dutta, is planning to launch ‘India Music Meet’ first and largest of its kind, international music event in India, where leading arts professionals from all over the world and India will participate in discussions workshops mentoring sessions, which will help create an international market for the independent musicians of India. This international music conference and festival will bring together important names from the international festival and music circuit, including international artistes, international press, record labels, international talent recruiters, renowned International music consultants from over 25 countries across the world and local musicians under one roof. The event would be a calendar event and publicized across the globe. India Music Meet will be an alternative outlet for the independent musicians who face roadblocks while aspiring to travel beyond boundaries.

An extension of this endeavor has lead him to delve into international artist management through his entity, SOS Productions, having successfully executed a few international projects in France, Poland, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea among others.

Art, culture and music are the manifestations of the ties that bind people to one another and they constitute rich artistic and community resources, which are frequently forgotten. For decades Dutta has been relentlessly trying to connect people from around the world. His career has taken him through a variety of unique and wonderful experiences that have pushed the envelop for his work through meeting new people, new music and new ideas. Dutta is always looking for the elements that are needed to spark a new collaboration to life.

Kaushik Dutta living in the southern fringes of Kolkata, despite his immense international popularity prefers to lead a simple unassuming life.