Dr. Soma Ghosh – Interview

Dr. Soma Ghosh
Dr. Soma Ghosh

Hindustani shastriya sangeet exponent, ‘Dr. Soma Ghosh’, also called the Gandharva Kokila (by the Rotary Club of Bombay Sea Coast) and KashiKokila (by Ustad Bismillah Khan), is an exceptional exponent of music in the field of Indian classical singing in India. She is the daughter of freedom fighter, Shri Manmohan Chakravarty and the adopted daughter of veteran artist, Ustad Bismillah Khan, an Indian musician credited with popularizing the shehnai, a sub continental wind instrument of the oboe class.

Dr. Soma Ghosh’s – Early Life:

A literature graduate from Benaras Hindu University, Dr. Ghosh mastered in Music and completed her Doctorate in Khayal. Under Bageshwari Devi she specialized in the genres that typify Benaras singing, namely Thumri, Tappa, Hori, Chaiti, Kajari, Dadra and Ghazal.

Associated in her style with the Gwalior Gharana giant Pt Omkarnath Thakur through his principle disciple Dr Chittaranjan Jyotishi, Dr. Ghosh started her journey in Hindustani music under her mother, Smt Archana Chakravarty and Pt Narayan Chakravarty of Senia Gharana. Before she was 13 years old, she had the singular distinction of completing her ‘Sangeet Prabhakar’ and was groomed in the traditional Benaras Gharana by Late Bageshwari Devi and Pt. Narayan Chakravarty. Her recitals make for a great blending and combination of playful expressions from Gwalior Gharana and throwing of Senia Gharana.

Dr. Soma Ghosh- Concerts:

The very first concert of Dr Soma Ghosh in Mumbai mesmerized listeners with her fine pliable voice that enables her to take the Taar Saptak without a falsetto note, as much as the shades of emotion brought in through a sensuous stress on the words of Thumri. Dr. Ghosh’s recitals on platforms ranging from the Parliament and Rashtrapati Bhavan to Sabhas and Conferences across India & abroad have been unfailingly well received and felicitated. When the Swarangana Lalit Kala Kendra of Banaras conferred on her the title of ‘Kashi Kokila’, the distinction put a seal on the vocal heritage she was mentored in by a line of maestros starting with Shehnai Samrat Bismillah Khan.

Dr. Ghosh has had the opportunity to perform Jugalbandi (duet) with Ustad Bismillah Khan five times, two of which were at the Rashtrapati Bhavan and one at The Parliament of India.  She is the first woman to ever perform in The Parliament of India where she was facilitated twice – once by Hon. Dr.A.P.J.Kalam, Smt. Sonia Gandhi & Shri Jaswant Singh and again in 2010 by Hon. Smt Pratibha Patil.

Dr. Soma Ghosh also organises a series of Parampara concerts to help conserve the Indian culture through music.  She presents the Indian Classical music in a way which is more appealing to the younger generation and the modern day audience but yet retaining the heritage. Parampara 2006 was inaugurated by the then President of India Hon. Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and attended by the then Chief Minister Late Shri Vilasrao Deshmukh along with other ministers  like Shri S.M. Krishna and Shri R.R. Patil.

Dr. Soma Ghosh has performed at four concerts in Fiji in 2013 which was organised by the Indian High Commission and Fiji National University where she presented Indian classical music along with tribal dancers and Fijian folk and was later invited to teach at Fiji National University as the Head of Department of Music.

Dr. Soma Ghosh – NGO – Madhu Murchhana

Dr. Ghosh’s NGO, Madhu Murchhana, has organised six ‘Darbari Mehfil’ concerts for the revival of ancient court mehfils where she has had the honour to perfom with Bharat Ratna Bhimsen Joshi, Bharat Ratna Bismillah Khan and Pt. Birju Maharaj.

Madhu Murchhana dedicatedly works to support ailing musicians from humble backgrounds who need help to pursue their dreams. This has helped several rising talents who belong to traditional Gharanas. MadhuMurchhana gives ‘Sanmans’ to legendary musicians of the various Gharanas through Shraddhanjali Programs. The NGO also focuses on saving the endangered musical instruments by giving them a platform and encouraging people to play the dying instruments.

Dr. Soma Ghosh – In Present:

Dr. Ghosh has focused her creative energies by organizing musical soirees and events through Bhavanjali, Varanasi, which has helped to bring into focus rising talents. In recent times, Dr. Ghosh has focused her creative energy in hosting musical events through Madhu Murchhana and helping needy & ailing musicians.

Dr. Soma Ghosh has released 22 Cds till date. In one of her Cds, on his request, she has sung Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam’s poem, Whispers of Jasmine. Her albums, Ishq and Uski Dulhan Sajaungi were released by Hon. Smt. Sonia Gandhi. She has won the Big Star IMA award for her album Ishq under the best Ghazal singer category.

In 2014, Dr. Soma Ghosh organised ‘Fusion Harmony’, a concert through which she amalgamated Fijian and Indian Classical music in Suva, Fiji which was attended by the entire Parliament and High Commissioners. The program was organised again at the International food festival in Nadi.

She will soon be launching her 23rd album ‘Chaand Tanha’, which is her tribute to Late Meena Kumari. The album holds the significant genre of urdu poetry – nazms with her fine pliable voice that enables her to take the Taar Saptak without a falsetto note.

Dr. Soma Ghosh is constantly trying to bring the societal problems like female infanticide, the poor state and neglecting the elderly, etc. to attention through music, so that it reaches the masses.