The great maestros who have given their life to Classical Indian Music do not hesitate to admit that they have only just begun.
The Music in My Blood explores the world of Classical Indian Music through drama. A music that deeply stirs the emotions of a listener and demands great sacrifice from its students. A story of a mother and daughter, also teacher and student. While one struggles to impart the knowledge she has fought for all her life, the other seeks freedom from the strict life as a student. The story is moved forward by the ghost of Walter Kaufmann, a Jewish refugee to India during WWII who gave India the iconic All India Radio tune and fell in love with the music of the land. The raw emotion is underscored by ragas and music by Sandip Bhattacharjee and Susmita Chakraborty.
I believe the relationship between musicians and their music, is a very pure one. As a student of music and a theatre maker I wanted to communicate these emotions through a play. I am fortunate to have my teacher Sandip Bhattacharjee and his wife Susmita share with me their experiences as musicians. While figuring out how I could present what appeared most compelling to me about this music, I learned about Walter Kaufmann, a jewish refugee to India in WWII. Kaufmann fell in love with the music of the land, became a student and wrote two books about the ragas of North India and South India and composed the All India Radio theme music. Kaufmann’s story fascinated me, now more than ever when the stories of refugees and their desperate conditions clouds the news, I feel it’s compelling to also bring forth Kaufmann’s story which is one about acceptance and love for music.
DIRECTOR: Marcus Yi
Marcus Yi is an award winning writer/director and performer based in New York. He has created work in Singapore, Atlanta and New York and is the artistic director of Living Room Theater. He has worked on over 100 productions and his recently created work include Micro Shrimp The Musical (Winner of 11th Annual NJ Playwrights Contest), 29x/y (WIld Project, Paradise Factory), Pretty Little Mouth (Roy Arias), The Procedure (Gene Frankel Theater), The Ephemeral Lightness of Dreams: the dream plays (Lynn Redgrave Theatre), Thicker Than Water: the blood plays and Baby Baby!. His work has been produced by the National Asian Artists Project, Yangtze Rep, Asian American Film Lab, The Secret Theatre, New Jersey Playwrights Contest, Ingenue Theater, Modern Griot Theatre, Ticket2eternity Productions, Queens Players, Rising Solo, POPLAB, URNetworkAlliance, NYC Actors and Playwrights Collective, All Out Arts, Short Play Lab, Angry Head Productions and Living Room Theater. His work has been seen at the Midtown International Theater Festival, Planet Connections Theater Festivity, Fresh Fruit Festival and the Midwinter Madness Theater Festival. Marcus was also named one of Indie Theater Now's 2014 People of the Year and is an Indie Theater Now Playwright.
WRITER: Shubhra Prakash
The Music In My Blood Shubhra's second play which is the result of her love for the music of her homeland. Her first work "For Our Own" ran at Planet Connections Festival 2014 for which she received the Activist Award for getting a great deal of involvement from the South Asian Marrow Association of Recruiters. Shubhra is also the co-founder of Hypokrit Theatre Company. Please visit : https://www.facebook.com/5000roses/?fref=ts to stay updated.
ABOUT THE PLAY
Prema has run away from home escaping her strict mother who has given her life to the pursuit of music. Archana has struggled all her life to learn music which she must pass on to her daughter. Walter Kaufmann a western classical pianist's has become a refugee to India during WWII, he discovers the music of India. As Prema learns about Walter's journey, she has a chance to repair the relationship with her own mother.
SANDIP BHATTACHARJEE : Sandip was born into a family with a deep rooted love for music. He was initiated into music by his mother Smt. Krishna Bhattacharjee at the age of four and he continued his talim under Smt. Amita Dasgupta later. At the age of sixteen, Sandip began his talim at the ITC Sangeet Research Academy under the distinguished guidance of Ustad Mashkoor Ali Khan and Ustad Mubarak Ali Khan, sons and disciples of the late legendary Sarangi Maestro Padmashree Ustad Shakoor Khan. In 2003 he joined ITC-SRA as a residential scholar and in 2013 he became an acknowledged musician at the academy.
Under both his gurus, Sandip was nurtured in the true guru shishya parampara system of training in the Kirana Gharana. Sandip has accomplished a rare feat: he has lived up to the promise and talent he showed as a child prodigy. Although he does not come from the family lineage of Kirana Gharana, Sandip has become a respected proponent of that gayaki style through his training and hard work.
For More information, visit http://www.sandipbhattacharjee.com/
SUSMITA CHAKRABORTY : Susmita has been singing since the age of five. She has participated in and won numerous vocal competitions; she has a lot of performance experience.
Susmita received ten years of Hindustani classical vocal training from Tandra Ghoshal ; afterwards, she learned from Pt. Jayanta Bose who is admired as a versatile genius in the global field of music (Vocal, Harmonium & Tabla) and still learning from Bidushi Suranjana Bose who is “Top grade “ Radio Artist in India.
Susmita has also learned other forms of vocal music (Semi-Classical/Light, Najrul Geeti, old Hindi film songs,Bhajans, Ghazal and Thumri) from several respected teachers .
Additionally, she enjoys singing regional songs from her native Bengal. She learned Bengali modern songs from the renowned vocalist Haimanti Shukla and Najrulgeeti from Swapna Kanjilal.
In 2002, Susmita recorded a song (“Akash Dake Aaj”) for a travel tv show .
In 2010, she released a solo Bengali modern song album (“Megh Mon Chuye Jaye”) which was released by Raga Music.
In 2013, she released an album entitled “Gunjan” as part of a group.
In 2014, she released a solo album aptly called “Shraddhanjali” comprised of old classic Hindi songs
In 2014, she toured the USA (NYC, NJ, Chicago, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Washington DC etc.) for musical performances.
In 2015, she released a solo album called “Tribute to Lata Mangeshkar” comprised of old classic Hindi songs of Lataji
In 2015 , she has recorded song for an upcoming Hindi Movie “ Anokhi Raat”