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News |  24 Mar 2023 16:37 |  By RnMTeam

'Two Thirds', new single by Purbayan Chatterjee ft Taufiq Qureshi and Bernhard Schimpelsberger

MUMBAI: During an impromptu jam in November last year between sitar maestro Purbayan Chatterjee, ace percussionist Taufiq Qureshi and the visionary British-Austrian drummer Bernhard Schimpelsberger at the Purbayan Art and Artists Music Foundation studios in Mumbai was born a song, ‘Two Thirds’ that releases on March 26.

The nimble and upbeat track with Qureshi on djembe, Schimpelsberger on drums, Nakul Chugh on keys and Chatterjee on the electric see-tar is just over 6 minutes long, and is the sitar virtuoso’s first release of the year.   

“The name ‘Two-Thirds’ simply refers to the fact that there are two of the third note (major and minor) in the song,” explains Chatterjee. “The melody is very much a jazz-based melody and in the song we improvise on the harmonic changes,” he adds.

One of the most distinctive features of the song is the use of the electric see-tar, an instrument commissioned by Chatterjee himself, and built and designed by Belgium-based sitar-maker Klaas Janssens, who runs a shop called Sitar Factory. The result is a Plexiglas (acrylic glass) electric sitar which has a lightweight body that changes colours when played and emits a resonant sound.

“The electronic see-tar is a visually stunning instrument,” exclaims Chatterjee, who has used the instrument – sparingly – over the years, including in the movie soundtrack of Pink at the behest of Shantanu Moitra, in UnIndian for Salim-Sulaiman and most recently in Bandish Bandits Season 2.

“Many generations of musicians, especially in the south have electrified their instruments. The advantage of running your sitar through a processor is that although your playing technique remains like the sitar,  you can achieve great variety tonality wise. I like to play the see-tar on songs that require a more edgy electric vibe, when I feel it will sonically enhance a song like ‘Two Thirds’,” he adds.

The main parts of this see-tar — the taardan and jawari — are made with buffalo horn while the steel strings are silver-plated. It is 1,070mm long and comes minus the traditional sitar’s hemispherical shape at the bottom and the neck, which makes it possible to play even standing.

The video for ‘Two Thirds’ will premiere on Chatterjee’s official YouTube channel on March 26.