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The Dasgupta Sisters Enlist Sandeep Chowta for Contemporary Raaga Renditions

The self-titled four-track EP features vocalists Pragya Dasgupta and Paroma Dasgupta traversing electronic, jazz, funk and pop

Anurag Tagat Apr 29, 2021

Artists Paroma Dasgupta, Sandeep Chowta and Pragya Dasgupta. Photos: Courtesy of the artist

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In memory of their mother – veteran classical vocalist Manjushree Dasgupta – sibling singer duo Pragya and Paroma Dasgupta have released an effervescent fusion EP with composer Sandeep Chowta.

The Dasgupta Sisters comprises four tracks featuring two vocalists who have found their respective individual spaces in the film and mainstream pop world over the last decade, even as they held their classical roots close. “As youngsters, we learnt music from our mother. Some of our oldest and fondest memories of her were seeing mom singing Khayal, Thumri, Dadra, Kajri, Tarana etc.,” the duo say in a statement. The sisters picked four bandishes from the Chota Khayal tradition, ones they considered their mother’s favorites.

Released via Chowta’s label Namma Music, the EP brings together instrumentalists such as bassist Seb Read, pianists Thommy Knoles and Hector Moreno. In the works since December 2020, Pragya Dasgupta says it was a “long process of finalizing” the raagas and bandishes they were going to work upon. Production work was helmed by Chowta, whom Pragya counts as a great mentor that helped them execute the idea of singing songs learned from their mother. There’s aptly late-night jazz-funk arrangements for “Love Devotion Surrender: Raag Tilang,” while “Sacred Love: Raag Desh” lays down bass-driven lounge with hints of tabla. The sisters lead evocatively on “Love: Raag Chhayanat,” an easygoing, starry trip-hop track aided by sitar and tabla. On the closing track “Love In These Times: Raag Bhimpalasi,” the collaboration offers up dreamy fusion, deft grooves and a shimmering keyboard solo from Thommy Knoles.

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Although the sisters have collaborated previously on songs and other commercial music projects, this EP marks their first joint record. Pragya says, “It’s always fun to collaborate, be it your real sister or any other artist. But this collaboration was very different and special and very close to our hearts. We’re very emotionally attached to it, we learnt all these bandishein from my mother and giving a small tribute felt amazing.”

Stream ‘The Dasgupta Sisters’ EP below. Hear on more platforms here.

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