Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya was born into a musical family in Kolkata, and his skill became apparent at a young age. His parents, both traditional Indian vocalists, gave him a basic understanding of music—his brother and sister are musicians as well. He first began strumming a guitar when he was 3 years old, when his father gave him a full-size Hawaiian lap steel guitar.
Debashish made his debut at the age of 4, on All India Radio in Calcutta, where he was accompanied on table by the late Ustad Karamatullah Khan of the Farukhabad gharana. At age 15, Debashish designed his first Chaturangui, which he uses to play Hindustani slide guitar.
When he was 20, Debashish received the President of India Award for winning All India Radio’s national music competition. At 21, he went to study for ten years under Indian slide guitar pioneer Brij Bhushan Kabra. In his thirties, Debashish was awarded the top grade at All India Radio. His charisma as a musician, composer, innovator, revolutionary, guru, and the director of international slide guitar has attracted devotees of music from all corners of the world.
In 1993, Debashish began performing extensively across the globe. From 2000 to 2001, he performed with John McLaughlin’s Remember Shakti band, alongside band members Zakir Hussain and U. Srinivas, and was featured on the live album from that tour: “Remember Shakti – Saturday Night in Bombay”. Also in 2001, he developed his second slide-guitar design, the 14-string Gandharvi. In 2002, he created a type of slide guitar called the Anandi, a blend of ukulele and mandolin named after his daughter.
Debashish has written a syllabus on Indian Classical Guitar—the first of its kind. He believes that music is not restricted to East and West, but that it is universal.