Saturday, 28 January 2017

Music Diaries: Debabrata Das

It was a few weeks back that I started this endeavour. Of getting to know music and musicians and talking to them, interacting and knowing what it is all about. While the first interview, followed by a music album launch was much loved; I got a wonderful chance of getting to interact with another very inspirational figure for this week.

Debabrata Das, better known as Debu is the arranger and assistant for Tabla maestro Bickram Ghosh and has been in the music industry for as long as 12 years. Also a part of the major band circuit of Kolkata, Debu has been keenly following everything related to it. He has worked as an assistance music director for movies such as Byomkesh pawrbo and Eagoler Chokh. Having to interact with him has been great. Knowing about keyboards, greater. Here are snippets from the conversation...

What was the first ever tune that you learnt to play?

Debabrata Das- In keyboard it was Jingle bells while in guitar it was Hotel California.

How would you define or describe that you play. Keyboard and guitar, both?

Debabrata Das- I play keyboard as professional. But I play guitar for myself & for friends. Guitar is the 1st love & keyboard is like the wife. I also feel that if played well, 1 instrument is enough.

Woah! So, how is it like being an arranger? For the ones who do not know much about what arrangement is, how would you explain the whole concept of arrangement or music composition?

Debabrata Das- Composing something is like what you have realized. Justify the lyrics with the tune. It’s like a new born baby. While I compose, I always think what the subject matter is. Then I write. Then, compose. Never try to rush. It’s spontaneous. Arrangement. It’s like you have a baby & you are nurturing that child with love and passion. Dressing that child like a mother. Arranging any song means not too much playing rather simple play, less play but effective play. That can back it up from the bottom. Never get loose & enrich the song.

That was a wonderful explanation. So, you do so many things. You play instruments, you arrange, you write lyrics, you compose, you sing. If any day you have to choose only 1 career path, what would it be?

Debabrata Das- Composing


Debabrata Das- ‘Cause, If I compose I can do lots of things. Like, I can make tunes. Sometimes, I can compose lyrics as well compose instrumental music. Arrangement is also part of composing

You must have done live gigs?

Debabrata Das- Yup. I'm member of a band titled Orient Express. We do Latin American music. Every Monday we go live at Someplace else. Early in my career, I did lots of live shows. So called Macha shows. Hindi, Bengali. We had a band. Rock band. Rabindra sangeet live. Have performed with Bickram Ghosh, Mallar Ghosh, Maherin and many more. Last couple of years I have stopped live gigs with various artists. I am concentrating more to play with big artists.

That's a superb bio. How are live gigs different from individual composition? As a musician, what would you prefer?

Debabrata Das- Live shows are so tough. No chance for errors. It’s a challenge. The whole band depends on me. The keyboardist is like the backbone of any band. So it’s quite challenging & individual compositions are like you can show yourself what you can do. Showing your skill creativity. As musician I prefer to do individual compositions.

So how does it feel playing the keyboard? What is the importance of the keyboard in a band?

Debabrata Das- It’s like I'm the spinal cord. Huge importance & in my genre of music without me it’s like fulari bina chutney. With all due respect to the other instruments, I can say that you can make a band without the keyboard but if you make a band with the keyboard then you can never get it out.

You've worked with all type of artists and at all types of places. How has been the experience?

Debabrata Das- It's great. Every good artist has a positive nature. I am learning everyday through them. My career is too short, about 12 years. When I meet any artist I feel they know better than me. True artists always want to give. Want to teach. I'm a good listener so I grab everything and well, I'm a better filter so I consume the right words.

5 years from date, where do you see yourself?

Debabrata Das- As an artist. Now I'm a musician. Maybe a writer. Or arranger. But I want to be an artist. To be more specific, a philosopher.

What are you currently working on?

Debabrata Das- Right now I've lots of project coming up. There’s one upcoming film as the assistant music director. Then, I've a music company. Opolis Entertainment. I'm working on it. There are some music videos that are to be done for my company. There are recordings for my compositions. One album on Rabindra Sangeet that is to be released on 25th Boisakh. Finally, there’s one short film.

So, what would you like to say about the music industry of today? How much has it changed from the first time you joined?

Debabrata Das- It has changed not a single bit. Just the same from what I saw for the first time. You know what? Life never changes. What changes is our way of thinking, way of talking and way of living. So, the industry remained the same while we people change a lot. Composition rises so we became selfish. But in the recent times some good artists are coming. We are trying to help each other to move ahead in the race. I think it will change the industry.

What would you want to say to the upcoming musicians and your followers?

Debabrata Das- Try to learn. Learning is the process that makes you perfect. Perfect practice is needed for perfect poise. Never practice without knowledge. Listen to good songs. As well as bad ones. That'll give a perfect picture. Make good friends. Enjoy the life. And very important, be a good lover. Fall in love and that’ll make you more creative.

Wasn’t that so insightful on the importance of the keyboard in music? Don’t you feel like knowing more on music and musicians? Look up at this space, every weekend for something, anything that I can give you. For the musicians who want to help me with this idea, get in touch with me at- For you, music lover, please share this and spread the word. Let us all be by music. Let us let our soul be musical!


  1. Really a nice one, a nice interview with proper knowledge & a very good initiative for present day musicians

    1. Thank you so much for your support! Please keep an eye in this space for more such updates and spread the word :)

  2. Really a nice one, a nice interview with proper knowledge & a very good initiative for present day musicians