“Mazi” – A Blend of Cultures
Cultures blend forming new cultures. This blend can be seen in Mazi the latest album by Somdatta which we share in this story.
Somdatta is an interdisciplinary artist, who has built her expertise on a foundation of the Indian Classical Dance Bharatanatyam layered with the love of Rabindra Sangeet and an appreciation of world music genres.
Born in Kolkata, raised in Ahmedabad and currently residing in the United States, Somdatta is currently pursuing a master’s in Dance Movement Therapy, which integrates all the above foundational elements. A student of Mrinalini and Mallika Sarabhai’s renowned Darpana Dance Academy in Ahmedabad, Somdatta has been trained in Bharatanatyam since the age of four, and was exposed to various forms of music and dance in the process. Her father, the late Jati Shankar Chakraborty, inspired her to learn Rabindra Sangeet, which was further enhanced by inspiration from Debabrata Biswas, the legendary Tagore exponent her grandfather from paternal side.
Somdatta’s voice blends an emotive quality of Tagore’s music with the passion and energy of Western compositions. Somdatta’s love for Gurudev’s music has led her to performances in Berlin, The Hague, Budapest, and London. In addition, Somdatta has curated themed performances on Tagore titled ‘Sea Thy Melody’ at the Princeton University in 2015 with Jazz Pianist Eli Yamin and has curated unique performances involving Tagore and Gospel titled “Tagore Meets Gospel” and “Sangam”, a unique tapestry of Tagore, Gospel, and Sufi Poetry in 2019 with Dr. Triniece Robinson (Gospel), Ron Korb, Grammy Nominated Canadian Flutist, Dr. Fauzia Farooqui and pianist Anil Veeraraj.
Somdatta has released a few Tagore Albums, her latest was titled “Utsarga” arranged by Prattyush Banerjee in 2014. Her well received Modern Bengali original “Tumi Ami Ishwar” was composed by Joy Sarkar in 2019. Somdatta’s recent album in 2022 is “Mazi”, a collection of World Music, with a beautiful rendition of the “Moj Dilbere”, a Bosnian folk (Sevdah genre) with Kane Mathis on Oud and Tom Teasley on percussions and “Eleno Kerko”, a Macedonian Folk with Anil Veeraraj on the Piano. These are the newest tracks in her work in progress album.
As Somdatta pursues her master’s in Dance Movement Therapy, the influences of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore are evident in her work.
Somdatta recently was awarded the Andrew J Scholars award by Rider University in the US. Along with an ongoing pursuit in master’s in Dance Movement Therapy, she completed her undergraduate degree in liberal arts with a concentration in dance from Rider University in the US and a master’s in Marketing from Ahmedabad.
Somdatta is a passionate educator and strives for social change through her art. She is the founder of Inara Arts in New Jersey and is a director for Abhigam performing arts in Toronto. Somdatta says,” I feel increasingly connected to my roots through art although I reside in the US. I continue learn and hone the depth of artistry inherent in India. I love to work with human experiences around the world expressed through performing art. My new project offers world music with a range of sounds from the global scape… I continue to draw inspiration from the music of Tagore both in dance and music and in whatever I pursue in life.”