Filed under: India
Sunil Ganguly was born at Sonamura village in Tripura, which is a state in North East India. He was one of the first musicians to popularize guitar in Bengali music in the early 1960’s, but then he switched to mainly release recordings of popular Bollywood songs on steel guitar. He is widely considered to be the best and set the standard for all who followed him. It has been said that “his instrument seemed to sing like a human voice”.
Surprisingly, the best information I was able to find was from Answers.com
One of the most respected Hawaiian electric guitarists in the Indian sub-continent is the Late Sunil Ganguly. Coming from a modest background, Ganguly developed his very own style of playing the instrument. No matter what he played, his instrument seemed to sing like a human voice. For years his recordings have formed the basis of many aspiring guitarists in the country in terms of style and technique. Nuances were a child’s play for Ganguly and he never went overboard doing it.
Ganguly’s repertoire ranged from classical based songs to Hindi movie hits and from traditional folk songs to those composed by the greats like Dr. Rabindranath Tagore and Kazi Nazrul Islam. Major labels like HMV and Concord Records have recorded and released at least one album of Sunil Ganguly every year starting from late sixties / early seventies till about a year or two before he passed away.
The Indian style of playing the Hawaiian Guitar is based around Ganguly’s style and most of his contemporaries used to discreetly copy his style or claim to be based around Ganguly’s school of playing.
Many references to Ganguly can be found on the internet and there are some interesting comparisons made. Perhaps it was due to Sunil Ganguly that the Hawaiian guitar rose to popularity in India but alas in these days of electronic music, the instrument’s popularity has dwindled. Of course, there are still some who would like to promote the instrument, post-Ganguly. Newer styles and newer techniques have come up and some of them are again from India (Brij Bhushan Kabra, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt etc.).
This song was originally from the 1978 movie Don, which was a very popular Bollywood film that has reach cult status outside of India. The movie was recently remade as Don – The Chase Begins Again in 2006.
Sunil Ganguly passed away at the age of 62 in Calcutta in 1999.
Catalog number S/MOCE 3015 EMI of India, manufactured and distributed by The Gramophone Company of India Limited in 1979.