Durjay Bhaumik: His heart beats with the Tabla
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Durjay Bhaumik: His heart beats with the Tabla

Durjay started his journey in tabla after getting inspiration from his mother Seema Bhaumik

Durjay Bhaumik: His heart beats with the Tabla

“I open my eyes every day with tabla, I live each breath with its taal and that is the love affair I have with Tabla in my life,” says Durjay Bhaumik, one of the eminent tabla players of this era. He has devoted his complete life to the instrument and making efforts to raise the glory of Indian music. Bhaumik shifted to Dwarka Sector 10 Gayatri Apartments in 2020 and City Spidey had a chance to meet him to interact.

Disciple of tabla maestro Taalyogi Suresh Talwalkar, Durjay started his journey in tabla after getting inspiration from his mother Seema Bhaumik and on her desire for him to learn the instrument.

Originally belonging to Kolkata, Durjay started his journey in Tabla at the age of seven years. He says, “ Being from a traditional Bengali family there was music in my family. I used to go to programmes and do mimicry of tabla in front of family members. My mother was a visionary and she noticed my inclination for the instrument. At that age, my interest was more in tabla than in any sports activity. She recognised my talent and took me to my first guru Pt Dulal Nutta of Banaras gharana to learn Tabla. That was the beginning of my romance with tabla and Hindustani classical music.”

After completing class 10th Durjay once thought to take a break from Tabla and focus on academics to make a career, but his mother asked him not to do that. Later on, aspiring to become a Charted accountant, he graduated in Commerce and went for the course. But the beats of tabla pulled him back and soon he decided to choose Tabla as a career in life and left everything for that. “ With age I realised that I love the instrument and that is the only thing I can live with till my last breath. My identity today is only due to Tabla. It is practically my life.”

In his initial days, Durjay used to go to play Tabla in Durga Puja celebrations in Kolkata. He also started visiting Delhi doing programmmes with the artists and groups during Durga Puja. Those days opened the door for him to see the music world. Then an incident happened which was prove a turning point in his career. says he, “On one hand I was playing in programmes and learning and on the other hand I was earning too. But, in 1996-97 I went to Allahabad to participate in Akhil Bhartiya Sangeet Pratiyogita by Prayag Sangeet Smiti. I spent 15 days over there. During those 15 days, I realised what I should perceive in Tabla and what aspiration I should have in Tabla. I got to know about the depth of classical music and the glory of such events where stories of legends were on the tongues of the people. I also realised that I was in the same league. I decided to go for glory and won the competition in my category. That you can say was the real beginning.”

To scale further highs in the music world Durjay shifted to Delhi and went to his second guru Pt V Malviya where he took training for two years. From there he was sent to tabla maestro Taalyogi Pt Suresh Talwalkar to learn. Durjay is now his disciple since 2001. Durjay’s hard work has taken him places accompanying celebrities of Indian Classical Music in the leading Classical Music Festivals of India and overseas. In his carrier spanning over two decades today he is one of the most sought-after Tabla players of his generation.

For Durjay riyaz is the soul of his life and he never missed it in his career since the beginning. He says that every day is a new day and new learning for him. He visits his guru in Pune periodically and does riyaz after his return. In the Covid period, he took training from his Guru online and according to him, the pandemic period gave him a different space and learning. “ I used the pandemic period the best in my life learning from guru ji. I feel like learning every moment. I practice the smallest things thinking the biggest to its perfection. Being in music one must do a disciplined riyaz and that I learned from my all gurus,” says Durjay.

Durjay has a lot to share and one of the most interesting things is his experience of accompanying the Santoor legend Bhajan Sopori and Sarod Maestro Pt Biswajit Roy Chowdhury at their respective place. Durjay says that he did riyaz playing tabla from midnight till early morning with Bhajan Sopori and those years are memorable for him. He shares, “I was in Delhi and got in touch with Bhajan Sopori. He then was in a government job and in such a shift that he could get time late at night for riyaz. He took me to his place and I used to play with him. It was almost a daily routine at night from 1.30 to 4.30 from 2001 to 2009. With such a legend spending such time gave me a lot and it has played a significant role in shaping my career.”

Devotion for the music and his perfection of the beats took Durjay to a different level in music. In his late forties, Durjay has achieved a lot as a tabla player. As a part of collaborative work with world music Durjay has performed with the celebrated musicians of deferent countries. Like Art lee of Japan, Raho Langsepp of Estonia, Vienna youth choir among others, to name a few. He has performed and directed a rhythm ensemble - "Naad Confluence."

Durjay is an ‘A’ grade artist who has played tabla with various Artists of Hindustani and Carnatic Classical Music. His performances and work has been widely acclaimed and appreciated by connoisseurs, critics and audiences at various music festivals and venues all across the globe spanning several parts of Asia, Europe, the middle east and the USA, Canada and more.

In his journey Durjay has received numerous awards and honours including Sangeet Sadhak Award by Navodit Kalakar Samiti, Delhi, Sangeet Sahodar Award by Sangeet Kala Kendra, Agra, Saptorshi lifetime achievement award by Saptorshi Academy, New Delhi and Pandit Ramji Upadhyay Award by Mangaldhwani Foundation are few. He has performed in festivals like Shankar Lal Festival, New Delhi  Legends Of India Festival, New Delhi, Vishnudigamvar Jayanti Sangeet Samaroh, New Delhi, Delhi Classical Music Festival, Tansen Sangeet Sammelan, Gwalior, Amir Khan Sangeet Samaroh, Indore Taj Mahotsav, Agra Kesarbai Kerkar Sangeet Samaroh, Goa, Jotibha Phule Sangeet Samaroh, Pune, Sankatmochan Sangeet Samaroh, Varanasi, Jaipur Virasat, Jaipur, Baba Harivallabh Sangeet Samaroh and many more Music festivals. Apart from the major festivals, Durjay has been associated with SPICMACAY for last 20 years performing across the length and breadth of the country covering remote villages as an outreach activity.