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Background

Family: Son of Sudip and Santa Mukherjee. Neil has an older sister, Subhalakshmi Mukherjee.  He grew up in Bhowanipur, Kolkata.

Academics: Went to South Point High School, Ashutosh College and St. Xavier’s college Kolkata from where he completed his Bachelors in Science.

Instruments: After a short stint with drums that started at the age of six, Neil moved to guitar around eleven. Meanwhile, he fiddled with the saxophone and the piano. As a musician Neil currently plays steel string acoustic, electric, nylon string, fretless, and bass guitars, piano, dotara, oudh, drums, ukulele, five string tenner banjo, charango, flute, and blues and chromatic harmonica at various levels of expertise.

Musical Instrument: The Aat-tarra©.
Neil with his dad, mom and older sister.

PC: Dr. Sachinandan Banerjee

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Musical Training: His earliest music training was with his maternal uncle Goutam Chattopadhyay  (Monimama) and Soumya Dasgupta, son of Sudhin Dasgupta. Neil received his first guitar from his grandmother at the age of eleven, and his first classical guitar from Arunendu Das at the age of sixteen. In his mid-twenties he completed a Grade Eight in classical guitar and music theory from Trinity college of Music, London. Simultaneously he started training in the veena with Shri A. Anantharaman Iyer in Kolkata and furthered his musical journey into Carnatic Classical music with Chitravina N. Ravikiran in Chennai. 

Method of playing: Neil’s music style is heavily influenced by western classical, flamenco, jazz, rock, along with rock’n’roll, bluegrass, bossa nova, etc. However, he wanted incorporate elements of subcontinental, Indian music in his repertoire. In order to do so, he started training in Carnatic classical music. He ventured into playing the veena under the tutelage of Shri A. Anantharaman Iyer. Later, in Chennai he continued his studies of Carnatic music under Chitravina N. Ravikiran. Indian instrumental music tries to emulate complexities of the human voice (Qureshi, 1997), for which techniques such as meend, gamakas exist in veena, sarod, sitar, sarangi, surbahar, etc. To achieve that sound, Neil customized his instrument into the Aat-tarra© or the eight-stringed guitar

 

Citation: Qureshi, R. B. “The Indian Sarangi: Sound of Affect, Site of Contest.” Yearbook for Traditional Music, vol. 29, 1997, pp. 1–38. JSTOR.

 

Picture of fourteen year old Neil with his mother and sister.

PC: Tushar Kaanti Dutta

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