Tanmoy Saha is a young and budding musician from Tripura who has won the hearts of music lovers with his covers of popular Bollywood songs on the tabla.
His social media profiles- Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube- are full of such videos and these tabla performances have been appreciated by many people.
For the Hawaiyen cover from the Imtiaz Ali-directed movie Jab Harry Met Sajal, he received accolades galore and Ali personally re-shared the video with a message of appreciation.
The Story Mug caught up with this young musician to know more about his music and musical journey.
TSM: What or who inspired or attracted you to music?
Tanmoy Saha: First, I will have to thank my parents as if they had not pushed me then I would have been nothing. Not just music, without their push I would have not been able to do good in my studies as well. They have encouraged me to pursue both with sincere dedication and seriousness.
My father- Haridas Saha- inspired me to learn the tabla. I got my basic training of the tabla under him. Later, I got my advanced lessons in tabla from my teachers Swapan Das and late Shyam Sundar Sinha.
TSM: Tell us something about your training process.
Tanmoy Saha: My tryst with the tabla began at the age of 4. Even though I was more interested in sports and less in tabla, my mother, however, made sure that I practice the tabla for some time in the day.
Initially, it was a 5-10 minutes session a day, which increased with time and after a point, my interest in learning the tabla increased.
TSM: Why did you choose to focus on tabla?
Tanmoy Saha: When I was in Class III, there was a northeast level competition in Silchar, where I got the 1st prize.
Later, I performed in other places too, where also I got the 1st prize. I have also received the Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT) national scholarship twice.
When I was in college, I played the sound of the train in tabla on Teachers' Day. On listening to the piece of music, I received a standing ovation from the crowd that included the college dean and his wife as well.
These small and little successes that I received initially touched my heart and I began to focus more on the tabla.
TSM: The initial covers you made, and what were the responses like?
Tanmoy Saha: The first covers that I played on the tabla were Shiv Tandava, Genda Phool, Apsara Ali, Justin Bieber's Baby, and Hawayein and the videos caught people's attention.
The Hawayein cover has been the most viral video so far as within 48 hours of sharing it on social media, the video garnered over 2 million views and 35k Facebook users shared it as well.
Recently, the same video also went viral from another Facebook page called La Musica.
The song was even loved and appreciated by the film's director Imtiaz Ali, who uploaded the cover video on his Instagram story.
This has been one of the biggest achievement of my life to date.
TSM: What are the instruments you like to play
Tanmoy Saha: Apart from tabla, I like to play the drums, Cajon, Djembe etc.
TSM: Tell us about the struggles faced, and how did you overcome them?
Tanmoy Saha: The passion for tabla was always there, but I was unable to find better facilities at the starting. Initially, I used to perform only in college functions and some small gatherings.
Finally, I started uploading short clips on Facebook and Instagram and gradually people started noticing me.
After Imtiaz Ali shared the Hawayein cover, people started following my videos on a large scale.
I won't say that I am successful, and I have overcome all my struggles. I am giving my 100 per cent to everything I am doing. Apart from my parents, all my friends- especially Birojit Das- have stood by me like a solid post in this period.
TSM: Do you also focus on creating your music?
Tanmoy Saha: Yes, apart from covers, I am also focusing on creating music of my own.
TSM: One thing about music that makes you feel passionate?
Tanmoy Saha: Music is something that belongs to everyone, and it unites different persons. A single piece of music can inspire different people in different ways.
Another beautiful thing about music is that it can make us feel certain emotions. For instance, listening to devotional music can make us feel that God is right near us.
And when people cheer for me during the performances, it gives me goosebumps and motivates me infinitely.
TSM: Describe your favourite and least favourite part about being a musician.
Tanmoy Saha: The most favourite thing about being a musician is when I see the happy faces of the people after they attend my performances. When the requests for their favourite songs, gives me a sense of contentment. The fact that I could make them happy is a feeling I can't explain in words.
The least favourite part of being a musician, I would say, is the constant judgement from those who don't understand music much. Some people fail to understand that music is not just about entertainment, rather it is something that comes from inside. Instability in the profession of music can be considered as a lesser favourite thing.
TSM: Is there any links between music and ethics?
Tanmoy Saha: Music is not only a vehicle to transform ethical ideas, it can also be articulated discursively.
Music can contribute uniquely to theoretical discussions about ethics as well as moral behaviour. Music can teach us to listen carefully and without any prejudice.
It can also teach us to cooperate and interact with others outside preconceived goals and benefits. Music also plays an important role in the disciplining and controlling of human beings.
TSM: Your favourite musicians?
Tanmoy Saha: Zakir Hussain, AR Rahman, Vishal and Sekhar, and Arijit Singh.
TSM: Any artist you would like to collaborate with?
Tanmoy Saha: I would like to collaborate with tabla player Shobhit Banwait.
Here I would also like to tell you that my first collaboration is coming soon with classical dancer Debjani Mallik and the video will be uploaded on my YouTube channel.
TSM: What are your plans for the future?
Tanmoy Saha: For the time being, I am focussing more on the tabla cover. In the future, I want to play on a big platform and the desire to make tabla a new attraction among the youngsters.
TSM: Any message for the readers.
Tanmoy Saha: As the days go by, we are slowly moving towards western music. Indian classical music is slowly receding. The new generation has to bring it back.
The Story Mug, a Guwahati-based blogzine, believes in telling stories that matter.