Pathos in her style

By Willie Gordon Suting

Sohini De, a young guitarist from Kolkata, created poetry along with local artistes Nylon Connections as they charmed the audience with beautiful renditions of many great compositions during their recent performance at U Soso Tham Auditorium.
De, as the headliner of the event, stood out for her skill in giving new life to compositions adding a touch of pathos and verve. The young guitarist was exceptional as she exhibited her ability to sway the sound of the guitar in tune with different inexpressible emotions.
Instrumentals are not meant to be sung, but the message lies in unspoken melodies created by the instrument. De in compositions like Fantasia, Capricho Arabe and Dengoso Gran Vals was able to produce melodies of various inexpressible feelings.
A prodigy, De plunged into depths with the classical guitar exploring various forms of musical expression and articulation. The style was lyrical and captivating. Her playing was precise and adept never failing once in her attempt to communicate with the audience.
The 23-year-old guitarist had complete control as she changed staff notation progressions. Sitting erect on her stool with the guitar, she produced melodies which expressed longing, sadness and despair.
De’s stylistic sense and taste for melodies reflected a refinement which was beyond her age. It had an enigmatic dreamy quality that beguiled and mesmerised the audience from beginning to end.
De was taught the acoustic guitar by her father Shyamal De, an accomplished classical guitarist, from the age of six. At present, both teach classical guitar at the prestigious Calcutta School of Music, said to be the oldest music school in India.
With influences ranging from Andres Segovia, John Williams, Pepe Romero, David Russell to Berta Rojas, she won first prize twice in 2010 and 2012 at the Calcutta International Classical Guitar Festival.
As a child, De started singing regularly in All India Radio Kolkata in Children’s Section. She holds a Licentiate Degree with distinction from Trinity College in Guitar Performance.
“Presently, I am doing my Final Year of B.A Music in Fine Arts at Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata,” says the introvert musician.
When asked about her most memorable performance, she says with a smile, “It was taking a Master Class with the great classical guitarist David Russell at the Calcutta International Classical Guitar Festival.”
De’s influences are many but she tends to have an affinity with Berta Rojas, a female classical guitarist. “Watching Rojas play inspired me as I too feel as a woman that I can play like her.”
Nylon Connections gave a memorable performance opening for De on the evening of Horizon Series, organised by Indian Council of Cultural Relations in collaboration with Department of Arts and Culture.
Nylon Connections was formed in 2011, their first gig being in Anton Hall. Arimbam Uttam Sharma, an established classical guitarist and also member, had guided and taught the other members in the band- Kamlesh Khundrakpam, Lenar Phawa, Danny Lyngdoh, Nongpok Arambam and Lengshel Rangshel Koireng- who are pursuing their diploma courses from ABRSM distance education institute.