In the course of writing about art and artists, I have been collecting several friends. Brinda Roy Chowdhury Ray is one of them. She is a Hindustani Classical Music Exponent and has done playback singing for award-winning films like Dance of the Wind and several regional movies. We at A Journalist Reveals decided to interview her again. Excerpts from the interview:
What inspired you to take up singing as a career (supposing that’s your career)?
Before I could speak properly, I started singing. It must be at the age of 3 or 4 years. My father, late Shri Subir Roy Choudhury discovered this talent in me and encouraged me to get a proper training. My father was a great music lover. He would buy every new cassette that would come into the market and made us hear the music. My mother, Mahasweta Roy Choudhury was a born singer and so was my elder sister. I don’t know how it all happened and with each passing year, my father would take me to AIR and Doordarshan programs (which I qualified through their auditions). During that time (around 1988-89), we had only Doordarshan. I did plenty of stage shows since I was 5 years old. Besides this, my singing training and studies continued as my parents and I were very serious about both the aspects. So I didn’t realize when singing became my profession as I started so young. I took my training from late Krishna Dasgupta, Pt. Rajan and Sajan Mishra, Pt. Ajoy Chakraborty, Shri Ramanuj Dasgupta and Shri Sumanta Sarkar.
What did your parents say when you decided to take up singing?
My parents were always very happy with my music. So, it was a much-understood situation that I continued with it during my college and afterward. I continued with loads of professional stage shows, album recordings, singing for AIR, DD and the new private channels that reached us after the cable was introduced to the country. My parents never had to monitor my singing very cautiously as I was quite good in my academics, too.
Since you are a Chemistry teacher in a school, you might have at least done B.Sc. in Chemistry with B.Ed. Now, how did you manage Science education with that in music?
Talking of academics, I did my graduation in Chemistry. I wanted to do M.Sc. but decided to go ahead with music. It was very tough to manage a science education with music which needs constant training and more importantly, regular riyaaz (practice). I would often miss out on them and would focus on finishing the studies first. At that time, my music had to take a backseat. But after the completion of my graduation, I could give a lot more time to it again. Currently, I teach Chemistry in St. Joseph and Mary’s High School in Kolkata, as well.
Tell us about your musical journey thus far.
My musical journey includes qualifying for AIR, Doordarshan as a vocalist, winning Zee TV’s Saregama show in 1999. I am a CCRT Scholarship holder in vocal music, an ICCR empaneled vocalist (Govt of India), winning many state and national level music competitions; having recorded 2 Bangla modern songs albums and performing nationwide on stage as well as on TV.
What do you do when you are not teaching chemistry or doing something connected to music?
When I am not teaching, I listen to music, I do my riyaaz or prepare for any show that I have. My favorite pastime is also to play with my 4 and a ½-year-old daughter and watching movies. I am a big time movie buff.
What are your future musical projects?
My future projects are to come up with a good semi-classical bhajan album and to share my music to a great extent. I also aspire to take my music abroad.
What do you see 10 years hence?
I live in the present. I can’t say much about the future. But I would be singing all my life and 10 years later, I will definitely be much more famous (laughs).