ANUPAM PAUL: A Stupendous Harmonica Lover

Anupam Paul (Anupam Da), a renowned Harmonica player not only in West Bengal but also in India was born on 27th May 1953. Anupam Da was very close to his guru- Shri Milon Gupta (Milon Da), the celebrated harmonicist in India for a long corridor of 25 years (1970-1995) and admired him as his friend, philosopher and guide.

The beginning- Search for a Guru
 Milon da and Anupam da were performing in the year 1981 at 
Tumluk, Midnapore district, West Bengal (from left Soumitra chatterjee(famous Indian guitarist, Anupam da, Milon da and Milon Deb (accordian).

Love for harmonica started at the age of 16 when Anupam Da first listened to the harmonica track of the song- ‘Kahin Deep Jale Kahin Dil’ played by Milon Da. In 1970, during his college time, Anupam Da was searching the venue at Kolkata where Milon Da usually took harmonica classes. At that time, Milon Da was very busy in Mumbai and occasionally came to his rental house at Kolkata. One day Anupam Da came to know from his friend that Milon Da will come to perform at ‘Lake Commercial College, Kolkata’ for their annual programme. Anupam Da went there and discovered that Milon Da’s harmonica teaching school was at Golpark, Kolkata. Anupam Da went there and met Milon Da and his learning of harmonica started thereon with the fees of Rs. 10/= only.
Anupam Da narrates an anecdote about Milon Da that once when he accompanied Milon Da for his recording he (Milon Da) was told to change the key of the song. Though Milon Da had prepared the song in a different key, he recorded it in the key he was told in the very first take. This had left Anupam Da amused and he was impressed.
Contemporary Harmonica Lovers:
During his days as a harmonica learner, a large numbers of students of Milon Da like Kajal Chakraborty, Premangshu Chatterjee, Bhaskar Chowdhury, Satyanarayan Chakraborty were contemporaries of Anupam Da. HaLoH member Shri B. Vinayak from Hyderabad had met Anupam Da during his stay at Kolkata when he went there for learning the techniques of harmonica from Milon Da.
Television performance, Releasing of Albums and Live Performances:
Anupam Da performed a Bengali ‘Kirtan’ (Ami Sukhero Lageea) on television in the year 1975. Milon Da was very much cordial with Anupam Da and occasionally they went together to the studio whenever Milon Da had any recording assignments. Their relationship lasted till Milon Da’s death (1995). In 1995, with his harmonica, Anupam Da recorded his first cassette “Chena Sur Achena Dhbani” on Bengali Folk Song using the same style as Milon Da with the famous music arranger V. Balsara. Again, in 2004, HMV Sa Re Ga Ma released an album- “Pehli Pehli Baar Hai” on Hindi Film Songs in Harmonica performed by Anupam Da. Both the albums were marketed well.

Role as a Harmonica Teacher:
Since 1980, Anupam Da started to teach his students harmonica skills once in a week except Sunday as his engagement was fixed with Milon Da on Sundays. In his career, wherever he resided, he went to Milon Da as a regular student. His playing style, technique and overall performance is like Milon Da. Till date he is engaged in conducting harmonica classes, preparation of notations of new generation songs, repairing of harmonica reeds etc. He is very much cordial with his students.

Views on Harmonica playing:
Anupam Da’s view in playing Harmonica is – One can play any song starting from any notation (sa/re/ga/ma) irrespective of its original scale but it must be sweet to hear and one must be satisfied with one’s playing without breathing problems. According to him, the beauty of the song should remain the same and he advocates the reversing of slider for getting the desired effects on the harmonica. According to him the final output should be good and this is what matters. The audience is least concerned about which key of harmonica was used to play the song. They are just concerned with the final presentation of the song. He possesses harmonicas like Hohner Super Chromonica 270, Hohner CX-12 and Suzuki SCX-48. His all-time favourite is Hohner Super Chromonica 270.
Anupam Da now resides at Kalyani, West Bengal with his family and will soon retire from his bank job. We pray for his long life.
Inputs for this article were given by Dr Prasanta Kumar Bandyopadhya.


Unknown said...

Truly lucky to have met this Gentleman and was extremely Happy to see him perform live! Above all Anupam da is such a warm hearted and an Amazing person.Thanq for your Blog Ramana!

Rajendra Singh bankura said...

harmonica world in India is blessed with Anupam Da... Treasure to explore n retain... God bless him