Surviving member of pioneering band D For Brother, Amyt Datta speaks to T.L. Mazumdar.
On international World Music day, we pay tribute to this controversial genre that has garnered considerable criticism for being 'white-centric' and lopsided in its narrative recently, to listen to a refreshingly unique and bold one as we re-discover the long-forgotten history of one of India's most cutting edge and respected bands, whose remarkable but short-lived career and success amidst a loyal following of listeners failed to give it the visibility today's Indian artists have access to.
D For Brother were the two cousins Amyt and Monojit Datta, based in central Calcutta (now 'Kolkata') whose cutting-edge and path-breaking experiments in the studio and onstage alike were too ahead of their time to have survived the lull of the sleepy and forgotten ex-capital of the Indian republic. Decades before a globalised economy, access to the internet and the online onslaught and digital levelling changed the trajectory of the South-Asian arts landscape permanently.
The remnants of this masterpiece, preserved only through limited-edition cassette tapes amidst a loyal following and an abridged lo-fi bandcamp version (following the tragic and unexpected death of Monojit Datta in 2017), complete with pops and hisses is an unassuming tip of an iceberg that leads to a story of near-unbelievable and era-defying artistic innovation and integrity by two self-taught musicians whose journeys and their implications remain scantily documented and barely understood.
We interview the only surviving member of the band, Amyt Datta to relive the writing, recording process, and the mindset behind an endeavor that remains one of the most unsung but relevant in South Asian independent music history.
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Guitarist / Composer
Amyt Datta (born 20 October 1960) is a guitarist, and producer from Kolkata. He is also a popular music composer, teacher and mentor. Datta is widely acknowledged to be one of the most innovative guitarists around today. He toured extensively with the rock band Shiva from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s. He later played with Pinknoise, the late-night alter ego to pop/rock band Skinny Alley in the early 2000s and has continued his own solo work, often in collaboration with Jivraj Singh of Parekh & Singh. His most recent album The Red Plant was released on 10th December, 2021.