Susmit Sen, founder of India's premier fusion rock band, Indian Ocean, has an illustrious music career spanning 30 years. When he founded Indian Ocean in 1990, there was no pan-Indian band writing original music. Over the next few years, Indian Ocean's musical sensibility was led by Sen's compositions and unique guitar playing inspired by Indian classical and folk. What followed was a sensation. Indian Ocean toured more than twenty countries, produced six albums over the next two decades and played a kind of music never heard before: an Indian expression using mostly Western instruments, anchored by Susmit's self-taught guitar.
By the time he came out with his first solo album in collaboration with some of the most renowned musicians in India (Depths of the Ocean, 2011), and then parted ways with Indian Ocean, Susmit had inspired a generation.
He continues to innovate, working with his current band, Susmit Sen Chronicles, as well as a variety of other musicians and artists to convey what's most important to him: expression. This is guitar like you've never heard before!
susmit sen chronicles
Susmit Sen Chronicles was started in 2012 to explore new and varying types of music that didn’t fit the confines of previous endeavors. Chronicles has always been about breaking boundaries and norms, and, like all of Susmit’s music, is hard to categorize. Within SSC, Susmit has collaborated with veteran musicians as well as new talent with various configurations as the music has progressed and taken shape. In 2014, he produced the 7 track album, Ocean to Ocean, with the first Chronicles line up.
The Chronicles sound is most often said to be Indian Fusion, but appeals to audiophiles the world over. With its jazz-laced guitar riffs, Indian inspired rhythms and folk beat patterns, unique vocal melodies and harmonies which weave in and out of the instrumental arcs, and Susmit Sen's signature style of playing the guitar--you can be sure this is music like you've never heard before!
The current Chronicles line up:
Sudheer Rikhari holds an M.A. in Hindustani Classical Vocal from Khairagarh University and has performed as the lead vocalist for the bands Indian Ocean and Sanidhya prior to his work with Susmit Sen Chronicles. Sudheer is also a professional music director and actor, most currently directing and touring with the historical musical, Tansen, where he plays the lead role as well as has written the music score, script, and serves as music director.
Gayathri Natarajan is from Hyderabad and received training in Carnatic classical music under eminent violinist Dwaram Satyanarayana Rao. She is also a communications professional with experience in advertising, design, media, and journalism. Gayathri’s vocal style continues to evolve, borrowing from different cultures and regional influences she encounters as she is an avid motorcyclist and traveler all over India.
Nandit Desai is a Delhi based drummer and percussionist born into a family of Indian Classical musicians who began playing the tabla at the age of 2 and received training from Shri Prasun Chatterjee of Farukhabad Gharana. He is also a professional photographer, filmmaker and cinematographer and holds a Master of Design in Film and Video Communication from National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.
Melanie Hardage is a western classically trained pianist from the southern region of the United States who moved to India in 2016 to pursue musical collaborations with Indian musicians. She has been a private piano and voice instructor with studios in New York, Rhode Island, and Mississippi; and conducted student choirs in both the US and India.
With elements of jazz and folk fused together with Indian beat patterns and unexpected layering, the instrumental guitar, piano, and drums trio (Susmit, Melanie and Nandit) is in the recording process to showcase this new sound.
Susmit and Melanie have been performing around India as a duo for the past year presenting a true East meets West musical collaboration. Their sound is much more mellow than the full Chronicles Band or the Trio, but by no means dull. On the contrary, the music is an interesting mix of call and response and textured harmonies with tastes of Indian Classical and Western Classical nuancing melodies that are passed between the guitar and piano.