Photography by Kapil Das
All That Jazz
Sanjeeta was only 18 when she made heads turn with a music gig in the capital. But her affair with music goes back longer—she could pick up tunes on her piano at the age of three and by the time she was a teenager, she had clocked numerous collaborations and had her first concert. She has a colossal appetite for good food, music and travelling, and her art has been heavily influenced by her family that is a motley mix of artists. ‘My dad is a painter by profession and I have two brothers, one of whom is also a painter and plays the piano, while the other plays the tabla and is studying Ancient History. My father taught me Bengali folk songs when I was a kid…I think that laid my foundation.’ Sanjeeta learned Kathak and took piano classes for a while, but soon chose singing as her armour. All this at the young age of 16.
Around the same time, she gave auditions for the most celebrated music college in the world, Berklee. Cracking the audition was a cakewalk obviously, but Sanjeeta was turned down only for being too young. Eventually attending summer school there for two consecutive years introduced her to the nuances of music, but she wanted to understand the nitty-gritty of it. ‘Getting into Berklee might be a big deal but you soon realise how much scope of improvement there really is. Throughout my school life, music has been about competing and winning but now it’s about being around people who are better than you, and learning from them. It’s amazing to have friends who can inspire you to better yourself as a musician and as a person. I have also had the opportunity to attend concerts by incredible musicians such as Wayne Shorter, Maria Shneider and Tigran Hamasyan amongst others so it’s a blessing, really.’
Sanjeeta’s voice is spellbinding. Her serenades will take you to a promised land where you could wrap yourself in a blanket, sit by a fire and wander within. Wide-eyed with thick lush curls and the voice of a soulful vocalist, the 20-something grew up speaking Hindi, Bangla and English but can sing in Spanish. Adept at Indian classical music, Sanjeeta also moonlights as a Broadway, Jazz and RnB musician. She has experimented with a Latin music band from Kolkata, jammed with Them Clones for a couple videos, and her latest single was a collaboration with Achyuth Jaigopal from the Raghu Dixit Project.
This year, the young and free singer-songwriter will be flying solo. Dedicating time to her writings, she has been ambitiously piecing together her debut EP. She defines her music as something that is experimental/pop/indie/soul— all wrapped into one. But she doesn’t exactly know what genre she fits into, and won’t let go of any one. Her EP will be something of a mix as well, giving us some fresh, whimsical tunes to tap to.
April's already been awesome but there's more from Sanjeeta!
26th April- Duo with Kaushik Manikandan at AMPM Galleria 9pm
27th April- Duo with Rythem Bansal celebrating Jazz Week- International Jazz day! at Cocktails & Dreams, Speakeasy 8pm
29th April- The Latination feat. Sanjeeta at The Piano Man Jazz Club.
Text Hansika Lohani Mehtani