‘One of the biggest new music talents in Britain’ (Vogue) and winner of the 2022 Aga Khan Music Award, Soumik Datta is a visionary musician with the ability to cross boundaries, cultures and art forms. A sarod virtuoso, bandleader, TV presenter and Artistic Director of the Soumik Datta Arts charity, his work embraces traditional and contemporary art forms to address the urgent issues of our times.
One of the last disciples of the sarod legend, Pandit Buddhadev Das Gupta, Soumik is now acclaimed for extending the reach of the sarod, collaborating with refugees, mental health and climate change practitioners as well as artists from disparate global traditions including Beyonce, Jay-Z, Nitin Sawhney, Akram Khan, Anoushka Shankar and BBC Singers.
Soumik’s 2022 production ‘Hope Notes’ weaves real life stories of refugees with sarod, strings and electronica. The critically acclaimed work co-produced by Southbank Centre raises awareness about displacement and refugee mental health issues.
To commemorate 75 years of Indian independence, Soumik was commissioned by BBC Singers to compose a new score for choir and sarod titled ‘Awaaz’ - or 'voice' in Urdu. In the same year, the British Indian restaurant brand Dishoom commissioned Soumik to compose new sufi inspired music for their first of a kind ‘75 years: Partition’ events.
Responding to the climate crisis, Soumik directed and scored ‘Songs of the Earth’ an award-winning animation film about a young climate refugee from Bengal searching for her father across burning forests and melting glaciers. Commissioned by British Council, the film premiered at the UN climate conference (COP26) and at No.10 Downing Street.
On television, Soumik presented 'Rhythms of India' a BBC 4 series exploring the classical, folk and contemporary music of India. Previously, Soumik and his brother Souvid Datta (filmmaker) directed 'Tuning 2 You' a six part series for Channel 4 filming the stories of under-represented musicians from rural India. Both shows have been seen internationally by an audience of millions.
During lockdown, Soumik produced the YouTube series 'Silent Spaces' filmed and recorded inside 8 cultural venues that were closed during the coronavirus pandemic. Venues like the British Museum and Royal Albert Hall opened their doors to Soumik and his creative team who broke the silence of these iconic cultural spaces with new music videos that addressed the mental health issues of the creative community during the time. The project was accompanied by a behind the scenes radio show commissioned by BBC Radio 3 and employed over 80 out of work musicians and dancers through the Soumik Datta Arts charity.
Soumik’s previous highlights include performing at BBC Proms, Glastonbury Festival, WOMAD, Singapore Arts Festival, St Paul’s Cathedral and compositional commissions for British Film Institute and Shakespeare’s Globe.