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10 Jul 2018

Pritam spots street singer ...Social media links sarangi player with Bollywood

Santosh Gandarba with Pritam Chakraborty in Mumbai
RAJEEV RAVIDAS, TT, Jul 10, 2018, Gangtok: Santosh Gandarba, a street singer and sarangi player from Rangpo in Sikkim, will soon wield the stringed instrument for some new compositions of famous Bollywood musician Pritam Chakraborty.

The lucky break for Santosh came after Pritam saw a video of him singing and playing the sarangi on YouTube.

"I usually sit near Lal Bazar (in Gangtok) and play my sarangi and sing. There are many who take my pictures and video. One Praveshda had apparently posted a video of mine on YouTube. Pritam dada happened to see that and started looking for me," said the 28-year-old street performer.

The Bollywood composer had shared the video on his Twitter account and made enquiries about Santosh.

"I had watched his video on Internet and tweeted about it. I had asked if anyone knew this boy because I liked his voice and the way he played the sarangi. I wanted his name and (phone) number," Pritam said in a video message on the micro blogging site.

The Gangtok-based Deejay Bolo was among those who saw and read Pritam's post and went looking for Santosh. "I had seen him play on the street of Gangtok. I made enquiries and got hold of his name and number. I sent them to Pritam da. Dada wanted Santosh to be taken to Mumbai," said Bolo.

It was Bolo who accompanied Santosh to Mumbai to introduce the singer to Pritam late last month. "To be honest, the travel and other expenses were borne by the chief minister (Pawan Chamling). The chief minister asked me to take the boy to Mumbai and get him introduced to Pritam da," Bolo said.

Pritam thanked Chamling for facilitating the meeting between him and Santosh. "I would like to thank everyone in Sikkim, especially Pawan Chamling, the chief minister, for bringing Santosh to me," said the composer, while promising to feature Santosh's sarangi in his future compositions.

Back in Rangpo for now after spending more than a week in Mumbai, Santosh said Pritam had recorded some of his tracks which could be used later. " Dada asked me to come back to Mumbai and undergo training. I am the lone earning member in my family and will have to make arrangements for them. I will definitely go to Mumbai once dada makes arrangements for my travel."

The Gandarbas are traditional singers, also called the gaainay, in Nepal and sarangi is their signature instrument.

Santosh, too, learned playing the instrument from his family. "Playing the sarangi and singing is a family profession we have been doing for generations. I have been playing the sarangi for 15 years," he said.

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