Meet Dhaneswar Roy - The Musician who plays twelve Instruments at the same time

Tuesday, 20 October 2020


Meet Dhaneswar Roy - The Musician who plays twelve Instruments at the same time

Nehal Jain | December 19, 2017 11:32 hrs

The wise musicians are those who play what they can master, said Duke Ellington. Assam-born Dhaneswar Roy has mastered the art of playing not one, but twelve instruments, at the same time.

Born in Bajali village of Barpeta, Dhaneswar did his primary schooling from Adarsha Vidyalaya, Dharmatala and went on to Patacharkuchi Vidyapith where he studied till Class 10. He then went to NH College where he completed his higher secondary education.

Belonging to a poor family, Dhaneswar had to face a lot of challenges to complete his schooling. He used to work with the carpenters and contractors who were responsible for the construction work going on in his school so that he could attend classes there. On some days, he used to go fishing in order to sell fish in the market for money to pay his school fees.

He shifted to Guwahati in 1989, and worked as a carpenter to earn a living until he got a fourth grade job at the Sports Authority of India in 1993.

The one thing that has remained constant in Dhaneswar’s life, ever since he was a kid, has been his love for music. Recalling his early days, Dhaneswar told G Plus, “When I was very young, around 7-8 years old, I used to sit on top of buffalos with a flute in my hand and sing Assamese folk songs. In those days, radio used to be the only medium via which I listened to songs.”

In Guwahati, Dhaneswar auditioned for All India Radio multiple times, and finally got selected as a Folk Song Singer (General) in the 4th attempt in 2007. He started performing with a group of musicians from the radio centre initially but after people started leaving the group, he started wondering whether an individual could play all the instruments of folk music and sing at the same time.

Talking to G Plus about the inception of Panchangik Lokobadya Silpi (a term he gave to the practice of playing multiple instruments at the same time), Dhaneswar said, “I have always loved music, especially folk songs. Playing a folk song requires 7-12 artists, but I wanted to be able to play these songs by myself. So I started to practice with 2-3 instruments at a time and it was in 2012 that I finally learnt to play 7 instruments and sing at the same time.”

Dhaneswar initially started with playing the Dotara, but now plays 11 more instruments namely Dogor, Basuri, Juri, Ektara, Mandira, Ramtal, Khutital, Bortal, Nagara, Khol and Mridanga. He sometimes also plays the Tabla and Daina.

Not only does the this musician perform Assamese folk songs, he also performs Kamrupiya Lokageet, Goalpariya Lokageet, Bihu songs, Boro Lokageet, Karbi Lokageet, Bangla Baul Geet, and Hindi songs.

This self taught musician is insanely good at playing multiple instruments at the same time. He has performed at multiple places on multiple occasions over the years. He was invited to perform at ITA Cultural centre during the cultural program of the 12th South Asian Games in 2016. He was also a finalist at the North East Got Talent 2016, and got selected in the city round of India’s Got Talent but he  couldn’t participate in the next rounds due to lack of money. The musician has also been invited to perform on other occasions like Raas Puja, Bihu, and school functions.

Dhaneswar considers Bhupen Hazarika as his biggest inspiration in life; he is also inspired by the songs of Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar. The musician talked to G Plus about his mantra in life and what keeps him going in spite of all the challenges and said, “The only mantra I have is to focus on my passion and follow my dreams no matter how tough the times get.”

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