Education and training
There are actually a few who take a deep plunge into the musical ocean to examine the bedazzling facets. One of them is Swagatalakshmi Dasgupta; her incredible devotion to the music has made her into an icon of dexterity and her voice touches the thousand hearts at one go. She was born in a musical family, being the daughter of Late Shri Pabitra Dasgupta who was an eminent lecturer of Bhatkhande Marris Music College in Lucknow and a disciple of the doyen of Agra Gharana Pt Ratan Jankar and Smt. Subrota Dasgupta, a pupil of Sri Debabrata Biswas, a legendary singer of Tagore songs. She received extensive training in pure Hindustani Classical music from her father Late Shri Pabitra Dasgupta. With a classical resonance fused in her bloodline, Swagatalakshmi completed her M.A. in Music from Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata. She received further training under the tutelage of the great stalwart of Rabindrasangeet Smt. Maya Sen. Later on Swagatalakshmi served at the ‘Rabindra Bharati University’ as a lecturer for few years.
Swagatalakshmi has sung and recorded over 5000 songs, exhibiting her versatility and excellence in different genres of music, be it North Indian classical, Rabindrasangeet, Carnatic Classical, Western music, Scottish and Irish Folk songs, Gazal, Nazrul Geeti, Modern Bengali Songs, Folk songs, Sanskrit Stotras and chanting to name a few. In the year 2006 she recorded the entire Geetobitan (2023 Songs of Rabindranath Tagore) within a span of 80 days to create a remarkable history and a world record for herself. The album is named EKLA GEETOBITAN. Furthermore she has sung and recorded the entire Bhagvad Gita (700 Verses), Sampurna Chandi, Veda in Sanskrit and the entire Geetanjali (Rabindranath Tagore’s creation in English and Bengali). At present she has over 225 albums to her musical credit.
Her latest albums are GITABITAN - An amalgamation of Rabindranath Tagore's songs with verses of Bhagavd Gita, NILAMBARI SAREE - A bouquet of songs of Kazi Nazrul Islam, PACHA KOI PACHANI - a unique musical composition and rendition of Sukumar Ray's ABOLTABOL.
As a composer and lyricist she has given birth to more than 150 songs of different genres. Her challenging experiment with Indian classical, Semi-classical and light Classical, Western classical music, fusion music and modern songs has given her creations a separate identity and a signature style.
Sanskrit Hymns and Stotras
Sampurna Veda (Times Music)
Recitation and chanting of all the Sanskrit hymns of Vedas.
Chandi (Times Music)
Recitation and chanting of Sanskrit hymns of Sri Chandi.
Sampurna Bhagavat Geeta (Times Music)
Recitation and chanting of Sanskrit hymns of Bhagavat Geeta.
Durga Parivaar (Times Music)
An album of Sanskrit stotras and hymns of Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesha, Lord Kartik, Devi Laksmi, Devi Saraswati and Devi Durga.
A film for children directed by Chinmoy Roy, where she contributed as a lyricist and composer for the music.
Very few people know about the literary creations of Swagatalakshmi. So far 3 of her books on poetries and songs are published with the titles as ‘Jhaapsa Holo Taapoor Toopoor’, ‘Duoranir Chithi’ and ‘Aakasher Gaan’.
Awards and honors
In 1985, in a major national level music contest named as ‘All India Singing Talent Contest’, Swagatalakshmi competed with hundreds of talents from all over India and came out first in front of the legendary musical personalities like Naushad, Kalayanji and others. This can be treated as a turning point in her life, which in fact to some extent has a role to force her choose music as her profession and of course as her life. She stood first in Rabindra Sangeet and Bhajan in All India Radio Music Competition (Akashbani) in 1986. She also ranked first in Rabindra Sangeet and Atul Prasadee in West Bengal Rajya Music Competition in 1986.
She has a number of awards to her credit, Promothesh barua Award for best female performance in 1995, Anandolok Award as best Female Playback Singer in 1998, 2002, 2003, Dishari (Film Journalist Award) for best female playback in 1998-99, Uttam Kumar Award for best Rabindra Sangeet Cassette ("Esechho Prem") in 1997, Sailajaranjan Award in 1998 and Cha-Cha-Cha Award for outstanding achievement in music for the decade 1990-99.
She is being honoured with the Millennium Kalakar Award for her outstanding contribution in Indian Music. In 2004, her album of Rabindra Sangeets, "CHENA FAGUN", was awarded as the "Best album of Rabindra Sangeets"(among female artists), Zee Bangla’ television award ‘Bharat Nirman Award’ and Sangeet Mahasamman award from the Govt. of West Bengal in 2013
Swagatalakshmi has won the hearts of the millions of music lovers and connoisseurs across the globe due to her exceptional tonal quality and unique rendition be it Rabindrasangeet (Song of Rabindranath Tagore), or Devotional Songs or Sanskrit chanting or Modern Songs or Ghazals or Western Compositions or South Indian Carnatic and North Indian classical compositions. She sings in 9 different languages (Bengali, Urdu, Hindi, Sanskrit, Telegu, Tamil, Scottish, English, Assamese). She has performed all over the globe.
Swagatalakshmi's musical genius is marked by the fact that she plays the piano in perfect synchronization with her mellifluous singing. Not only that, she composes and plays the musical score for her albums.
A poet, painter, writer, dancer and a choreographer – Swagatalakshmi’s versatility and fluency in all spheres of art has awarded her with international fame, awards and accolades across the globe.
For some years, she was involved in teaching as a lecturer of the Music department of Rabindra Bharati University. Presently she is busy with teaching music to her hundreds of disciples.
She has already signed for posthumous eye-donation agreement.
She is the Music Director, Lyricist and singer in the Film Ding-Dong, directed by Shri Chinmoy Roy.
Swagatalakshmi conceptualised a musical extravaganza ‘The Ramayana’, amalgamating 40 songs of Rabindranath Tagore, keeping in mind the greatness of the epic.
The entire Musical drama was successfully represented at Rabindra Sadan twice. First time, on the birthday of ASHOKERENU on 7 July 2005. She herself participated as Devi Durga. The album RAMAYANA contains about 40 Rabindrasangeets (some partly used, some completely),along with the commentary (written by Swagata Herself)by Swagata and Arjun Chakraborty (Actor).
Every year on 7 July, "ASHOKERENU" comes with a new experiment, of course, beneath the umbrella of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. In 2008, they performed "CHANDALIKA", the well-known dance-drama of the maestro. The most interesting matter about this representation is that all 85 songs are sung by Swagatalakshmi. Besides that, she has performed dance on the stage for the first time as Mother of Prakriti.
The veracity of her tremendous quality is best exhibited through her rendering of 2023 songs of the world famous muse.
On the 75th year of the publication of ‘Geetabitan’ (in the year 2006), consisting of 2023 tuned songs of Rabindranath Tagore, Smt. Dasgupta has rendered the entire ‘Geetabitan’ into 64 volumes of CD in a period of three and half months. The ceremonial release of the CD album named ‘Ekla Geetabitan’ had taken place on 8 August 2006, which coincided with the auspicious ‘Baaishe Shraavan’, the day marking Tagore’s death anniversary. The epoch-making monumental work has been completed in 105 days, which would be a useful guide for researchers on Tagore music.
This is an arduous task and it requires a Spartan endurance, Herculean fortitude of the mind and the agility of the brain and heart. Here she successfully proved herself as the worthy preceptor; it shows her labor is not lost.
And her voice sounds echoing in the heart ‘long after it was heard no more’.
Smt. Suchitra Mitra, the veteran artiste of Rabindra sangeet has said about 'Ekla Geetabitan', "It is the most remarkable experiment, a Rabindra Sangeet singer has ever made throughout the ages. It's just amazing."