Sunil Ganguly

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Sunil Ganguly
Sunil Ganguly (Steel Guitarist)
Born(1938-05-01)1 May 1938
Died12 June 1999(1999-06-12) (aged 61)
OccupationSteel Guitarist
Known forIndian Instrumental Music
AwardsAsian Paints Shiromani award for contribution to music

Sunil Ganguly (Bengali: সুনীল গাঙ্গুলি; 1 January 1938 – 12 June 1999) was an Indian instrumentalist from the city of Kolkata (Calcutta) who played the Hawaiian electric guitar.[1] He created many albums from HMV India, now Saregama India, Concorde Records, Sagarika, during his long career (1957—1999) with his instrumental renditions of Indian Hindi film songs, Classical based songs,[2] ghazals of prominent composers like Mehdi Hassan, Ghulam Ali, Jagjit Singh, Bade Ghulam Ali, Bengali film songs and modern songs, Nazrulgeeti, Rabindrasangeet (Songs of Tagore) and popularised the Hawaiian guitar in India.

Sunil Ganguly did many public performances all over India, including Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Lucknow, Patna, Guwahati, Agartala etc. He did one-man whole night shows in Mumbai, played in College fests like the IITs, Regional Engineering Colleges. He had a big group of musicians accompanying him on his performances, like Sri Y S Mulki, Sri Dilip Roy, Sri Samir Khasnabis, Sri Swapan Sen, Sri Manohari Singh accompanied him on his recordings and performances. He was a regular performer at Doordarshan programs (TV) in Kolkata and Mumbai, AIR (All India Radio), Radio Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

Life and career[edit]

Ganguly was born at Sonamura village in Tripura on 1 January 1938.[3] He moved with his parents to Kolkata in his childhood.

He participated and won the All India Youth Guitar competition.[4] Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan then recommended Sunil Ganguly's name to All India Radio / Akashvani with a letter, and this is how Sunil Ganguly started playing on radio.

He trained in Western music under Oscar Jones, a teacher in Calcutta.

He later trained under the sitarist Pt. Ajoy Sinha Roy,[5] who himself was a direct disciple of Baba Alauddin Khan. Ganguly, therefore, had a profound knowledge of North Indian Classical music. He developed a style of playing Classical Raga-based dhuns and gats on the Hawaiian guitar, which was his own unique style. He was the first to bring in the 'gayaki' style of playing which was non-existent at the time, and this led to the huge popularity of the instrumentals he rendered on the Hawaiian guitar, be it classical based film songs, ghazals, Tagore songs, Nazrul songs, or other popular songs. He played a wide variety of songs in his career, including Hindi film songs, rare songs of Lata Mangeshkar, Ghazals, by Jagjit Singh, Mehdi Hassan, Ghulam Ali, Bengali film songs, Tagore songs, Nazrulgeeti, Bengali songs of composers like Satinath Mukhopadhyay, Shyamal Mitra, Hemanta Mukherjee, Bihu songs in Assamese language.

His recording career spanned more than 40 years from 1957, when he cut his first album from HMV. The Bengali singer and composer, Sri Satinath Mukhopadhyay played a major role in introducing Sunil Ganguly to HMV. Some of his records include 'Ghazal chedi usne' - an album of instrumentals of ghazals by prominent singers such as Mehdi Hassan, Jagjit Singh, Ghulam Ali,'Ibteda' - an album of compositions by Jagjit Singh,'The Classic Touch[6]','Sentimental Journey','The Golden Collection - All Time Greats, Vol I and II','Swinging hits','More hits','Magic Melody','Instrumental Film Hits','Sunil Ganguly (the name of the album used to be his name)','The Singing Guitar' - with Kazi Aniruddha, 'Encore - Electric Guitar','Renaissance - Tunes of Kazi Nazrul Islam on the guitar (the first album he did on Kazi Nazrul Islam songs)' , 'Khelicho E Biswa Loye - Nazrulgeeti tunes', 'Surer Jharna - instrumental of Bengali hits', 'Tribute to Hemanta Mukherjee - Hemanta Mukherjee songs' etc.

Towards the later part of his career, Sunil Ganguly made a few albums from Concorde records and Sagarika Co. (For ex: 'Ei Sundor Swarnali Sondhay - Bengali hits like 'Jibon Khatar prati patay', 'Bhora thak Smritisudhay -Tagore songs' from Sagarika, 'Instrumental Film Hits - containing hits from Betaab, Agar Tum na Hote' from Concord. HMV and other Cos, released some of his best instrumentals in the form of CD, for ex: 'Nostalgia : Ghazal Chedi Usne, Great Ghazals on guitar', 'Nostalgia : Melodies to caress your Heart 'N' Soul', 'Tumi Rabe Nirobe', 'Instrumentally Yours - Tribute to Manna Dey', 'The Best of Bollywood Instrumentals Ever' from HMV (now Saregama Ltd), 'Yaadein' (containing hits of Kishore Kumar and Md. Rafi), 'Golden greats from Yesteryears' from Sagarika.

He was active in giving music classes at his residence, and in doing recordings, until the last day. He took music classes at several institutions in Kolkata like BaniChakra (South Kolkata), Technique Studio (North Kolkata), in addition to the ones at his residence in Garia. Students used to come from far away places to his residence classes, including places like Asansol, Durgapur, Odisha, Tripura.

He was an ardent follower of Swami Vivekananda till his last day. Sunil Ganguly had many disciples, many of whom took the guitar as a profession. The music classes based on his way of teaching are kept going by the creation of Sunil Ganguly Academy of Music, at his residence, run by Sri Aloke Ghosh, one of his disciples.[7][8] Apart from this many of his students like Smt Sonali Nath, Smt Geeta Deb, Sri Shyamal Chowdhury, Sri Amarnath Banik at Agartala, Tripura are continuing to play and teach his style of music to this date.

Remembering Sunil Ganguly on his birthday 1 January 2018.


His Concord Records Label include
  • Instrumental Film Hits LP (1984) 04 0001
  • Renaissance (Tunes from Najrulgeeti) LP (1984) 04 0001
Cassettes from HMV (RPG Enterprises)
  • Ibteda Ever melodious compositions of Jagjit Singh on Electric Hawaaian Guitar (1993) SPHOS 23211
  • The Golden Collection – All Time Greats – Sunil Ganguly Vols 1 and 2 (1994) STHV 842607 and 842608
  • Khelicho e biswha loye – Songs of Nazrul on Electric Guitar (1991) SPHOS 23129
  • Tumi Rabe Nirobe – Tunes of Tagore songs on Electric Guitar (1981) SPHOS 842697
  • Surer akashe tumi je go suktara (Tribute to Hemanta Mukhopadhyay) (1991) SPHOS 23137
  • Surer Jharna – Bengali instrumentals on Electric Guitar (1992) SPHOS 23156
Cassettes from Sagarika Acoustronics
  • Ei sundar swarnali sandhyay – Bengali film songs on Guitar (1996) 31071
  • Bhara thak smriti sudhai – Tagore songs on electric Guitar (1996) 31072
Cassettes from Concord Records
  • RENAISSANCE – Sunil Ganguly plays melodies of Kazi Nazrul Islam on Electric Guitar (1984) CB 02 03
  • FIREWORKS – Instrumental Film Hits (1986) 04004
CDs from HMV (Saregama Ltd) include
  • Nostalgia Melodies to caress your Heart 'N' Soul (2001) – CDF 130310
  • Nostalgia Melodies to caress your Heart 'N' Soul Ghazal Chhedi Usne, Great Ghazals on Guitar(2001) – CDF 130311
CDs from Sagarika Acoustronics
  • Golden Greats of Yesteryears (1996) – C600015
  • Yaadein (A tribute to Mohd. Rafi and Kishore Kumar) (1993) – MILS 012
Digital albums
  • Melodies Forever -[9]
  • Instrumental - Kazi Anirudha and Sunil Ganguly[10]
  • Sunil Ganguly - Puja 93 [11]
  • Sentimental Journey [12]
  • Surer Akashe Tumi Je Go Suktara [13]
  • The Classic Touch [14]
  • All Time Greats - Sunil Ganguly [15]
  • Tumi Rabe Nirabe [16]
  • Sunil Ganguly Nazrul Tunes [17]


  1. ^ "Brad's Page of Steel - Indian Steel Guitar". Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  2. ^ Alexander, Deepa (2 June 2020). "Writer Shreya Sen-Handley becomes first Indian woman to pen an international opera". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  3. ^ "Guitarist Ganguli dead". The Tribune. 14 June 1999. Retrieved 1 April 2007.
  4. ^ "Sunil Ganguly - More Hits - S/MOCE 3007 - (Condition - 85-90%) - LP Record". Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Sunil Ganguly - More Hits - S/MOCE 3007 - (Condition - 85-90%) - LP Record". Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Melody Forever". Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  10. ^ "Instrumental - Kazi Aniruddha And Sunil Ganguly by Various Artistes". Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  11. ^ "Sunil Ganguly Puja 93 by Various Artistes". Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  12. ^ "Sentimental Journey - Sunil Ganguly by Various Artistes". Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  13. ^ "Surer Akashe Tumi Je Go Shuktara Sunil Ganguly by Various Artistes". Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  14. ^ "The Classic Touch Sunil Ganguly by Various Artistes". Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  15. ^ "Sunil Ganguly - All Time Greats by Various Artistes". Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  16. ^ "Tumi Rabe Neerabe by Various Artistes". Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  17. ^ "Sunil Ganguly Nazrul Tunes by Various Artistes". Retrieved 20 April 2017.