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Discover & Connect - Interview on Kaushik Dutta

Kaushik Dutta, Founder/President of MusiConnect Asia.

He Talks about his experience, thoughts, and vision.

Dear music lovers, How’ve you been? Wind Music is thrilled to announce its membership with MusiConnect Asia, a prominent international organization catering to the music industry of Asia. We had the opportunity of interviewing the founder and current President of MCA, Kaushik Dutta a Kolkata-based music festival curator, promoter and producer who has devoted his career to music for over three decades and continuing to do so with the same motivation and zeal in this rapidly changing music industry.

Picture of Kaushik Dutta, the President of MusiConnect Asia

MusiConnect Asia’s flagship project, the 3rd Asia Music Summit will be held at Ulsan, Korea from 19 to 21, May. The program director of the World Music Festival @ Taiwan, Peiti Huang will attend the conference along with 12 other international delegates to initiate future plan of action through a series of discussions and meetings.

A Career Started with Passion

Music has always been Dutta’s passion. As a multi-instrumentalist, his expertise in music not only lies with being a musician but also with producing, composing music for various art form including theatres, Bollywood films, documentaries, and dance theatre productions. His global recognition eventually led him to participate at several global music events, festivals and initiate innumerable international collaboration.

According to a United Nation survey, the Indian population is estimated to overtake China in April, 2023 and become the most populated country in the world, reaching 1.42 billion people with over 100 languages spoken in the vast subcontinent country that possessed 3rd largest area in Asia. Under this geographic background, Dutta relentlessly worked towards the promotion of music, he believes in discovering and connecting which eventually led him to strengthen his global network.

Culture Prior To Music

He is the artistic director of Kolkata International Music Festival which is running since 2008. The initial idea was to provide a platform to the rural artists, whose talent and potential are often overlooked and underrated. Apart from the Indian rural artists, the festival also presents international bands. So far the festival have featured over 100 folk forms. “Some of these forms have moved towards extinction by now”, said Dutta. Emphasizing on the importance of cross-culture collaboration, Dutta exclaims. “Are we doing justice to Cross Culture Collaborations? When you have musicians from two cultures who are both open minded and able to break down any pre existing musical barrier that may exist between the genres then there is a possibility to create music which celebrates and promotes the very best of both cultures. Collaboration needs time.”

Kaushik Dutta learning the notation of Yueqin, the Taiwanese traditional lute.

"In The Midst of Every Crisis, Lies Great Opportunity."

When asked about the experience of organizing a festival, Kaushik simply begins by saying “It is not an easy task.” Challenges - including a series of complex tasks from logistics, trouble shooting, adhering to environmental restrictions, to fund raising. The pressure of things getting postponed or even cancelled at the last minute is constantly occupying the curator’s mind. Mr. Dutta’s worst nightmare was the cancellation of his event when it was interrupted during the 2016 Indian banknote demonetization crisis. The 2016 edition of Kolkata International Music Festival and India Music Meet had to be called off just one month before, due to the crisis. So much so, the organization was on the edge of declaring bankruptcy. That was the time when Dutta steered his focus and vowed to carry on, with another international project. With a strong determination and will power he stepped out of his own territory and in 2018 founded, MusiConnect Asia, a platform which has been successful in spreading its network globally at a rapid speed in the past five years.

Focus on local opportunities

Over the years, regional music events, as compared to large global events, have grown drastically. Dutta is conscious of this trend and points out, that the phenomenon can be seen as a response to the greater need for regional music markets. A massive exchange of knowledges, opportunities, networking takes place at these events. A series of know-how that goes beyond the musicianship is proposed through panels, workshops, conferences. Dutta emphasizes,”Importance of regional festivals or music market events is twofold - one is it is much easier for the local talents to come to these events because of less transportation cost. In terms of international delegates it is the opportunity to see a pre-select, very focused greatest bit of information on music in its natural set up inthe shortest period of time. This music markets are an opportunity for people to come and learn more.” Dutta also adds that regional events can be easily bundled with local tourism. “Tourism-music-culture are all intertwined very tightly.” “Non-musical entertainments such as workshops, art exhibitions,culinary explorations also plays a very significant role in music festivals to attract visitors, this means more footfall which eventually leads to the success of the event and also expand social reach.”

Few suggestions for artists

As a talent discoverer, Mr. Dutta has years of experience in searching artists and managing art career. He made a few suggestions for artists in terms of touring and stepping onto the global stage.

Wind Music organized the 2022 edition of the World Music Festival @ Taiwan, and had the honor to invite Kaushik Dutta as an international delegate to the festival. Through the exclusive tour and guidance planned by the Wind Music team, he had a chance to explore intimate music and local indigenous culture. At the Taiwan Yueqin Folk Song Association, he had the chance to experience the moon lute, a traditional Taiwanese instrument, and listen to the Maestro’s live performance closely. The visit to GongLe Traditional Music Club provided another extremely sensational approach to Taiwanese folk music. All of these phenomenal events organized by Wind Music were made into a retrospective video by Dutta.

A retrospective videos of the 2022 World Music Festival @ Taiwan by Kaushik Dutta.

As the trip was his first time in Taiwan, Mr. Dutta was fascinated by how small the country is and meanwhile how diverse the cultural heritage is. “The festival was an eye-opener for me as I was encountering local bands and the immense potential they have,” said Mr. Dutta. As this was his first trip to Taiwan, Dutta was fascinated by the diverse cultural heritage of the country. “The festival was an eye-opener for me , the local bands are extremely talented and have immense potential ”said Dutta.

By joining the network built by MusiConnect Asia, Wind Music will get connected to Asia and beyond and will have the opportunity to tap unknown territories at the global level. Local artists can explore touring possibilities through this network. Possibilities of collaborations from in-person sessions to remote musical collaboration will open up.

We look forward to the new opportunities and believe that our partnership with MusiConnect Asia will bridge the gap to reach out to the music fraternity of Asia through MCA’s multiple initiatives.

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