Bikramjit was born to an aristocratic family in Imphal. His two older siblings, both of who are musically inclined, inspired him to take an interest in music but like most boys his age, he was more interested in outdoor activities and sports. He was particularly fond of football. He used to play regularly but all that changed when he had an accident. He was around 8 years old when he fell from a tree and had to undergo treatment for multiple fractures. ‘That was when my father told me, “Bikram, you have to start playing the flute.” They didn’t think that I would ever be able to continue boxing or playing football, both of which I loved a lot.’ Even though he had to give up on the things he loved most dearly, the flute seemed to open new doors for Bikram. ‘By the time I turned 13, I was a professional flautist. I used to play for All India Radio and Doordarshan.’
When he was 22 years old, he moved to Pune to complete his masters in archaeology followed by a PhD. Soon after, he started focussing more on his music career. He has collaborated with many renowned artistes such as Karunesh from USA, Ronnie Benise from USA, Jorgon Ohnemus from Germany, Chinmaya Dunster from Great Britian, Atasa from Japan, Zhubin Kalhor from Iran and more. ‘I have played with about 400 to 500 people, I don’t think that I will ever be able to list them all.’
In 2007, his album Himalayan Whisper was listed for the Grammy in World Contemporary Music. The album features Meetei, Assamese, Naga and other folk music from Northeast India.
He hopes that his music will encourage people to find out more about the region. ‘Whenever I go aboard, they ask me about Northeast India and Manipur. They think Manipur is located somewhere near Singapore. I want to promote the beauty of Northeast India to the world. After listening to my music, they feel inspired to visit the region and that is the best compliment.’
Bikram is also the founder of the fusion band, NAADBRAHMA. The members are from different parts of the country namely Amod Kulkarni, (tabla player, composer, sound engineer ); Nikhil Mahamuni (keyboardist, music composer) Premmurty (percussionist); Anand Todkar (drummer); and Vineesh (Kottakkal Bass) The band had played at many major events including The Commonwealth Games, SAABC Submit, Lakme Fashion Week, Blender’s Pride Fashion, Dubai Fashion Week and the like. ‘We play world music although the foundation can be said to be Indian classical.’
Bikram will embark on a world tour called Dancing Flute Meditation which aims to promote dancing as a form of meditation. Dancing meditation is not only becoming very popular among the youngsters but among people of all ages. This year, he will also be releasing many new videos featuring world percussion sounds, something very different from his earlier tracks.
Did You Know?
- In 2007, his album Himalayan Whisper was listed for the Grammy in World Contemporary Music category
- Founder of the fusion band, NAADBRAHMA
- His album Dancing Flute was nominated for GIMA award
- Has performed at over 1700 shows around the world
By Meeta Borah
This feature was first published in Eclectic Northeast November 2017 issue