A primary school teacher by profession, Sarbeswar Bhoi has been selected to receive the prestigious Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar by the Sangeet Natak Akademi for his contribution to Sambalpuri music. Chaitali Shome of Orissa POST interacted with this talented singer, dancer, musician and actor to learn about his journey as an artiste and his future plans. Excerpts:
Tell us something about your early life?
I am the only son of my parents Purusottam Bhoi and mother Paan Bhoi. I was born in Rekhpur in Kalahandi and did my schooling from Narlapanghyatsamiti High School. I completed my Plus II (Science) from Madnpaur Rampur College and graduated from the Government Autonomous College in Bhawanipatna.
What attracted you to music?
My career as an artiste began while I was pursuing my graduation. I participated in the Mahavid Sanskrutika Anusthan singing competition in 2002 and won the 1st prize. Later, the members of the organisation Jayanta Behera, Pradip Singh and Sushil Gadhil helped me to get a job at the institution.
Subseqently, the head of Pratibha Institution Gyana Nanda Panda invited me to join his organisation as a singer. My community has trained me in my music and my family supported me in my endeavour to become a singer. In 2006, I started learning Odissi classical from Guru Karunakar Dash and four years later, I took training under Guru Santosh Kumar Das.
What has been your experience during your first music recording?
In 2006, I recorded Pakhanupare Jharana Paani with Subham Music and it made me a star overnight. This led to my first stage show at Jaypatna. I was very scared when I sang on the stage for the first time, but the encouragement from the audience mades me sing like a veteran.
Which genre of music are you comfortable with?
I am more comfortable with folk songs as I grew up listening them. Although I can sing in other genres, I personally prefer traditional Bangri, Boria, Dalkhai, Rasar Keli, Jai Phool, Maila Jada and Ghoomara songs. These songs have inspired me to pen lyrics. I play dhol while singing. Most of Bhoi’s hummable numbers have an extensive use traditional Western Odisha instruments like dhol, nishaan and taasha.
How do you feel on receiving the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar 2017?
I am speechless, humbled and absolutely grateful that the National Sangeet Natak Akademi selected me for this very coveted award. It’s a dream come true. I would like to add that I have also received a national award for acting in Mig Nina, a folk play written by Parmeswar Mund and telecast by Doordarshan.
Tell us something about you dancing talent?
I think I am a born dancer as I keep dancing whenever I sing. My village is so beautiful that people there dance whenever they sing and I am no exception.
What are your future plans?
I want to popularise traditional Odissi folk music across the globe and set up a professional music school where I can train aspiring singers.