Sharmila Roy, internationally acclaimed Tagore scholar & singer
Sharmila Roy grew up on the idyllic campus of Vishva Bharati University, Shantiniketan, which was founded by Nobel Laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore (1913, in literature). This resulted in her experiencing Tagore’s music, poetry, dance dramas, and his world embracing philosophy as part of everyday life at the Ashram-like setting of this school. Besides receiving her formal degrees from Calcutta University (English) and from Shantiniketan (Graphic Arts), she studied Tagore songs and classical Indian music in Shantiniketan and in Kolkata. She came to Paris in 1975 on a French government scholarship to study art after which she did her Doctoral studies at the Sorbonne, Paris.
Sharmila’s beautifully evocative voice has enriched the works of world class directors like Satyajit Ray (JanaAranya/Middleman), Nacer Khemir (in Bab’Aziz), Peter Brook (in The Mahabharata) and others. She has adapted and directed several dance dramas of Tagore in French, besides translating into French works by Kazi Nazrul Islam, Lalon Fakir and the wandering Baul musicians/minstrels of Bengal. She has done French subtitles for Satyajit Ray’s films, participated in several documentary films and has written on the music in Satyajit Ray’s films for such publications as “Positif”, a French cinema journal.
She has a wide discography, starting with Grammophone Company of India and RPG, Virgin, Real World, ALM Kojima, EMI, Erato Warner, Prime Records, Long Distance, Disques Meys, Adarsh Media, etc. She has represented India in many international festivals and collaborated with contemporary dancers and composers of different traditions and cultures such as the Battery Dance Company, NY; Kudsi Ergunar of Turkey; Annemarie Porras of France, etc. She also performs for All India Radio and the Indian national TV.
She has worked with Olivier Messiaen at his workshops at the Conservatoire de Paris.
Currently, she teaches musicology at L’Inalco, the Sorbonne, Paris.