Prabhat Sarma

Born in 1935 in the Sundaridiya Satra of Barpeta, one of the principal seats of Vaishnava religion and culture in Assam, Shri Prabhat Sarma grew up in an enviornment permeated by traditional music. He learnt Borgeet in the Satra as a pupil of masters like Shri Gangadhar Deva Mishra and Shri Satya Krishna Deva Mishra, and later received training in the music of the Satras under Shri Narahari Burha Bhakat. His teacher in folk music was Shri Jogesh Bharali, and he learnt the classical flute as a student of Shri Gour Goswami. Shri Sarma is regarded as a distinguished performer of Borgeet — compositions of Sri Sankaradeva and Sri Madhavadeva — and of the folk music of Assam. From the early 1960s up to the late 1990s he was a musician first on the staff of the Directorate of the Information, Assam, and later of All India Radio, Guwahati. He performed extensively in Assam during this period and also composed songs for other leading singers. Shri Sarma’s talent as a composer has drawn him to the Assamese cinema, and he has directed music in films including Sarathi by Shri Bhabendra Nath Saikia and Santan by Shri Amarendra Pathak. Currently, Shri Sarma is involved as a guru in Sangeet Natak Akademi’s project aimed at developing the traditional music of the Satras for the staged Satriya dance. One of his unique achievements is the creation of a small museum of musical instruments of Assam, and of a musical ensemble comprising those instruments named the Panchajanya Sankhadhvani. Shri Prabhat Sarma has been honoured for his work by important institutions of Assam such as the Assam Sahitya Sabha, Jorhat, which felicitated him in 2000. He was honoured by the Government of Assam in 2001. Shri Prabhat Sarma receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his contribution to the traditional and folk music of Assam.