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King of Ghosts
Soumik Datta (UK), Johannes Berauer (Austria) & Cormac Byrne (Ireland)
  • "An extraordinary fusion of film and music, east and west, old and new…Haunting and exhilarating" ── Pulse magazine, UK

    Specially commissioned by Edinburgh Mela Festival

    Rated five stars by The Scotsman

    Satyajit Ray's classic movie retold through original live music

    Goopy and Bagha are not the most talented of musicians but their passion for what they do attracts the attention of the King of Ghosts, who grants them supernatural powers to literally transfix audiences. During their wondrous adventure in search of listeners, the singing-drumming duo uses the power of music to defeat wizards and win the hearts of two princesses. Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne, a vintage fantasy film written and directed by Honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement recipient Satyajit Ray, was lauded as "India's most innovative movie" when first released in 1969. In this cinematic concert production, composer Soumik Datta, dubbed "British sarod maestro" and "a unique artist in the vanguard of new British music", weaves Indian sarod, orchestral and percussive sounds into a sonorous new score. The enchanting melodies and rich aural textures capture the essence and also breathe new life into Ray's iconic film, projected on a giant screen simultaneously with the live music performance.

    King of Ghosts, commissioned by Edinburgh Mela Festival, saw Datta team up with renowned Austrian conductor Johannes Berauer, award-winning Irish bodhrán player Cormac Byrne, and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra for its world première. The well-received production was subsequently performed with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the annual Southbank Centre's Alchemy Festival to critical acclaim. For this performance, the creative trio collaborates with the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong to innovatively convey the film's profound message: that music and the arts have the efficacy to overcome social barriers, evil deeds, and war.

    Personnel and Cast
    • Film:
      Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne, directed by Satyajit Ray, 1969 (edited version)
    • Composer/Sarod:
      Soumik Datta (UK)
    • Composer/Conductor:
      Johannes Berauer (Austria)
    • Composer/Bodhrán/Percussion:
      Cormac Byrne (Ireland)

    City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong
    A Soumik Datta Arts Production
    Photo credit : Soumik Datta Arts, Souvid Datta, Tom Griffiths, Frank G Brody
  • The Arts Salon Series and Talks
    The Power of Music

    Soumik Datta learned from a young age to play the ancient Indian sarod, a rare instrument made of mahogany and sheepskin and features 19 strings stretched over a fretless metal fingerboard. Over the years, Datta has been meeting new friends through the sarod. Not only does he search out a musical heritage gradually being marginalised in India, he also actively engages in dialogue with musicians from diverse cultural backgrounds. In this demo-talk, Datta plays the sarod as he shares how he discovers the limitless power of music through the collaboration in King of Ghosts.

    Speaker: Soumik Datta (Composer / Sarod)

    In English
    Free admission. Limited seats available on a first-come-first-served basis


    Venue Sponsored by General Education Unit, The University of Hong Kong
    Jointly Presented by


    Pre performance Talks

    Spend half an hour before the performance to learn from experienced art critics and cultural experts on how to appreciate the show.

    In Cantonese
    Free admission on a first-come-first-served basis


    Speaker: Li Wai-chung (Assistant Professor, Humanities, Centennial College, The University of Hong Kong)
    • 19.11 (Sat)
      7:30pm
  • Please refer to Chinese version.
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