Sunday, August 19, 2012

Music Monday- U.D. musician prepares for tour in the Midwest.

  Upper Darby musician Eric Carbonara
Upper Darby musician Eric Carbonara is perparing to tour the Midwest with a world re-known classical Indian artist this fall.

Carbonara will be touring with Debashish Bhattacharya, a Grammy-nominated musician known for his traditional Indian music and use of lap slide guitars. Bhattacharya is a 2009 Grammy nominee for best traditional world music album for Calcutta Chronicles.

This is Carbonara’s second tour this year, following a caravan of dates throughout Europe in the spring.
A student of Bhattacharya, Carbonara illustrated the notoriety performing for him brings.

“We get along really well and he likes that I’m touring and trying to make a career out of it, so he likes to help me out when he can,” he said. “He’ll let me open for him, play like 15 minutes, but 15 minutes in front of him is like ‘whoa’ playing in front of 1,500 people.”

A love for Indian music came when he studied abroad in New Zealand in 1999. An anthropology student at Pennsylvania State University at the time, Carbonara was slowly being introduced to islander and Indian music and his professor referred him to the Ali Akbar College of Music in California, where he would eventually study.

Carbonara first met Bhattacharya in 2008, doing a week-long workshop with him in New Jersey. He moved to Calcutta, India that winter for an additional four weeks of training at Bhattacharya’s school. In 2010, Carbonara went back to India for an intensive session that lasted six weeks studying the chaturangui, a 24-string guitar Bhattacharya created.

“I spent six weeks literally just sitting in a room, more or less just staring at the wall, with exception of the lessons.” he said. “When I wasn’t having lessons I was either in my room practicing for hours and hours a day, or having tea on the balcony.”
Carbonara's second LP, The Paradise Abyss,
was released in 2010

Despite living and learning all over the world, the ease of life in Upper Darby has provided a good living for him as a musician. If it weren’t for the diversity of Upper Darby, “my music wouldn’t sound the same.” 

In addition to Indian music, his musical repertoire includes flamenco music and 20th century guitar composition. This is more diverse than the music he grew up with.

Carbonara had a considerably quiet upbringing as a child. His family didn’t play any instruments, or play music on the radio.

Then at eight years old, his parents bought him his first guitar for three dollars at a yard sale. It wasn’t the greatest guitar, but it was a start for this musician.

Today, Carbonara has a living room filled with vinyls and CDs, and guitar cases cover the floor in an adjacent room. There are a few more guitars that he owns but aren’t out in the open. A vinyl record sits on top of his piano placed against the wall, but he doesn’t tickle the ivories regularly, just to get a base for his compositions.

A pedal steel that has barely been played also sits out among his instruments. He hasn’t learned to play it, but he’ll get around to it.

This is certainly a change for the boy who grew up in State College left to blast music in his own bedroom.

“It wasn’t like my family from ‘Footloose’ or anything, but I had always been encouraged not to play music. They had no frame of reference of why I would care about something so deeply that would not make money.”

In addition to touring, Carbonara has released two self-produced albums, the most recent was The Paradise Abyss in 2010. He is currently working on new material for an upcoming album.
For more information on his music and fall tour dates, go to 

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