The instrument, Hawaiian guitar, is played by a few musicians all over the world. It is, however, a versatile instrument. It is particularly suitable for playing Indian Classical music and songs, because of the unique tonal quality of the meend it produces. Being of Western origin, the instrument is equally adaptable to Western music. My association with the guitar started when I was in Secondary level in school and I learnt it for a few years under Sunil Ganguly.
Sunil Ganguly, is one of the few artists who have spent their life devoted to this instrument. He passed away on June 12th 1999, and left behind his incomparable rendition of songs on the guitar. For over 40 years, from the late 50s to his last day in 1999, he produced innumerable albums rendering songs of all kinds - Hindi film songs, Bengali songs by Tagore, Ghazals by Ghulam Ali and Jagjit Singh. His unique gayaki style and rich background of classical music brings out the pathos in every song he rendered on the guitar, be it a ghazal by Jagjit Singh or a film song by Lata Mangeshkar.
Sunil Ganguly expected his students to be serious with the instrument. His teaching was methodical, accompanied by notations. One had to progress slowly from dhuns based on classical music to playing songs. There was no escape until one picked up a piece with taal and with proper playing style.Not many know that, while teaching he would play a song with the interlude music, the complexity of which sometimes exceeded that of the song itself. His personality endeared him to his fans and students alike. His passing away cast a gloom on his huge number of students who revered him like anything.
Amongst the many good students that he produced, some of the persons are Mr. Shyamal Sengupta(lawyer by profession) and Mr. Aloke Ghosh(educator by profession). Sunil Ganguly Academy of Music was formed after the passing away of Sir to keep the music classes active at his residence in Garia. Each year a special show is put up by the disciples to commemorate the birthday of their beloved 'Sir'. The accurate notations created by this musical genius still continues to draw students from far away places and keep his legend going on. Special mention must me made of Jasodadulal Mukherjee, his accompanist on the tabla for decades. He continues to provide valuable guidance to the students of the Academy.