Award-winning folk artist says it’s great to be home

Preetam Sengupta and fellow Sarnian Beatchild return Dec. 9 for the annual “It’s Great To Be Home” show. Submitted Photo

Cathy Dobson

When Sarnia native Preetam Sengupta writes a song, he becomes a folk storyteller with a simple melodic style.

But when Sengupta teams up with another Sarnia native, producer Beatchild (aka Byram Joseph), the songs take on hints of hip hop and R & B.

In fact, Sengupta’s new album Patience has ska, reggae and hip hop influences, genres he hadn’t considered before playing his new material for Beatchild.

“We did a remix on Patience with Beatchild’s ideas and we loved it,” he said.

Patience was released a couple of months ago and the collaboration between these two former Sarnians is garnering national attention.

In October, CBC Here and Now chose “Long Way Down” as Song of the Week and another track on Patience called “Dream a Little” won a Folk Music Ontario Award.

“I don’t write and perform for the recognition, I do it for the love of music. But I see how recognition means a lot to family and friends who have been supporting me along the way, and I value that,” said Sengupta during a phone interview from PEI.

He’s been touring since October and will stop in Sarnia on Dec. 9 for his annual It’s Great to be Home show.

It’s Great to be Home, features Canadian musicians returning to their hometown of Sarnia and performing at the Sarnia Library Theatre.

“I love coming home and using the library space,” said Sengupta. “The sound in that theatre is great. I grew up going to story hour at that library.”

He’s a Northern grad who left for university, settled in Guelph, but returns each year to Sarnia for the holidays.

“Growing up in Sarnia, I couldn’t wait to leave,” he said. “But then I learned what a wonderful community it really is. I didn’t realize that a beach isn’t five minutes from your house everywhere else.”

Sengupta, 39, got into the music industry on the business side and wound up recording his debut album after opening for some of his clients.

The song “Lucky Man,” from his first album HopeFull, is about his parent’s house in Sarnia and tells a story of feeling confident and loved at his childhood home, where the front light has no glass covering.

“I broke it as a kid and they never replaced it because they said it would just get broken again,” he said with a laugh.

Sengupta sings and plays acoustic guitar during live shows, making a connection with his audience through banter and music. His performance has been likened to Paul Simon in simplicity and style.

Beatchild, a Juno-winning music producer, is also performing at It’s Great to be Home. He’ll play separate sets on acoustic guitar and piano.

Apart from producing for such artists as Drake, Justin Nozuka and Divine Brown, Beatchild earned a 2012 Polaris nomination for his psychedelic/soul project under the name The Slakadeliqs.

 

IF YOU GO:

WHAT:  Third annual It’s Great to be Home show with Preetam Sengupta and Beatchild

WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 9. 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Sarnia Library Theatre

TICKETS:  $20. At Personal Touch Eatery & Catering 144 Mitton St., Cheeky Monkey 130 Christina St. N. and online www.preetam.ca/shows.