Not surprisingly, Reynolds wanted the opportunity to study under Bhattacharya and eventually met him while he was at Ellnora — The Guitar Festival, hosted at the Krannert Center in Urbana, after emailing him for weeks.
“I introduced myself and said I was the one that had been emailing him for a while,” he said. “He ended up giving me a deal for the class really.”
Reynolds — who grew up in Mattoon and now lives in Charleston — will spend a month learning techniques from the traditional Indian lap guitarist, and though he’s traveled throughout the country and internationally — specifically in the United Kingdom — India will be a new adventure for him.
“I have no idea what to expect, but I know I’ll have a place to eat and sleep for a month,” he said.
The region is considered an English speaking area, however Reynolds says during his 40 hours of travel to Kolkata, he’ll be cramming Hindi — one of the languages in the city that’s considered the cultural capital of India.
Reynold’s ticket is purchased and his visa is in hand, however several musician friends decided to help fund his travels by hosting a benefit Saturday night at Top of the Roc’s in Charleston.
Several bands performed with some of the proceeds going into his pocket to help pay for his international excursion.
“Almost everybody playing are people I’ve played with myself,” he said.
The five acts were Motherlode, Resonation Station, Reynolds, Moondogs and Superbad — his own band.
“It’s exciting because I don’t really know what to expect,” he said. “I want to see what the culture is about, and the food — I love Indian food. I don’t know what to expect — that’s the fun of it.”
The Mattoon Arts Council has also offered support to the musician, and he plans to share what he’s learned with others once he’s returned home.