The first half of July sees a mixed bag from the blues to rap. And inevitably, there’s the quintessential Bengali modern tune that soaks in the nostalgia, but with modern arrangements.
Mahamarir Sheshe – Ananya Chakraborty
Budding singer Ananya Chakraborty has an incredible sense of embodying emotions through her songs. In her latest single, ‘Mahamarir Sheshe’, which translates to ‘after the pandemic’, she reflects on the suffering and lives lost in the past two years. Yet, she looks farther into a more pleasant future where humanity has overcome this, when the darkness will cease to exist. In the backdrop, a sarod moves tenderly along, rendering magical flourishes sometimes while dipping into haunting motifs whenever required. There’s an overall element of majestic theatricality to the song, which reflects the enormity of the situation we are in.
Bhule Jawa Blues – The Miliputs
A tender, blues composition by this Bengali rock band is bound to turn some heads. While harboured in the ancient tradition of the American musical form’s earliest versions, it has all the polish of 21st century. The lead guitar slides along sensuously with a full, warm tone that reflects the anguishes of lovelornness. Lyrically, the song reflects the time after the departure of a lover and all the gray emotions it accompanies. The song’s best part is its unhurried nature, which belies the band’s young age. It sticks to the script and focuses more on the sum than individual parts, thereby becoming a solid composition.
Niye Jaabo Tokey – Murder in the Hills
Acoustic music always has an ability to bring something fresh to the listener. ‘Niye Jaabo Tokey’ is a prime proof of that – it blossoms like a flower, building on a guitar and a piano bed. The twinkling nature of the music lends the song an uplifting vibe. Lyrically, there is the playfulness of friends and lovers while touching upon the myriad wonders that travel presents to the wanderer. There is ample references to nature – something not much found today. There is also a sense of nostalgia, but subtly, ready to burst forth, but never does.
Chaap Ache Boss – Rupankar, Cizzy
Have you ever seen an old person struggling with new technology? That is precisely what veteran singer Rupankar Bagchi sounds like on this song, as he tries to emulate the phrasing, vocabulary and energy of people thirty years his junior – out of place. Rising rapper Cizzy, who has been garnering a lot of attention, does smooth work in his own parts, but the themes that he is peddling is forced. With the intention of talking about the undeniable fact that life is very difficult today, he gets lost in cliches. The production is good, with alarming soundscapes blaring in the background, and the beatboxing adding a different flavour. But just because rap is in season now doesn’t mean all the fruits are savoury.
Jabar Belay Tumi Ogo – Rupankar
A solemn composition that starts off in a lo-fi mood, ‘Jabar Belay Tumi Ogo’ finds Rupankar Bagchi in his sonorous element. Meandering along like a river, the song is as tender as packed with emotions. And the singer’s trained voice only improves upon the emotion. The arrangement does one better – the string section adds bright splashes of colour to the uniform bed of piano lines. This is the type of song that one would like to immerse oneself on a lazy, rainy afternoon. It is also quintessentially Bengali – the kind of songs one might hear in old black-and-white films, yet with surprising elements of modernity in the music.