The second half of April saw indie releases edging out commercial releases. Also, acoustic songs find the maximum space within the folk and rap mixture. Even one commercial song would give indie music a run for its money because of its jealousy-inducing creative aspects.
Oboruddho Diner Gaan – Joler Gaan
The pandemic has seeped into every walk of life. This is best reflected in the songs that have been coming out in the past year. ‘Oboruddho Diner Gaan’ is another example where the singer preaches staying at home as meeting other people has been rendered redundant. Joler Gaan’s typical folk-fusion soundscape evokes contrasting emotions – on one hand, you sway to it. On the other, you are alarmed by the haunting directions the music goes in. The lyrics further say that this is nature’s revenge after the atrocities humans have done against it. The vocal throws are urgent and disturbing – the only relief comes from the lilting flute notes.
Ogochhalo Mon – Taalpatar Shepai
‘Ogochhalo Mon’, roughly translating to ‘scattered mind’, is a song about love and those tender feelings that take over when the thought of someone enters an empty heart. The lyrics talk about finding that person in the whole wide world and returning home together when night falls. The duo Taalpatar Shepai have hit the right formula which numerous other Bengali contemporary artists have been desperately trying to get – their music is melodious, artistically enriching, yet loved by the audience. In this acoustic ukulele version, both play the rhythm but different ones, making the soundscape seem filled while adding sensibilities of lead instruments. The humming adds harmonic layers as well.
Notun Shohoj Path – Bohiragoto
The latest project of Bengali rap, Bohiragoto (meaning ‘outsider’) is a collaborative effort of hip-hop producers Joesjoint and National Animal. The aim of this project is two-fold – one is laying bare the state of affairs in the country today, while the other is propagating a new sound in Bangla trap music. In the song, the lyrics stand in solidarity with farmers’ protests while unmasking the false truths of the population at large. But more interestingly, this is the first instance of electronic beats mixing with Bengali folk music – in this case, Paban Das Baul’s ‘Guru Toh Doyal’ – to create an eclectic fusion that is a huge progressive step for Kolkata’s hip-hop scene.
Goraye Bikel – Barenya Saha
Unsurprisinly, ‘Goraye Bikel’ is another run-of-the-mill love song crafted in the typical mould of Bengali contemporary songs that is peddled by commercial music labels. The arrangement is top-notch with a string section, folk instruments and multitude of enriching sounds playing in the backdrop of a Western soundscape with piano and electronic beats. Though it sounds nice, it fails to capture the imagination as the lyrics fall short of saying anything new. The nature metaphors are not fresh either though is a modest attempt. Where he does score is being able to reproduce the song with the requisite feelings and not just singing as it his job.
Renu – Ei Ami Renu
A song about loneliness in a vast city, the sickening feeling of being left alone by one’s loved one is amplified by the forlorn music played by heavy, brooding chords on the piano and the melancholic movement of the violin and flute. Kailash Kher’s edgy voice, singing the words in a shuddering voice, adds to the dark mood. However, his non-Bengali inflection seems a bit odd but grows on the listener with time. Though a commercial movie song, this is completely removed from its associations as the song is an intelligently produced wonder. This is an excellent example of using sparse instrumentation to make a song come alive and only using what is required.