The second half of December saw purely indie releases. Veteran rock bands reinvented themselves with modern sounds, while newbies also make their presence known. A common trait across all songs on this list is that they have philosophical undercurrents.
Komolay Nritto Kore – Koushik And Friends
Koushik Chakraborty is an underrated talent in Bengal’s indie scene. He can command crowds at rock concerts as effectively as owning a Dhaamaeel folk song from Sylhet, Bangladesh. The band took a traditional song and turned it into a solid folk fusion number which has earthly essences as well as the fire of rock music. The song talks about the union of lovers while the music indeed unites the Western and Eastern worlds. The arrangement doesn’t betray traditional roots with Koushik’s voice capturing the folk spirit and the melodica replicating the harmonium. However, the song might have benefited from the use of a few traditional instruments, especially in the percussion department.
Shunya Khatar Gaan – Sahana Bajpaie
A song about stasis, ‘Shunya Khatar Gaan’ perfectly sums up the year has gone by and the people who went into limbo during the pandemic. The video is a beautiful black-and-white animation of city life as seen from apartment windows. On the surface, it sounds like the soundtrack of a melancholic movie, but there’s a silver lining of hope embedded in this slow number. It brings out the sorrow-tinged tales of people who were burdened by hardships that the pandemic created. A mournful violin solo perfectly augments it. But the main dream-inducing soundscape rides on an acoustic guitar and piano on which Sahana’s magical voice creates an undeniable spell. It’s almost as if time stops while the song plays.
Bhrom – Lakkhichhara
‘Bhrom’, meaning misconception in Bengali, is a savage attack at the current state of affairs of the world today. It warns humanity that the mistakes we are committing in the name of progress and development is really an illusion because nature will strike back hard and there is no power greater than the raw force of nature. The video uses chilling clippings of natural and man-made disasters wreaking havoc. The song is a straight-up hard rock number with a guitar-heavy sound. The solo at the end really revs things up to a mighty intensity.
Rongin Prithibi – Slok
A peppy number, ‘Rongin Prithibi’ is a bittersweet song. One on hand, it talks about how colourful life can be. On the other hand, it also talks about how heartbreak can lead people to attempt taking their own lives. The music has happy, feel-good vibes to it. It falls under the alternative rock genre. The bass grooves dig deep into eardrum over the echoing guitar chords and leave the listener with a warm feeling. The video, which flows backwards like Coldplay’s ‘The Scientist’, depicts how a man is driven to take his own life after his partner leaves him.
Sonar Kathi – Taalpatar Shepai
The Kolkata-based duo Taalpatar Shepai seems to have uncovered a secret which guarantees hooking the audience. Their music has an unbridled flavour of joy in it, with warm guitar chords floating below colourful soundscapes created by synthesizer, melodeon and two twinkling ukuleles. The composition follows in the tradition of erstwhile Bengali film songs – melodious and sweet. The vocalist’s voice is light and airy, which perfectly complements the music as he narrates how magical the touch of a lover is. The beautiful video was shot somewhere in the hills, which becomes an added bonus. However, the best part of the song is the unparalleled solo on the ukulele – an instrument traditionally used for playing rhythms.
**The review has been written by – Shaswata Kundu Chaudhuri**