The second half of Bengali music review from February saw only one indie release, that too from Shantiniketan. On the other hand, commercial labels have been busy with pop releases, though they could do better by introducing more themes beyond love and relationships.
Oi Uthone – Sahobashe
Veteran singer Rupankar Bagchi evokes myriad sensations in this love song which talks about the ups and downs in a relationship in respect to common space – the courtyard of emotions. Melancholic and sorrowful, there is a sense of regret that is embedded in the core of the song. The string section amplifies this feeling, while the laidback pop music brings out the heart-wrenching cacophony that results from relationship troubles. Delicacy and tenderness accompany every lyrical motif which describes stormy feelings as well as finding one’s other half.
Ek Baar Bole Dekh – Sahobashe
Another song from the same movie Sahobashe, is an upbeat, feel-good song. Though the central theme deals with love once again, this courts the happier feelings of falling in love and being together. A lilting harmonica floats around the entire soundscape like an excited butterfly, while the acoustic guitar sets the template for a fast rhythm, buoyed by dribbling bongo. Sweet fillers on the electric guitar and minimal flights on the flute also light up the song. Though it is pop, the musical elements go beyond to include world music elements in the way it is delivered.
Bohu Juger Opar Hotey – Babul Supriyo, Ustad Rashid Khan
A neo-fusion take on a Rabindranath Tagore classic, the first thing that hits the listener is the absolutely radical soundscape. Ustad Rashid Khan’s classical vocal throws set the bed for the immersion into a world of old and new – the music is fast-paced, hanging tight onto deep grooves on the drums and bass, while a scratchy guitar takes everything else for a spin. Towards the end, all the sounds build up to a big wall where Khan’s vocals are backed by warped guitars and beatboxing.
Supriyo does a mediocre job as his voice, though melodious, lacks the drive that the music possesses. The video, shot in areas near the Howrah Bridge, depicts the protagonist remembering her previous life – the past has been shot in sepia.
Kyano Mon Okaron – Ishan Mitra
Another love song from a commercial label, this song talks about how the heart is unreasonable and wants to play around in illusions and memories. Ishan Mitra’s voice has the requisite emotions that accompany the essence of the song. The music is slow, grounding, and serves to highlight the voice.
There is minimal electronica and a processed voice that plays in the background, adding a sense of surrealism. This song shows the evolvement of pop music to include contemporary, electronic sounds – the sound of the future.
Bekar Bhabna – Toto Kompanee
Another feel-good song on this list is ‘Bekar Bhabna’, which talks about day-to-day life, devoid of complications. One can sway gently to the twinklings on the classical guitar which is the bedrock of the song. Soft beats, bass grooves, and fillers on the synthesizer add sparse sounds to the guitar’s urban folk rhythms. The best part of the song is the catchy melody which reminds one of old Bengali film songs. The video follows an e-rickshaw driver in picturesque Shantiniketan as he ferries different passengers around the sleepy town. The central vibe that one takes back from it is a warm languor.