From a song disguised as an audio play to a devotional song released by a commercial music label, the first half of August saw surprising releases. Rabindra sangeet, however, still reigns supreme especially when it is being re-interpreted with newer and attractive arrangements.
Bashonar Oli Goli – Borno Anonyo
A stark reminder of how different interpretations of art can lead to completely different meanings, this cold yet powerful song by Borno Anonyo will creep into your bones and make you come face to face with unwanted things that you brush aside from your consciousness. Combining two of Rabindranath Tagore’s works ‘Ghore Te Bhromor Elo’ and ‘Bnashi’, this song has been scripted out as an audio play. It brings to light the pathetic plight of society’s downtrodden. The music is sinister and sorrowful, always staying in the shadows.
Ajana Highway – Prithibi
Bengali rock band Prithibi is back on track with a fiery rendition called ‘Ajana Highway’. Translating to an unknown highway, it is a travel song. The music is hard rock with some throwbacks to ’80s styled synth playing. The lyrics talk about meeting similar souls on the journey of life and holding out our hands for them so that traveling can be done together. The guitar solo slyly takes off from a low-end sonic wave which keeps rising and rising on a bed of warped synth and guitar lines, out of which an incinerating guitar takes flight. It is an absolute delight and will remind the listener of good old rock ‘n roll.
Rating – 8.5/10
He Prabhu Loknath – Sourayan Ghosh
Usually, devotional songs are not talked about much or released by labels for that matter. But as music label Amara Muzik Bengali decided to release a devotional track on the occasion of Janmashtami, it must be put under the lens. Devotional songs usually are known for their folk essences and swaying rhythms, but in this instance, the song has been taken and made into a shoddy commercial product including instruments which are traditionally not used for this musical genre. Dropping pop elements and even a santoor to spice up the soundscape doesn’t necessarily make the song a winner, especially when the vocals aren’t at all moving.
Sohono Gohono Ratri – Atreyi Majumdar
Rabindranath Tagore is an entity that is intricately interwoven with Bengali culture at large, especially when it comes to music. There’s a separate genre of music called Rabindra sangeet. Now, his age-old songs are being discovered anew by every new generation. Today, electronic effects and beats find their way into a soulful rendition of ‘Sohono Gohono Ratri’. Quite a slow-paced track, the musical bed is piano-based and a distinct orchestral arrangement takes over in the interlude. However, Atreyi’s voice is the element which scores brownie points with its poignant vitality.
Tumi Toh Shei Jabei Chole – Jayati Chakraborty
Another Rabindra sangeet to have found its way on to this list, this particular track is in between two different musical schools. While the vocals have the typical touch of traditional Rabindra sangeet, the music is rather daring. Using both Western and Indian classical elements, the soundscape is a breath-taking experience. The flute and twinkling notes of the sarod bring out a shimmering feeling while somber chords and orchestral movements remind one of chamber music with violins and a brooding cello. Nevertheless, such renditions will only pique the interest of young listeners, especially when Bard’s words are brought out so flawlessly by veteran singers like Chakraborty.
*The above review has been submitted by Shashwata Kundu Chauddhary