Around the world with Bengal’s folk music
Indian folk music is a diverse sphere and in it Bengali folk has a significant position. Taking this indigenous musical form across the globe, singer Mihir Basu, along with his group Saptak is creating major ripples through experimentation. In their recent presentation in the Capital, where they paid tribute to Rabindranath Tagore, the choir used vocals in place of instrumentation as interludes and preludes to a song. “Music is constantly evolving. The songs that were created 100 years ago had the taste of rural India, prevalent of those times. With the changing scenario, you can’t expect that style of music to be appealing. That’s why, keeping the original notations intact, we have worked on the background music to give it a unique modern touch,” says the singer, who believes in staying true to the roots.
The Delhiite musician, with ancestral roots in Kolkata, is aptly assisted in his endeavours of reviving rural music by his wife, Bishakha, who is also a trained singer. Basu laments the fact that though a huge number of Bengalis stay in Delhi, Bengali music hasn’t gained much popularity here. “The Bengali youth, living in the Capital, doesn’t listen to them. That is because we haven’t been able to present folk and other forms of Bengali music in an interesting form. Rigidity to a certain style will not help in making music popular. We need to adapt new forms of music and be open to experimentation. In my music, I have continuously tried to do that.”
Saptak, the four-year-old band has singers from all walks of life who after their regular work have dedicated time to music. Bishaka, says, “From scholars, engineers to homemakers and school students, our group is a mixed bag. We have come together to enliven Bengali music and instill interest in it.”
Singer Bishakha Basu
Singer Mihir Basu