Around the world with Ben­gal’s folk mu­sic

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Lifestyle - Na­banita Das na­banita.das@htlive.com

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

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