When Saurav Moni sang O majhi re along with Bollywood playback singer Shaan on the sets of MTV Coke Studio earlier this year, he left the audience spellbound. However, Moni refuses to be labeled as just a singer. “I am a storyteller; I narrate tales of lost songs and pay tribute to the river,” says the vocal archivist, strumming on his ektara.
THE JOURNEY Growing up in the rural countryside of the Sunderbans gave Moni the advantage of unlimited access to a vast reserve of melodies by folk singers like Fakir Lalan Shah to Abbasuddin and Hemanga Biswas. Since the late nineties when he was studying at Jadavpur University, he started acquainting urban audiences with folk music. Gautam Ghose’s film Moner
Manush (2010) pushed him into the limelight for his initiative of digging into musical history for little-known gems from remote villages of Bengal and Bangladesh. “Nodir gaan (music of the river) is in sync with the flow of the river; the tempo rises as the river quickens,” he explains. Moni is now working on collecting and archiving folk tunes in the quest of reviving this lost art.
“Saurav puts his heart and soul in his music. There is passion, intensity and yet a rare innocence in his voice” SHAAN, PLAYBACK SINGER