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Friday, May 18, 2012

Tagore Forever

Tagore rules our hearts.
Tagore remains ever significant,
ever relevant.

Like any other typical Bangali, I have lived, breathed,
romanticized, and experienced Tagore,
however, we all do it in our own way,
we discover him in various stages of our life,
uniquely, and yet universally.
Rabindranath Tagore, (or, as we better refer to
the bard as our very own Robi Thakur),
was born on May 7, 1861 (however, we celebrate hi birthday in the traditional way, based on the Bangla calendar or almanac - whereby it is the 25th day of Baisakh - Pnochise Boisakh),
and died on August 7, 1941 (like his birthday tradition we observe it on 22nd day of Shravan - Baishey Srabon).

His famous works include Gitanjali, The Crescent Moon, Fruit Gathering, Lover's Gift, and The Gardener. The prolific creative genius that he was, he wrote umpteen poems, and songs, and stories, novels, plays and essays, and a lot more. Further, his paintings keep enthralling us.
Recently, I have been listening a lot of Rabindrasangeet, and unlike my earlier penchant for the age-old gems sung by thespians like Suchitra Mitra, Kanika Bandyopadhyay, Shantideb Ghosh, Subinoy Roy, Hemanta Mukhopadhyay, Chinmay Chattopadhyay, Debabrata Biswas, and Sumitra Sen (to name just a few of my all-time favorites), I am very much liking the host of contemporary singers, young and energetic, and inspired very much by the traditionalists, yet not in the least hesitant to experiment in a healthy way.
And these young singers' (well, they are not in the same age group, but they have been getting the youth brigade to warm up to Rabindrasangeet, that they surely have in common) efforts I choose to laud and celebrate, and I would very much like to recommend their renditions to my fellow enthusiasts.
Here they are, selected solely on the basis of personal preference of mine (my readers are requested to add their favorites to the list):
Jayashree Dasgupta
Srabani Sen
Srikanto Acharya
Swagatalakshmi Dasgupta
Kamalini Mukherjee
Shreya GuhaThakurta
Manoj Murali Nair
Manisha Murali Nair
Samantak Sinha

Somlata Acharyya Chowdhury
Parama Banerjee
Aniruddha 'Sasha' Ghoshal
Sounak Chattopadhyay
Lopamudra Mitra
Upali Chattopadhyay
Jayati Chakraborty

Endnote: Mention must be made of Bikram Singh (Vikram Singh Khangura) the eminent singer (son of yet another Rabindrasangeet exponent Mohan Singh Khangura) who met with an untimely death in 2009, at the age of 36.

The songs of Tagore sung by Bikram Singh, often without any musical accompaniment, has had many young convertees who have found in his soulful expressions a certain rootedness to bond with. His songs have definitely opened the flooodgates of possibilities to make Rabindrasangeet accessible to all, by sheer emphasis on the songs' true spirit sans gimmicks of any kind.


Vivek said...

A timely post. There used to be many myths about Rabindrasangeet and the way it is sung, these have been busted by the new-age singers especially. And that is something I like. I have recently been moved by Sayak's singing, and also the way Shreya Ghosal, Shaan and Babul Supriyo have popularized some of the old gems beyond Bengal.

Joy said...

Thank you, buddy. Love the recommended singers.

Ronnit said...

Interesting post. I understand Bengali but am not fluent in it. I am a half Bangali, but I love listening to Rabindrasangeet, especially when I am able to follow the lyrics or the ethos.

Pickoo said...

My favorite contemporary singers of Rabindrasangeet are: Srikanto Acharya, Srabani Sen, Bikram Singh and Sreya Guha Thakurta.
When it comes to experimentation in Rabindrasangeet, I liked the efforts of Nachiketa with Ustad Rashid Khan in the Yatra album, and that of Srabani Sen and Kaushiki Desikan in its sequel.

jeet said...

The way Tagore has been ruling the airwaves, particularly in the year past and this year too, might be cool, but the way staid renditions of Tagore songs blare from public address speakers at all the major intersections in Kolkata (thanks to the CM's ridiculous show-offism) - for a year or so - is majorly 'uncool'!!!!! Tagore's soul must have shrivelled up in disgust!

Miimzo said...