“Shei Tumi keno ato ochena hole,shei ami keno tomake dukkho dilem…’’
Yes, a viral song by the legendary Bangladeshi singer Ayub Bachchu even before the word viral even existed. Ayub Bachchu, also is known as AB, whose songs still bring the nostalgia for the days we wish we could go back just to feel them once again. AB had formed his rock band LRB in 1991 and like many other indie artists or rock bands, had gained much importance by bringing the entirely new concept of independent music outside the confines of major record labels. Others like ‘Blood’ and ‘Yonsample’ introduced the craze for indie music among the Bengalis, who otherwise had a very loose concept about this genre.
Where’s the zing?
Rock music of West Bengal originated in Kolkata with Moheneer Ghoraguli, a Bengali independent music group with their distinctive style of “Baul jazz’’ established in 1975. Channels like Asian TV Music and Channel S made their first appearance by telecasting upcoming non-film music stars and band talent hunts. However, in the era of promotion, bands are increasingly crossing the Rubicon where album sales have gone down, and music companies are not benefiting a great deal from digital sales.
Honorarium and appreciation: What’s the right amount?
“Film songs come with a readymade video, while you need to put in a lot of time and money to promote a non-film song,” said Anindya Chatterjee, the lead vocalist of Chandrabindoo. Earlier, there used to be tremendous excitement about band music, which started declining gradually after 2007. Cactus, the very first band who instilled the idea of Bangla rock into the Average Bengali audience with songs like Haludpakhi and Shudhu Tumi elena, has lost out on 30% shows since December 2014. Singers and composers like Jeet Gannguli and Anupam Roy have made an enormous contribution to film music, instigating the producers to promote them which would fetch them more money. Channels like Sangeet Bangla and Music F-Fata Fati started featuring the latest Tollywood updates, promoting their new releases.
Losing partnership also had a significant impact on live shows. Subhajit Mukherjee, the former frontman of Lakkhichhara and Surojit Chatterjee from Bhoomi, a folk music band that had reached the pinnacle of their career after performing at the UN headquarters and the Montreal Jazz Festival in 2006 and 2008 respectively, have made a significant impact after opting out, taking a toll on the band. Currently, indie bands and artists are experimenting with offering something new to the mass audience, who are more accustomed to soft music.
Looking on the bright side
Although there’s no dedicated slot for non-film music either on FM stations or on TV after 2010, few platforms are still present which are ready to give you the opportunity just in case you were planning to start your own band or catch a groove, some of which are listed below :
- Media enterprises like BalconyTV and OML that produces live music properties like the NH& Weekender and Stage42.
- DIY communities like the Dhaka Electronica Scene encourages artist interaction and collaborative learning through both online and offline platforms.
- Club culture forums like the ‘Sound Lab’ from Dhaka,Bangladesh that organises workshops on host production, limitations of performance as well as club culture.
- Live music venues like Vault (95,Desapriya park,Kolkata), Monkey Bar (9th floor, Fort Knox building, 6 Camac Street, Kolkata), Hard rockCafé (Park Mansion, 57A, Park St, Kolkata) are a must visit for all the music junkies! Places where you can sit back and enjoy retro, western classics in an unpretentious atmosphere, a perfect treat to the soul.
When it hits you, you feel no pain
Film music can always be runaway hits, but if you are looking for the soul, you need to dive deep into some real music. As I’ve started with the great LRB artist AyubBachchu, I’d also like to end with his few lines – “ekdinghumbhangashohore, mayabishondhayechandjageekraate, ektikishorcheleekakiswapnodekhe,”…
Never let the dreams die.