Sunday, June 12, 2011

Midnight, Music And Musings

I was introduced to Bengali music quite late in life. I was already 12 or 13 when I first listened to Rabindra Sangeet; and it was not until the age of 26 or 27 that I discovered the other songs. I have described the discovery in great detail in an earlier post (I was searching the archives of 2009 and 2010 to locate this link but found out that it was written in 2007! How time flies).

Today I can boast of a decent collection of Bengali songs and no longer consider myself inferior -- even if not equal -- to a music-loving Bengali. I preserve the songs like gems because I have searched for them and earned them, unlike a Bengal-bred person, for example my wife, who has inherited them. And the best part about not being bred in Bengal is that there is a new discovery to be made almost every other day.

Tonight I made a new discovery -- a stunning one at that. For years I have been listening to a song, one my favourites, sung by Kishore Kumar and composed by Salil Choudhury for the 1977 Bengali film Kabita:

Shono shono go shobe shono diya mon
bichitro kaahini aek kori boronon...

I have never watched Kabita, but I don't need to see the film in order to like the song, which I have always liked for two reasons. One, Kishore Kumar is in his elements in this song -- he throws his voice not only out of his throat but also his heart and soul. Two, I was very familiar with the tune. Salil Choudhury had used it way back in 1966 for a famous song in the award-winning Malayalam film Chemmeen, which went in the voice of chorus as:

Kanaa poomeeninu povana thonikkaraa
Maanathe ponvala veeshana thonikkaraa...

And in the very next stanza, Yesudas takes over (now the tune is that of the Hindi song, Baag mein kali khili bagiya mehki from the film Chaand Aur Suraj):

Chaakara kadapurathini ulsavamaayi chaakara
Thera purathini malsaramaay...

So Salilda had separated his landmark Malayalam song (composed in Woodlands Hotel in Madras) into two more famous songs, one Hindi and another Bengali.

We are talking about the Bengali part here:

Shono shono go shobe shono diya mon
bichitro kaahini aek kori boronon...

What a full-throated song by Kishore Kumar! How he breathed life even into Bangla lyrics! But did you know who sang this song on the screen? Kamal Hassan! Here, watch it.

So that's the discovery I made tonight. I am sure many of you might already know it, but please don't kill my joy.


Anonymous said...

and while i thought you were returning to your roots,comes kamala hassan into the picture.

mix of both worlds-now you are some Indian!

Sepiamniac said...

He is one composer whom i haven't explored much. However, my fav of Salilda is the one from the film Maya Jaa re ud ja re panchi by Lata

And then followed by Anand and Annadata songs.

Would like to know more about his works.

Madhurima said...

This is one of my favourite song. It was nice listening and watching it after a long time.
"Music loving bengali"- Who are you, my dear friend? You are a bengali it doesn't matter whether you are born in Kolkata or Kanpur.Like your wife I am also born and brought up in kolkata, but I have not inherited music just by being in kolkata. Music is something you like.You inherit music from your parents, your environment at home. My 8 year old son is an American citizen who has never been to kolkata and he loves Rabindra Sangeet.

Sudeep said...
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Ardra said...
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Anonymous said...

Beautiful! Chemeen is my favourite.
I think Kabita is a remake of K Balachander's Aval Oru Thodar Kathai which was remade in several languages and had Kamal in every one of them.

Aside, BG, this one is not so impressive, but thought I'll share A R Rahman's Bangla gaan.


Anonymous said...

I am sorry!

Here is the link


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