How Bengal woke up to 'band' culture in the 1970s, paving the way for a bona fide rock movement in Bangla

How Bengal woke up to 'band' culture in the 1970s, paving the way for a bona fide rock movement in Bangla
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How Bengal woke up to 'band' culture in the 1970s, paving the way for a bona fide rock movement in Bangla

‘Bangla Rock Compendium’ is a multi-share sequence analyzing the self-sustaining vernacular and cultural phenomenon of Bangla rock tune unfolding in Bengal since the Nineteen Seventies, and the pioneering ideas and figures that proceed to stress the movement.

For the Bengali bhodrolok, the time interval ‘Bangla rock’ most often evokes macabre photographs of lengthy-haired, substance-abusing males screaming incomprehensible lyrics into microphones and violently shaking their heads to agonisingly loud tune. On the reverse hand, simply a few of the adolescence of the an identical bhodroloks grew up taking pay attention to these “unsavoury” numbers, adopting them as their non-public and collective anthems.

However earlier than the time interval ‘Bangla band’ grew to develop to be the tour de power in Bengali custom since the late ’90s, it recognized itself by a a lot much less superior moniker — ‘gaan-er neighborhood’ (musical neighborhood). The precept such “neighborhood” became Moheener Ghoraguli, long-established in 1975. By the way, they have been moreover the predominant Indian band who made authentic tune in a vernacular language.

“We wished to make one thing authentic out of no matter existed then,” says Pradip Chattopadhyay, the band’s bassist and flautist. He quotes a line from their tune ‘Ei Shure Bohu Dure’ — “Shob kichu ja ache puronotey (All the items exists in the used)”. Relating to the failed Naxalbari rebel of the late Nineteen Sixties, he says: “At that time, the adolescence became aggravated after their attempt to remake the realm, which became crushed by authorities. Since we couldn’t be vocal politically, we chosen tune to wait on that spirit of resistance alive.”

Their chief, the late Gautam Chattopadhyay, had been actively titillating referring to the Naxalite movement. Naturally, his ideologies strongly influenced their musical philosophy.

Moheen launched three EPs — Shongbigno Pakhikul o Kolkata Bishayak (1977), Ajaana Uronto Bostu ba Aw-Oo-Baw (1978) and Drishyomaan Moheener Ghoraguli (1979) — introducing a vastly authentic sound to an goal market that found it superior to settle for a neighborhood of younger males with guitars, violin, organ and saxophone belt out Bengali songs — that too referring to the quandary of farmers, metropolis existence, a put up-apocalypse world, UFOs, and lack of lifetime of fellow employees with an undertone of leftist politics.

Now not hesitating to experiment, they strong the predominant occasion of individuals fusion in the tune ‘Maroon Shondhyalok’ by mixing a piano-essentially primarily based ballad with a Bengali people tune. The otherworldly psychedelic outro of ‘Ajaana Uronto Bostu ba Aw-Oo-Baw’ became moreover authentic to Bengali tune.

Regardless of the indeniable reality that Chattopadhyay envisioned a authentic cultural scene, Moheen became unable to outlive economically and disbanded in 1981. However their songs persevered to keep on in faculty campuses, good trying others. The seed had been planted.

The motives on the encourage of doing authentic tune in the native tongue have been two-fold — identification and equality. “In the tune trade, contributors best know the names of singers and tune administrators. The musicians — ‘arms’ as they’re often called — who play on the songs are not on the whole credited,” says Gautam Chattopadhyay’s son Gaurab, the drummer of Lakkhichhara. “Baba wished to change that and make tune as a neighborhood the place each individual is equal.”

Whereas Gautam had graced the throbbing nightlife of Park Avenue in the late ’60s together with his English quilt band The Urge, someplace, the Bengali in him wished to play tune in his native tongue best, and not a overseas one. This functionality that, Moheen’s songs had primitive cultural components and affiliation with its land of basis, all strongly asserting their native identification.

Now, one might perchance perchance properly properly marvel why this occurred in Bengal best and not in any diversified share of the nation?

“Earlier, Bengalis mature to direct kobi gaan (songs of poets), then there had been the bauls (people minstrels). Even Rabindranath Tagore took a clear car to chat about his emotions. The whisk to steal out one thing authentic steadily existed as a result of in Bengali songs, the phrases mature and the message conveyed is critical,” says Subrata Ghosh of Garer Math, who had a beneficiant hand in the resurgence of the band movement in the ’90s.

Parallelly, in a newly simply Bangladesh, assertion of cultural identification became fastidiously tied to nationalism. Music became a machine to unify the war-ravaged inhabitants. Doubtlessly the most distinguished settle of this era became singer-songwriter Azam Khan, who fought in the Liberation Battle — a fruits of the Bengali Language Movement which protested the imposition of English and Urdu as respectable languages on (then) East Pakistan.

Common in 1973, Khan’s band Uccharon carried out in every place from film halls to neighbourhoods to starting air live performance occasions. His songs bore the label of wretchedness, blood, poverty, catastrophe of the contributors as well as hope, which the masses associated to. Ceaselessly, bands love Souls and Emotions got here up later in the decade, giving starting to a robust rock scene that’s the largest stakeholder in Bangladesh’s tune trade at the second.

Songs of the liberal, city adolescence

Wait on in West Bengal, nonetheless, the scene wasn’t growing worthy. Impressed by Moheen, a handful of acts love Debojyoti Mishra’s (for the time being a illustrious film tune director) band Bicycle, Nagar Philomel and Ekka got here up in the ’80s.

Apparently, none of those bands perception of pursuing tune professionally. It became merely unthinkable to outlive by performing authentic tune encourage then. So, they on the whole disbanded interior simply a few years when contributors enrolled in primitive jobs. But, their creations admire a sincerity that may best close to from pure passion.

Whereas Bicycle produced a chubby-length album in 1980, Ekka walked a further eccentric course — they carried out best thrice in the mid-80s, nonetheless all have been conception live performance occasions. One became on the theme ‘Mahakasher Gaan’ (Tune of the Universe) held on the Birla Planetarium, whose workers mature all their accessible lights, gimmicks and outcomes to originate visuals to their tune.

However further belief-upsetting became the non-verbal theatre manufacturing titled Acid Brishtir Pore (After the Acid Rain), the place Ekka geared up the soundtrack. Talking referring to the conception, Ekka’s founder Avijit Adhikari says, “When air air pollution reaches a deadly stage, humanity perishes attributable to acid rain and best bushes are left on the encourage of. These bushes fabricate authentic existence nonetheless they’re non-contributors. The bodily movement, countenance and costumes of the performers all indicated that.”

Nagar Philomel, nonetheless, completed a average amount of success with their fastidiously urban-themed songs. “Principally, the lyrical points handled diversified interactions of metropolis dwellers and modern social phenomena of that time,” says Gautam Nag, who penned all of their songs.

Their eponymous album, recorded in 1984, gave negate to the age-used Bengali customized of adda programs at tea retailers alongside the business hurt of the working man in ‘Bijoner Chayer Cabin’. Round this time, the take into fable of a lady in an place of enterprise became steadily turning into acquainted and that found stage out in ‘Kajer Meye’.

Musically too, they broke authentic floor; the peppy title be aware had a fuzzy psychedelic guitar whereas the piano-pushed ‘Priya Mahanagaree’ became one among the predominant circumstances of a Bengali tune made in the blues format.

Their best political be aware, a quilt of Harsha’s Dasgupta’s tune ‘Neel Nirbashon’, often called for taking up palms in direction of the establishment. This best displays Moheen’s indelible have an effect on on bands of that interval. From depicting the lifetime of normal contributors and resistance to extraterrestrial exploration and apocalyptic imagery, the thematic legacy persevered.

The precept indicators of the movement

Now, faculty campuses have been the handiest car for this roughly tune to attain masses. Jotugriher Pakhi, a pop band long-established by some college students from Presidency School, found reputation in this model. Led by tune director Pritam and Parthasarathi Bhattacharjee, their songs love ‘Arjun Sen’ and ‘Chena Kon Borsha Teh Mon’ unfold by pay attention to mouth in faculty fests, wherever they carried out.

Parellelly, golf tools and neighbourhood pujos have been moreover warming as a lot as the perception of hiring Bengali bands for occasions. So by the early ’90s, bands love Cactus, Abhilasha, Paras Pathar, Hamlin’er Bnashiwala, Infusion and Chandrabindoo have been performing sporadically throughout the metropolis.

Gautam Chattopadhyay, an educated filmmaker then, became moreover inching encourage into tune with a collective of younger those that wished to play totally different, authentic discipline material. With funding commissioned for making tune movies of Bangla songs, Chattopadhyay produced the seminal album Aabar Bochor Kuri Pore (After Twenty Years) in 1995 under the title Moheener Ghoraguli Sompadito Bangla Gaan — yet another turning stage for the Bengali band movement.

Its crowning jewel became ‘Prithibi’, the enduring tune carrying Chattopadhyay’s worded prophecy of human alienation attributable to know-how, and the uncooked, rocking growl of Krosswindz’ first lineup.

The system for success lay in the album’s fluctuate. With Neil Mukherjee going through preparations, a blueprint for reasonably a lot of sonic prospects became crafted on the intersection of the East and the West — from acoustic pop tunes, rock and of us fusion to simple singer-songwriter numbers with flamenco components.

In the three albums that adopted — Jhora Shomoyer Gaan (1996), Maya (1997) and Khyapar Gaan (1998) — philosophies on existential existence have been propagated alongside with the uncertainties of a put up-colonial nation. Correct love songs, expressed ultimately, moreover found a place.

A essential songwriting power became Garer Math, comprising Subrata Ghosh and Joyjit Lahiri, furthermore the songs of pioneering singer-songwriter Arunendu Das have been moreover granted a authentic lease of existence. Genuinely, his tune ‘Bhikkhetei Jabo’ became ingeniously dealt with with electrical shuffle blues on the percussive people sounds of dubki and khamok.

Alternatively, a Santhali (tribal) tune became reinterpreted with a satirical outlook on world capitalism in ‘Bangali Korechhe Bhogobaan’. Chattopadhyay moreover painted a forlorn picture of conflict, migration and the refugee catastrophe on ‘Ei Muhurte’ — a situation that’s related at the second, most likely further than ever earlier than. Anti-war sentiments would moreover replicate in the songs of Behala Chowrasta, long-established by Moheen member Tapesh Bandopadhyay.

This melting pot of ideas that became the collective, bloomed under Chattopadhyay’s watchful find whereas the diversified steadily gauged the horizon. “In the studio, we mature to sit down down collectively and direct love we mature to steal out in Gautam da’s house. The essence is that these songs are simply reproducible and sound love they’re being sung spherical the nook,” recollects Ghosh, including that the sense of neighborhood made this tune so accessible.

Although he handed away in 1999, Chattopadhyay’s imaginative and prescient of a movement lingers on. In a sense, the Sompadito albums created circumstances conducive for the explosion of Bangla rock tune on the flip of the century. The handful of bands of the ’80s had now reworked into a clear scene of various bands and collectives who have been exploring authentic and various musical genres.

The movement had in the fracture begun.

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