Of poets, poetry and songs
Ever thought of tuning in to those faster, rhythmic songs written by Rabindranath Tagore, Dwijendralal Roy, Atul Prasad and Kazi Nazrul Islam in the format of rock music? Well, lecturer turned musician Riddhi Bandopadhyay, specialising in contemporising the works of these five famous poets of Bengal, will be working with a top Bengali band to produce some foot tapping melody targetted at Gen Y who obviously like rhythm in their music.
Bandopadhyay who taught history in a college before she embraced a career in music, her childhood passion, in 2011, has been working on the songs written and composed by these poets for the last four years. The result is an album titled Panchakabir Gaan released by Gerona in 2014.
‘I usually tell my audience the story behind the song, the inter connection between the poets and when they wrote the piece. This appeals to even younger audiences who are always eager to try something new’, Riddhi told Millennium Post.
She also uses the guitar, cello, tabla and keyboards for a large audience to liven up the music made by these give poets.
Having regaled audiences abroad at the Toronto Banga Sammelan in 2013 and London Sharadotsav in 2012, Riddhi chooses songs with care when she performs the city. ‘I sing Tagores Katobaro Bhebechinu or Bhenge More Gharer Chabi or Atul Prasad’s Jabo Na Ghare or D L Roy's Dhano Dhanye Pushpe Bhora which audiences of all age groups can identify with’, she explains. The theme is often love which has a universal appeal.
She's had good teachers all along, musically speaking. From Krishna Chattopadhyay from whom she learnt the nuances of contemporary Bengali songs, to Debiranjan Bandopadhyay for classical music to Devajit Bandopadhyay, her husband for music used in theatre, Riddhi now trains with the legendary classical vocalist Pandit Ajay Chakraborty.
Her inspiration has always been her father Satyaprasad Chakraborty and her husband Devajit who taught her a genre of music.
Bandopadhyay has also taken heart to the rediscovery of Bengali songstresses of yesteryears like Binodinidashi, Angurbala, Indubala, Kanandebi and Chayadebi, who were all accomplished in acting, singing and dancing but came from the nether world of the flesh trade.
The stage show on the life of the songstresses is being conceptualised by Riddhi who is now training some of the talented children of Sonagachi for their upcoming performance in the capital.