iconimg Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Rabindranath Tagore's compositions brought worldwide recognition for Bangla music more than hundred years ago. Now, with the growing popularity of Bangla rock and fusion bands, the music from the region seems to have attained a new avatar. While Bangla rock band Bhoomi was recently invited to perform at the United Nations headquarters in New York, Na Jane Koi, the song from Mahesh Bhatt's Gangster, which is an adaptation of the number Bhebe Dekhecho ki released by Bangla rock band Krosswindz is creating waves on the music charts.

"Bangla band industry is huge today. Now with the movie Gangster featuring a song originally released by us, the awareness and interest has increased," says Vikramjit Banerjee the band leader of 'Krosswindz.'

About a decade back, the popularity of these bands was confined to the urban areas of West Bengal, especially Kolkata but now they are performing in different parts of the world.

"Non Bengalis love our music, so do people all around the world," Banerjee says.

Not only prestigious music companies and websites from America such as 'Apple' and 'Broadjam' are selling our music in the west, we are also tying up with major western musicians," he says.

We plan to create a library of thousands of folk songs from different parts of Bengal which have been either lost or forgotten," says Kalikananda Bhattacharjee, lead vocalist of the folk group 'Dohar'.
"Along with the western influences, we have also been influenced profoundly by Bangla and Assamese folk numbers," says Banerjee.

"We have worked in collaboration with Baul (a form of Bangla folk)exponents such as Paban Das Baul as well," he adds.

These bands have created such a craze among the youth of Bengal that now almost all colleges of the state have their own rock bands which write and compose their music.

"With these bands, the youth of Bengal is again listening to its own music rather than getting attracted towards western and Bollywood music," feels Tapan Dey, a college faculty from Kolkata.

"It augurs well for the future of Bangla music and literature," he adds.

"The youth can relate to this kind of music and draw inspiration of doing something on their own. Though in the long run only the truly talented bands will survive and others will be filtered out," says Banerjee.

With more international shows and collaborations in the offing, Bangla band music is sure to attain greater heights in the days to come, say experts.