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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

A statement of her inheritance

Update : 18 Feb 2016, 10:23 AM

What made you choose the songs on your CD, and why in that order?

Inheritance contains nine songs by Rabindranath Tagore, Atulprasad Sen and Kazi Nazrul Islam. It has been published by Impress Audio Vision in Bangladesh and is available at their outlets, as well as on iTunes, GooglePlay and Cd Baby. Even though my orientation has been in Rabindrasangeet, I have always wanted to broaden my horizons and take up new challenges. I think Atulprasad's songs serve as a perfect bridge between Tagore and Nazrul and I have attempted to gradually build up my understanding and delivery of those two genres. I thought having the songs in that order - first Tagore, then Atulprasad, then Nazrul - would make the transition from one composer to another smoother and more pleasant for listeners, while allowing them to savour the unique genius of the musicians. This also places the composers in a chronological order (though Tagore outlived Atulprasad Sen by a few years) and it's quite interesting to see the evolution of Bengali music through their work, to trace how each has defined their own style and shaped the musical landscape.

I have consciously chosen songs which very typically represent each of the genres in order to celebrate their individuality – Heriya shyamaloghono (Tagore) to Padmar dheure (Nazrul) is a very broad canvas, stylistically. I didn’t want listeners to feel disoriented.

What inspired you to make this album?

I am incredibly fortunate that my first album received an excellent response, particularly on social media, with tracks selling quite well on Amazon, iTunes and so on. Since working on that album, though, I had a long stretch at work without performing for a while, so I wanted to get back into music in a big way. I took a sabbatical from work to go to India and focus on my music. The opportunity to work on this album came up at that time and I grabbed it with both hands.

What does this album say about you – what are you trying to convey to the audience?

I see this album as a statement of my inheritance, one I'm incredibly proud of, hence the name of the album. These tunes, these words are so intricately beautiful, so individual. I want to capture them, pass them on to the next generation, just like our predecessors have to us. It takes the apathy of a single generation to lose these musical treasures forever. Let us not be that generation

Did you also get involved in the musical arrangements?

I have quite strong views about how I want my music to be presented! Sarod maestro Prattyush Banerjee, who arranged the music, has been somewhat of a mentor to me since I worked with him on my first album, A Bloom in Vain and other songs. He is a musician I have a great deal of respect for who also knows my taste and my style well, so I was quite content to leave the arrangement largely to his judgement. We've kept the soundscape quite traditional but have also used the guitar in some of the tracks. I'm delighted with the result. It was a joy to work with Goutam Basu (sound engineer at Studio Vibrations) again and the rest of the musicians were truly amazing.

How does being a singer fit into your work as political director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance in UK?

With difficulty! Looking after the media operation of a busy political pressure group means early mornings and late nights, which leaves me with very little time to practice and so I have to manage my time really carefully. Also, my work requires the constant use of my voice, be it at media discussions, interviews or simply speaking to the press, so the voice can get very tired. But I sing because I know no other way to be. It isn’t really a choice for me!

What are you listening to right now?

I am listening to Khairul Anam Shakil's Nazrul compilation Benuka. I'm hooked on the title song, Benuka o ke bajay. It's playing on a loop! That is how I listen to music, if something touches me I'll listen to it continuously for hours. It puts me in a trance.

What would you say to encourage people who are interested in becoming musicians but also have another profession like yourself?

It's not easy, but don't lose heart. If you have music within you, nurture it. It'll see you through the darkest of nights and the loneliest of times.

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