'Fusion is a very wide term'

'Fusion is a very  wide term'

He has made his mark in Bollywood with songs like Kyun in Barfi! and Jiyein Kyun in Dum Maaro Dum. He also deserves full credit for introducing the masses to the folk sound of Assam with his independent work.

Angaraag Papon Mahanta, the young Assamese rock star, was in town recently for Octoberfest, where he gave a performance that had everybody off their feet.
He talks to Metrolife about his parallel music careers, stating that he does not prefer one over the other.

“Independent music is where I create my own stuff — that’s my own story. The Bollywood work is someone else’s story, but I’m narrating it. I’ve been lucky enough to get good songs that I can relate to and that suit my voice and attitude,” he explains, adding, “I don’t believe that Bollywood is just one style. I’m happy doing both styles if I get good music coming my way.”

The only difference, he feels, is that Bollywood is marketed more because of the money involved and hence, gives more visibility to the artiste.

“I’ll try to keep the balance and maybe take the help of the big boat to pull along the small boat,” explains Papon.

He knows that he gets commercial (Bollywood) songs only because of the independent music that he started with. “In my own music, I go from classical to folk to rock and electronica. I can do different styles and am a producer on my own. That’s why Bollywood asks me to come and sing songs for a film,” notes Papon.

“In my shows, I can sing a Barfi! song and then make the audience listen to a Bihu and promote that new Assamese sound. That way, they’ll come to know that I’m the same guy doing both kinds of music.”  

After his much-acclaimed first album was released in January this year, he is ready to start working on his second one, which he claims is taking no direction — “It’s just good sound and good music,” he says with a smile.

When asked how he retains the Assamese sound in all his original compositions, his expression turns serious as he shares his tale.

“It’s just deeply rooted in me because my parents are legends of folk music in Assam. I come from a family of Vaishnavites, where we were brought up with devotional music. We don’t have a murti (idol) to worship but worship the universe and we chant and pray. It’s kind of effortless for me.”

Speaking about the world of fusion that he frequently experiments with, he adds that he is lucky enough to see two things and know where they just click.

“Fusion is a very wide term and as many say, it’s ‘confusion’ most of the time. You can’t just get two things and patch it up and say that you have fused it. You have to understand the nuances, the intricacies and essence of it — then, both the elements will suddenly tell you where they come together,” he reveals.

Regarding Bangalore, he feels that the City has lost its earlier charm.  “Bangalore’s lovely and it will always be that Bangalore in my head. But now, it’s become ‘Bengaluru’ and started shutting down early. So, it’s not that much fun anymore,” he wraps up.

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