'Music has no language'

Monsoon melodies

'Music has no language'

He can render high notes that are easy on the ear. Trained in ‘Rabindra Sangeeth’ and Hindustani music, Sounak Chattopadhyay is known for his quality and finesse in music and shows no predilection to either genre that he is trained in. The sublime language of Bengali songs and the ominous possibilities of his tunes in a ‘bandish’ show his firm grounding in music. The perfect consistency and balance of lyrics and melodies in ‘Rabindra Sangeeth’ and lilting renditions in Hindustani are a product of his perseverance.  

The artiste is performing in the City on June 27 at Natya Institute of Dance and Choreography and June 28 at Max Mueller Bhavan, Indiranagar. The programme is organised by IGNCA and Sounak will be rendering monsoon ragas like ‘Malhar’ and some ‘Rabindra Sangeeth’ songs fused with popular ‘bandishes’. Delighted to showcase both the genres for the first time in the City, he terms this opportunity as a “rare and unique” one.

Known as one of the top contemporary singers in ‘Rabindra Sangeeth’, he says that he consciously and, sometimes, sub-consciously incorporates certain new-age elements in his music. “There are fundamental differences between each genre of classical music; be it Hindustani, Carnatic or ‘Rabindra Sangeeth’. For instance, while Hindustani music can be improvised on and lays an emphasis on ‘sur’, ‘Rabindra Sangeeth’ is music of the sacrosanct where lyrics are the soul. I try to bring all the elements that I have learnt together by not harming either genre as each one has its own identity. I keep ‘Rabindra Sangeeth’ pure and see that it remains where it deserves to be. Sometimes, I interweave two songs so it sounds like a see-saw between two musical genres.”   

Today, Tagore’s music can be seen in different forms like rap, beatboxing, film music and fusion and Sounak doesn’t mind these innovations.

“I am a great ‘bhakth’ of Tagore and I do not have a problem with the experiments that are done on his compositions. There was a time when certain restrictions were placed on his melodies by Viswabharathi University. But such restrictions were needed back then because the art was still at its infancy stage and had to be preserved. All this ceased in 2001.”  

Most of his students are youngsters interested in ‘Rabindra Sangeeth’ and this pleases Sounik to no end.

“The Bengalis abroad love ‘Rabindra Sangeeth’ too. I try to explain a few songs at times to my audience but the songs cannot always be translated. Music has no language and strikes a chord with everyone.”

Post his concerts in Bengaluru, the artiste will be flying to Houston to perform at a Bengali festival.

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