By Usha Rani Das:
“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent”
– Victor Hugo
True, indeed. That is exactly what I am facing right now. Being a keen researcher and an ardent fan of music, to write an article on the best five regional songs of India was like a Christmas party for me. During my entire span of research, which was more of a Google search and conversation with friends on music, I was overwhelmed by the melody of so many songs of varied ranges. India truly is a country with rich culture and arts. The songs of different regions of India emphasized on the richness and the colors of different cultures of our country. Even though the songs were in different languages, it does not deprive one who does not know the language from enjoying its true essence. You are bound to be swayed off your feet by the rhythm of music. It is justly said that music has no language and it transcends all boundaries.
Controlling my urgent urge to upload all the songs I heard, I am listing the five best Indian regional songs.
1. What better to start with than the band which is arguably India’s and West Bengal’s first band- Moheener Ghoraguli (translated as Moheen’s Horses)! It is a band which changed the musical history of India in a very notable way. This band brought rock fusion in the country. A group of musicians led by Gautam Chattopadhyay started this band in late 1974 in Kolkata. Little did they know that their songs will bring a social revolution in bengali music. Their lyrics were radically new unlike the commercial film songs popular in those days. Their songs were on topics like politics, poverty, injustice, revolution, love, loneliness, even begging and prostitution. Here is my most favorite song of the band- Tomay Dilam. Listen to the song and you are bound to be lost in another magical world. The blood in your body is sure to boil up and you will be inspired to pull up your socks and start a revolution!
2. Next let’s explore the enchanting music of Illaiyaraja, one of the most famous and the finest singer of all times. Illaiyaraja is sometimes debatably considered better than A.R. Rahman. I am sure all the people down south grew up with his music. But for those living in the north or east or west or are unfamiliar with his name – let me tell you he is a man who brought the essence of Mozart and Bach in Indian music. It will not be wrong to call him a legend of the musical world. He is considered to be a great music composer of the 80s and the 90s. The enormity of his compositions can seldom be described in words. In fact, there are not many contemporary artists in the world who can be compared with Raja. One can never have enough of Illaiyaraja. Here is one of his recent work-
3. Before going into the next regional song, let me engage you all in a story first. It was 26th of January, I do not remember the year distinctly, our Republic Day, as we all know. I was watching the parade on Doordarshan. My favourite part of the parade is the magnificent performances of different states of the country. I heard a song- Hey Dola, Hey Dola. The impact of the song on my mind was so powerful that I instantly Googled the song. And hence I write about my third song, which is gifted to the world by the land of Assam. Sang by the multi-talented and a genius in his own, Bhupen Hazarika, this song spreads the message of humanity and universal brotherhood. The song is sure to leave a lasting impression on your minds on the very first try. Bhupen Hazarika was a musical maestro of India. There would have an everlasting void in our musical world had there not been his fulfilling gift of rhythm to the world’s music. Listen to the assamese song Hey Dola, Hey Dola and let the river of pure enlightening notes flood your soul.
4. Speaking about regional songs of India, one kind is sure to cross everybody’s minds. And if it misses someone’s, then Coke Studio has done the reminder. I am speaking about none other than Bhanwari Devi of Rajasthan who has enriched the culture of rajasthani folk songs. Initially she started by Phad narration (musical story telling). With the passage of time her voice started to echo throughout Rajasthan. Slowly she achieved accolades from all over the country. Queen of enchanting vocal capabilities, she is a highly acclaimed singer who brought a renewed sense of respect for Rajasthani folk songs. The powerful impact that the song has on one’s mind is inexplicable. The song has an everlasting impression on your mind. Here is one of her song which was popularized by Coke Studio-
5. Last but not the least; let me conclude with the song of someone whose compositions took Indian music to a whole other level. One wins Grammys for music. He was the one who won a Nobel Prize. He was the one who earned highly acclaimed respect for his songs, not only in India but from the whole world. His compositions like “Where the mind is without fear” and “Jodi tor daak shune keu na ashe” (this song was sang by Mr. Amitabh Bachan in the movie Kahani), still brings goosebumps in one’s body. The thrill of these terrific songs still inspires revolutions. One can never say enough about such a great man- Rabindranath Tagore. I am ending the article with my favourite rabindrasangeet, Sokhi Bhabona Kahare Bole. The song speaks about the nuances of love and the secret of true happiness. Let’s sacrifice ourselves to the melody of life and allow the magic to mystify us forever.