Forgotten notes of Calcutta

The Bangalore-Delhi-yuppylawyer-talkbigger would definitely scoff at these songs of adolescence. Yet they brought back bits of my Calcutta adolescence today. These were songs of Calcutta talking to modernity- tackily made to sound bluesy. Sumon Chattopadhyay arrived from nowhere, when I was in middle school, with songs of soppyheartbreaks, madman-on-the-road, melancholic monsoon evening Calcutta. He turned repetitive in the later albums, having given way to an outburst of late youth frustration over Adhunik soppyromantic music that the cultured Bengali middle class had tresured so far. The Bengali press wrote about this new-blood-music as Jeebonmukhi.

And a tacky Nachiketa gave musical vent to schoolgirl-puppylove. And hordes of other twenty-something rock bands followed.  Rampantly making up for lack of musical genius, with the arrogance of modernity-angst. Ripping liberaly off Bong folk and noted blues/soft rock numbers from the 60s/70s.

My favourite of this genre will always be Anjan Dutt, with his recurrent St.Paul's Darjeeling allusions, and a continuing exotification of the Anglo-Indians of Ripon Street (Mary Ann and Purono Guitar coming to mind offhand), and endearingly cliched celebrations of the decadent little stories of the city, slowly giving way to titillations of global capital. It was at this time that a long-forgotten 'alternative' group called Mohiner Ghoraguli started in the late 70s (I think) resurfaced in popular Bengali musical memory. Not as much  modernity angst. Much more music. 

I was digging up these scores of my adolescence from Youtube this afternoon. They are still entangled in rainy afternoon bus rides to a local swimming club, hushed telephonic attempts at romance, sights and sounds of a city that once used to talk to me.

Jeebonmukhi- Life-facing (quite literally, can't think of a better translation)


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