Sunday, April 5, 2009

Gaanola, my nemesis

[This is a direct copy-paste from the Kabir Suman community in ORKUT. Thus the reference of a "community" in its first line]

Much like the aura of Kabir Suman, and dare I say, of this community, “Gaanola” remains an album of little ease and strange delight.

A keen-eyed troubadour, Suman absorbed and refined the poisons of urban alienation by reaching out for the next person. At the same time, he inculcated, from himself, the anti-bodies of his impending destiny. Like no other song-maker of Bengali songdom in the nineties, he was at the center of the centre of his time.

The fact, these songs are something like a set of convergent mappings for the past master’s volumes, as well as new ethos, proving beyond point the historical importance of the album. The open-ended sequence of “Ey chawaar rong naao, tumi/ naa pawaar rong naao, tumi/ aagamir rong naao, tumi” describes the frantic wonder of an adolescent soul, caught in the webs of myriad desire, as well as of the world-weary creases of a middle-aged mind.

The music evokes a world of our very own. Raindrops, bleary and bright traffic lights, fireflies in the nooks of deserted vision, clouds hovering over a city that resembles the cactus land, the pang of being severed from the whole, and quite in contrast, the defiance of being free from the workings of our mechanised surroundings.

The opening track almost toils the lyrics into your head with burning drumbeats. “Tomaar aamar jawto chetonaa melaatei hobey ei sheemantey” speaks of an animal conviction, with such force, that all our past and present get branded by a searing future….”aaguney purey gechhey mohaakaash”! It seems a journey endowed with tanks-machine guns-fighter planes and wonder of wonders, with violin-flute and raucous harmonicas as well. A timeless song out of a very very good poem, Suman touches the tip of sublime artistry and craftsmanship, with the high note in “behaala- guitar-bnaashi-harmonica niye, shudhu tomaari, tomaari dorgoraay priyotawmaa”. That precise moment, even the war-trenches of our bloody existence blooms into spotless hyacinths.

The journey continues, however. Beautiful moments run themselves out, they remain in the realm of half light and half shadows. But there is not just heartbreak here, there is also a tenacious clinging to love’s promises, and the strangest and most seductive surprises baffle us in the form of uncertain teardrops...”Dekhbey feraari kono smriti-i knaadabey”. There is a strange melancholy that runs through the core of intense longing. Even nature seems to compliment this apprehension, there is no escape from it unless the personal view of world becomes a charade of lonely characters in unison:

“Brishti Jekhaaney tomaar chokher jawley
Onnyo karur du:khher kawtha bawley
Shei khaaney hobey dyakha
Tomaar shongey eka!”

Not only dark and grim, the journey is also full of humorous anecdotes. In “Dhoraa jaak aaj robibar”, the meaning and dimension of freedom are discussed with deadpan delivery, the dark note of stark reality returns at the end, though. “Brigade ey Meeting” is another song of this kind which again uses images to construct a satirical picture of our politicised reality. Blues-tinged “Tomaar kawthaar rong ki laal” is another master-piece of a totally different genre, it celebrates the ubiquitous identities of self and love, and ends where the rendezvous of longing and rebellion melts into a sudden realisation of our rainbow race.

“Shara raat jwolechhey nibir”….I can’t write anything about. There are things I treasure like an over-jealous child. It belongs to that category. Period.

Fourteen years later, Worlds have gone wrong, empires have changed hands. This album still remains the storm's eye, as well as the shelter from it, for many of us. There lies the mystique of “Gaanola”, holding together the threadbare present and acute asymmetry, its natural offshoot.