Sourendro-Soumyojit breaking new paths in music

Kolkata, June 1 (IAMS) ‘Tere Mere Milan ki yeh Raina – there is hardly anyone who is not aware of this song.

The Kishore Kumar-Lata Mangeshkar duet from box-office hit ‘Abhiman’ starring Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bachchan (Bahduri) became immensely popular in the seventies, but there are few who know that the song originated from a famous Rabindra Sangeet ‘Jodi tare nai chini go sheki’.

This is not the only one but there are hundreds of such songs that are inspired by the first Nobel laureate in the country – Rabindranath Tagore.

The famous ‘Chu kar mere man ko/ Kiya tune kya isara’ – the Kishore Kumar song from the Amitabh Bachchan starrer ‘Yaarana’ — had its inspiration from another Rabindra Sangeet – ‘Tomar holo shuru, amar holo sara’.

Likewise, the famous Lata Mangeshkar-Kishore Kumar duet ‘Chanda Dekhe Chanda’ was adopted from ‘Ami tomai joto sunichilem gan’ – another inspiring Rabindra Sangeet.

Sourendro Mullick and Soumyojit Das, better known as Sourendro-Soumyojit, a pianist-vocalist duo who has mastered in the art of experimental music, has released a new video showing how Tagore’s songs have been a source of inspiration for many music composers and lyricists.

“Tagore’s music has influenced music composers like Nausad, S.D. Burman, R.D. Burman and many more. Tagore was inspired by his predecessors and he inspired his next generation. We are now inspired by them. This is what is called ‘Saraswati’ — the process of flowing straight over time. With an open mind, art has taken the role of taking us through time with all its beauty and melody,” Soumyojit said about the album.

The duo has specialised in experimental music and taken Tagore through the corridors of time. “We believe that Tagore is relevant even today and his songs are appropriate even in a coffee shop or in any modern-day consequences because legends never die,” the duo said in an interview.

Soumyojit was born in Barrackpore, West Bengal, and studied at the Modern School there. He later shifted to Kolkata and completed his college from St. Xaviers College in the department of English. He began his music training at a very early age and was called the ‘little Lata Mangeshkar’ in school for his intense adulation for the legendary Indian playback artiste. He started training under Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty from 1996. He is still learning widely under the wings of Chakraborty.

Sourendro learnt piano first from his grandfather, Mrigendro Mullick. He later learnt music under famous music director-composer V. Balsara (who has a wide contribution to introducing Indian classical music on the piano). Sourendro then went on to attend music classes under legendary sitarist Ustad Vilayat Khan.

In 2005, they started off with a maiden European tour of concerts and established their brand ‘You & I’ and in December 2005, they were launched by the then Governor of West Bengal, Gopal Krishna Gandhi.

As Sourendro-Soumyojit started touring Europe for concerts regularly, they came in contact with Martin Keubert in Cologne, whom Sourendro idolised to learn modern western techniques and playing styles.

Soumyojit has flair in the experimental music genre which ranges from renditions of short classical pieces, semi-classical pieces, ghazals, thumri, new compositions, popular songs and playback songs.

He is trying to develop a new form of singing which incorporates the western values in traditional Indian techniques of voice preparation. In a recent concert on the occasion of the 125th birth centenary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, the duo broke the path when they fused Tagore’s ‘Boro Asha Kore Eshechi Go Kache Deke Nao’ and ‘We Shall Overcome’ with a harmonious blend of eastern and western melodies.

Not only this, there are several Rabindra Sangeets where the duo broke away from the traditional form of music and created a genre of their own, giving Tagore a much more contemporary look.

Believing themselves to be world citizens, the duo has said several times that music and art should not be leashed in the boundaries of time and language.

The duo composes, performs, and interprets music they believe in, but they continue to keep the faith of their connoisseurs. They say that because they worship their craft, they are better able to experiment with it and curate it in a myriad different ways for their projects.

The pianist-vocalist duo created their own soundscape in collaboration with many composers, songwriters, performers, and music producers of their times.