Saturday, 18 July 2015

The Urban Wordsmith in His Times


Aitrayee Sarkar writes about the second album released by the Travelling Archive Record’s on poet Shakti Chattaopadhyay—Shomoyer Shobde Shakti Chattopadhyay.


It all began with a random collection of songs from streets. But later like all the cherished habits it became a passion. The passion for the unknown, the passion for music.

Celebrated singer Mousumi Bhowmik alone started to collect songs from various places, figuring out an instant connection with music on a whole. She, initially, collected songs from Bangladesh and soon her Kolkata residence piled up with cassettes. Her interest in travelling through the heart of folk music reached an extraordinary cross-road when Mousumi took up the challenge of preparing a travelling archive. Audiographer Sukanta Majumder joined her. And that marked the beginning of the Travelling Archive Records.

The duo has been delivering the history, demography and fascinating socio-cultural aspects of unknown sounds to our ears since then. Their extensive research work behind each music album released by the Travelling Archive Records is absorbing.

The Travelling Archive Records so far has released two albums—‘Chandrabati Roy Burman and Sushama Das’ and ‘Shomoyer Shobde Shakti Chattopadhyay’. Few more are also lined up in 2015-16.

Shakti Chattopadhyay needs no introduction. A poet, a maestro, a timeless man with extraordinary talent. The album ‘Shomoyer Shobde Shakti Chattopadhyay’ was released in November, 2014 and won hearts of thousands of listeners. It’s a compilation of poetries read by Shakti Chattopadhyay and songs sung by him and other sounds and noises around the poet. All are old recording, restored and woven together to take you to a different level all together. It’s a journey where you surely rediscover the poet and Shakti Chattaopadhyay as a creator. The album consists of 19 tracks. Tagore songs in Shakti’s unforgettable voice are of course my personal best. But who can forget Shakti reciting ‘Se Boro Sukher Shomoy Noy’ in his indomitable voice!   

The designing of the album calls for a real applause. It’s a combination of the silence that lies within a poet’s heart and the vision that leads us towards letters- sound- music. Thanks to personalities like Utpal Kumar Basu, Joy Goswami and Alok Ranjan Dasgupta, Minakshi Chattopadhyay etc the album takes the listener to a surrealistic voyage.  

No doubt that it was a daunting task. But with the ease Mousumi and Sukanta delivered it is astonishing.     

People often complain that today’s musicians, especially in West Bengal, confined themselves in an artificial barrier that never allows them to breathe free outside their known territory. But as history suggests the trend used to be completely opposite in Bengal. I hope musicians like Mousumi with her Travelling Archive Records would able to turn the waves, as she has already did with her songs.


Continuous experiment and innovation that we all need to bring back our musical glory from the past—echoing yet silent all the way.

Shomoyer Shobde Shakti Chattopadhyay
(Shakti Chattopadhyay in His Time)
Travelling Archive Records
Rs. 350