When Tagore set music to lyrics

The director of Kolkata's Dakshinee, a music school that explores the love for Rabindrasangeet, on why Tagore's contribution to the music world remains a significant one

Srijon, the music school devoted to promoting Rabindrasangeet in the city, is hosting a workshop conducted by Sudeb Guha Thakurta on the form of music created by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Guha Thakurta is the director of Dakshinee, Kolkata, the music school founded in 1948 by his father Suvo, who endeavoured to take Rabindrasangeet, also known as the Tagore Songs to "the Bengali masses". Guha Thakurta shares the relevance of Tagore's "tremendous" contribution to the music world.

Would you provide us with a basic introduction to Rabindrasangeet?
Tagore wrote and composed about 2,500 songs, of which around 18,800 songs remain. These songs can be split across 17 forms and include spiritual numbers (dharm sangeet), love songs (prem sangeet) and seasonal songs (writu sangeet). The unique thing about Rabindrasangeet is that Tagore went beyond the boundaries of Indian Classical Music and composed six taals of his own, as he thought that the traditional taals were not adequate for his songs. The significance of these songs is that they express the same sorrows, joys and experiences of every man. A man's thoughts and feelings for every minute, every hour of the day and every day of the year are included. Incidentally, Tagore wrote the first song at the tender age of 17.

Is it essential to understand Bengali to appreciate this form of music?
A little knowledge of Bengali is essential, as there are so many different aspects to Tagore's songs, so language might prove a barrier. Tagore believed that music should not just be soothing to the ears, but should also touch one's soul. Having said that, the language barrier might be be overcome if one is able to find a good translation of his works or a good teacher.

Who is the ideal student?
We want to reach out to everyone who wants to know about Tagore's musical creations. It helps if the person has an inclination for music as well.

On Today, 6 pm to 8 pm
At Srijon, Seven Bungalows, Andheri (W). CALL 9820285996
Entry Free

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