Friday, May 22, 2015

Kalpana Patowary Collaborates – Expanding her Musical boundaries.

Be it exploring the Purvi folk music of Bihar, reliving the legacy of the Bhikhari Thakur era, celebrating the landscapes of NorthEast India through Maa-e-Ri – a lyrical conversation with Mother Nature or embarking on a musical journey of Biraha fiesta of the Ahirs, Kalpana is traveling the world through her music and expanding musical boundaries by collaborating with a number of national and International artists.

The pairing of star acts on an album isn't uncommon but this musical document is a rare achievement. From names like Sunidhi Chauhan (collaborated with Enrique Iglesias), Shreya Ghoshal ( collaborated with Maestro Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan), AR Rahman (recently collaborated with Rolling Stone lead singer Mick Jagger), Yo Yo Honey Singh (plans to collaborate with American rapper Sky Blu), Suhail Yusuf Khan (shared the stage in collaboration with Welsh harpist Georgia Ruth), Swarathma (recently collaborated with Lebanese band Wanton Bishops), Skyharbour (recorded a song with Megadeath guitarist Marty Friedman) and Salim-Sulaiman (remixing Enrique Iglesias' single), all seem to be expanding their musical prowess to bring something new for their audience. 

So what makes these collaborations click. “It’s interesting and exiting at the same time as it is all about breaking the conventional rules. History and Time witnessed every time who so ever speak a new thought i.e. Galileo, Socrates, Newton and many more they were threatened to death. Here if you are an artiste who deals with root music, folk music than you are many times criticized for collaboration as the conventional form is broken. Of course it’s sensitive and you should be responsible and mature enough not to chemical the genres to that limit to lose its original dignity…fusion should not lead to confusion” …says Kalpana with a mystic smile.

 “Collaboration brings along the share of fans and a wider range of audience.  It does help in expanding your audience base as when you collaborate with other artists; their audience also gets to know about you, the interest builds up which helps you expand." 

The Sacred Scriptures of Monikut is one of my best and the most notable musical collaboration not only with various respectable artists but also with a variety of primitive instruments being used in this album.
From the traditional - ancient and extinct instrument Kalia to Sarinda to the Sundari to Doba to Djembe to Kahon to the Tabla, Shehnai, percussion, electronic hand sonic, drums, beads, electric piano, Acoustic Guitar, Nakara to Nagara to Bortal to Flute, this album is a cocktail mix of different sounds,” she shared.
I kept the folk vibe of traditional Ghosha original and added a more somber touch and I tried to keep the original and earnest vocal performance of the Barpeta style from my Mother.
Kalpana shares the stories of her Collaboration and unique experience and what it means for music in the region:

The Collaboration: The Sacred Scriptures of Monikut.

The Song: Muktita

The Artist: Papon Angarag Mahanta – vocals

The Best:  Kalpana was the featured artist in the third season of Mtv@Coke Studio produced by Papon Angarag Mahanta and this duo were seen turning heads with their collaborative music in Coke Studi@Mtv with Rajastani & Assamese barpetia fagun songs.

The Collaboration : The Sacred Scriptures of Monikut.

The Song : Ami Joto Jibo

The Artist : Zubeen Garg – vocals

The Best :  The main attraction in this album is Kalpana teamed up with Zubeen Garg along with children vocals from Assam (Anuska Saikai, Dhritismita Kalita, Armit Kalita, Hansraj Saikia,Purbahna Pragalav Kayshap, Ankita Khanikar, Rishab Khanikar, Bandita Devi, Bhumika Nath, Himashree Barman, Dibyam Seal, Jivitha Seal, Arisha Sheikh, Rimisha Hussain, Chayasnigdha Nath) for the track Ami Joto Jibo which sounds very different. The Children vocals added the varied and eclectic energy with extra boost. Both Kalpana and Zubeen have their styles which can drain on listeners as melancholy and drowning, but together with the group of children they produced a prayer something which transforms into a gorgeous anthem.

The Collaboration : The Sacred Scriptures of Monikut.

The Song : Hey Prano Bondhu

The Artist : Guru Ruben Masangva – Acoustic Guitar

The Best: Hey Prano Bondhu is a track with a blend of distinct Blues influence with a modern sophisticated melody with traditional lyrics by Srimanta Madhavdeva.

The most risky song of this album, is about the longing of a human soul to merge with the infinite, says Kalpana. I always had a Blues feel to this track and I thought it would be interesting to incorporate a person who could take it that way. It took a while but with Guru Ruben’s style of playing the Guitar fell in place and it will transform you to a different world when you close your eyes listening to it.
The AssameseBhojpuri singer and the Father of Naga Blues from Manipur provide two seemingly different sides of the coin: one side mystical and dreamy, the other side more realistic. Kalpana’s collaboration with Guru Ruben in this album feels natural and just plain easy. The blues and the vocal in acoustic guitar have a lasting quality and will be recognized. Kalpana’s extensive vocal range and prowess mixed with Ruben’s signature playing and gregarious attitude toward music makes for one of the most fun and unforgettable musical collaborations.


The Collaboration : The Sacred Scriptures of Monikut.

The Song : Hari Namo Roxe & Muktita

The Artist : Trilok Gurtu (Germany)

The Best : Kalpana Patowary  had earlier worked  with Trilok Gurtu in an International album called MASSICAL released from BIRDjam Label, Germany and have long wanted to make music together and they finally got their chance in the Sacred Scriptures of Monikut. Trilok Gurtu has been a major inspirations in this album.   

Trilok Gurtu provided the ambient and ominous electronic beats while Kalpana renders her traditionally epic and self-referential vocals makes this track truly special. Kalpana’s melancholy ambiance provided a perfect backdrop as Trilok Gurtu forayed into the brand new territory of ambient Assamese music culture.

Trilok Gurtu  and Kalpana were just musical and this timeless classic masterpiece collaboration will always be remembered and more greatly preserved in Assam history.

She adds, "Working with Trilok Gurtu has enhanced my understanding of my own music, and opened my eyes to a variety of musical possibilities." He is ahead of times.
Trilok Gurtu, Guru Ruben Masangva, Papon, Zubeen and Kalpana Patowary comes together and fashion something seamless, beautiful and exciting, regardless of the different and diverse worlds they may come from, the result is something to be cherished and recognized for ages to come.
Now last but most importantly not any least - Sacred Scriptures of Monikut is a happy and satisfying piece of cake for me as I relish the art of creation step by step. In this project that every element comes alive whom I adored and inspired in some way…while it was on a deciding stage I was sure which way to go with this project. Here I am talking about to style the ghokha’s, I heard a lot of Native American Music, Tibetan stuff. The spiritual approach I got it right from them. YANNI and BHUPEN HAZARIKA - Sacred scriptures musical style is about following these legends. Now many may sarcastically smile, but I share the truth. I know I can’t touch their musical heights but where will all my love energies go for them…it has to transform somewhere and I think The Sacred Scriptures of Monikut is the outcome of my love for them. Many times I feel Yanni’s music is all about love and the beautiful side of our being, its serene and his music bounds me to believe…. “Yes I am a GOD particle”. Juxtaposed, Bhupen Hazarika’s social observance says a complete different story of our mankind, and he chose to speak through music again. I tried to incorporate the pain and pleasure on one note, appreciating each other.

On significance of The Sacred Scriptures of Monikut for Assam:
This album is of the highest standard ever produced in India. I don’t think that the Naam Ghosha & Kirtan Ghosha Assam has been presented in this way to the world or any other way before.

On local instruments and particular forms of folk music used:
The Sacred Scriptures of Monikut is one of my best and the most notable musical collaboration with a variety of instruments used in this album. From the traditional an ancient and extinct instrument Kalia to Sarinda to the Sundari Doba to Djembe to Kahon to the Tabla, Shehnai, percussion, electronic hand sonic, drums, beads, electric piano, Acoustic Guitar, Nakara to Nagara to Bortal to Flute, this album was a mix of different sounds,” she shared.

On what this project mean to young talents in the Northeast and India.
I believe it means a lot to hold on to your roots and present its beauty to the world. It is a matter of pride and satisfaction. This album would encourage young people who love their land and culture.

On Kalpana Patowary’s music and how it emanates from her land Assam:
I love to put Assam on the world map again and again with the love, culture, emotions and music of the land. But here focusing on rural folk music I would like to sound original folk at least from the singing point of view.

On upcoming projects:
  • Anthology of Biraha - A folk form of Utter Pradesh & Bihar. A deliberate approach to travel back in time to collect the roots of BIRHA singing style, a folk tradition of AHIRS or YADAVAS from UTTAR PRADESH to the Caribbean Islands.
I am also collaborating in a project with Mungal Patasar - one of the best-known exponents of the Sitar - a unique artist from the sister islands of Trinidad & Tobago very soon. This is sponsored by the Indian Council which wants us to make an album touring the festivals in the Trinidad next summer. 

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