Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Rangabati Reborn..........

It has been a really long time. More than a month since my last post. I know there is no possible excuse as to why I didn't put my passion first, but in my defense I had my 2nd semester and then my 1st professional exams are just round the corner. A busy, hectic and a super stressful time.
So back here trying my best not to hate my books, and thinking of what to write. You know I am actually amazed at how often a writer's block could hit you.

By the way, did I mention I am a bit of a fan of MTV Coke Studio? I kinda like it, the vibe and all. So no surprises there when I was very excited to see an Oriya song being reset to a new tune. Something like selling old wine in a new bottle. And I thought probably I should share something about this with you.

This particular song I am talking about....Its called Rangabati. A typical Kosali folk song with the ability to lift your mood up. It is a number which celebrates life and human emotions; and equates them with the beauty of nature. More importantly, it symbolises Sambalpuri culture and the koshali dialect of oriya. I could tell you all about Koshal, but that is best reserved for another day.
Rangabati is (or used to be) the party anthem of Western Odisha. It is an amazing song with awesome lyrics, a catchy tune and voiced by two super-talented singers.

So as it turns out, this song was remixed and it went on air nationally on 5th of this month. People had mixed reactions to this. The young blood liked it, and the seniors felt that it should be left the way it is, and this debate has taken away all the 9 pm slots on the local news channels. There has been a copyright lawsuit, ad some dissatisfaction. I think it is completely ridiculous.

I am one of those people who believe that you have to be the savior of your own culture. You have to take the initiative and save it. Nobody else would do it for you. And this is where we failed.
We failed by keeping mum. Our silence and inaction slapped us right on the face. Talk to any person on the street and they couldn't care less. To be honest, Rangabati was dying. It was reduced to just a Baraat song. Now that someone has taken the time to remake it, present it to the world and you have a problem with it? Maybe it is just your guilt.

I have had an opportunity to know the singer of this cult song. You'd be surprised at the way he now lives. His presence is somewhat unnoticed. He was duped by a music label and lost his elder son to a car accident. All this probably didn't hurt him as much as the apathy of people did. I call it indifference. A humble person, clad in a Sambalpuri shirt and simple trousers, volunteering at a local blood donation camp has much more that pains him.

The new age Sambalpuri songs are a bit vulgar. A 'bit' would be an understatement. They are vulgar, and while maintaining the high energy beats, they have lost their significance. They don't celebrate nature like they used to, and I think most girls would find it derogatory.
So what did you do about this? Sadly, nothing. Instead of protesting, you were busy shaking your bodies to their tunes.This is where you lost your say on your music.

Coming back to the rangabati impact, you never complained about the excess of Punjabi or Rajasthani music in Bollywood. In fact most of you love the peppy bhangra beats. So how did you gt to love the music of a state that is almost diametrically opposite to yours? They remained flexible about their songs; which resulted in greater publicity. Same is the case here.

Thanks to the Coke studio remix, this epic song, which did not have a standing in Coastal Odisha till now has been popularized throughout the nation. It managed to be one of the top trending topics on all social networking sites. And all credit goes to Sona Mohapatra, Rituraj Mohanty and Ram Sampath for that. Every time someone hears of it, they will 'google' for the original version.

As for me, I am glad. Along with a place in your Walkman or I pod, it has managed to secure a place in your heart.
I am glad about the fact that a 40 year old folk song has been reborn.

I am glad about the fact that hopefully this might evoke the sense of responsibility in today's youth about preserving their culture.