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ANTARMAN’s Album Inspired by Folk Music of Bengal and Assam

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The debut album by Mumbai-based band ANTARMAN which is self titled has been inspired by the folk music of Bengal and Assam. The endeavour is to collaborate and mix the folk genres of every part of the country in their vision to promote folk music rendered in a contemporary form. The album has heady folk influences of Baul, Bhatiyali, Sylheti, Bihu and a fair share of Indian Classical music woven into present-day arrangements. We speak to the band to know more –

Tell us a little about the band members

ANTARMAN is Pooja Shankar, Randeep Bhaskar and Rahul Mukherjee.

Pooja is actively involved in performing arts and a gifted singer. Her ease to reach the lows and the highs in voice pitching actually inspired us to create ANTARMAN.  Trained by her father, she is also an avid theatre artist, with several successful theatre productions and short films to her credit, wherein, it’s brought her critical acclaim, including a best actor award.

Antarman band albumRandeep is a trained Indian classical vocalist, with numerous playback singing and commercial jingles to his credit. He is also a disciple of the eminent classical vocalist Pt Mani Prasad of Kirana Gharana and the legendary Haimanti Shukla, Randeep has been a regular casting producer of ‘Indian Idol’. He also runs an NGO to teach music to the underprivileged children in several parts of Mumbai.

Rahul is a playback singer and has performed all across India. He has sung jingles for various commercials in multi languages and is a disciple of the renowned classical vocalist, Pandit Mani Prasad of Kirana Gharana. He was also the finalist in ‘Voice of India 2’.

What does ‘ANTARMAN’ mean and why was this name chosen for the band?

ANTARMAN is about the inner conscience that connects us through various emotions to the unaltered truth of oneness. It is the soul within us that connects us to the unconscious space of creativity through a medium.

Music being the religion and the catalyst to explore deep into the inner conscious of the folklore in India; ANTARMAN which is the name of the band and the first album, is emphasized predominantly in this, on the folk form of music from the Eastern part of India, especially Bengal and Assam.

The 3-member band ANTARMAN, is primarily an outcome of our pure passion for music. The album is sculpted very beautifully by weaving folk forms with new age music trends, melody and arrangement, for the multi lingual cultures in this extremely musically and culturally rich country like ours. The poetic renditions in the album are created to take one through the many facets of life by connecting each ones inner senses, irrespective of language or age.

Two songs in the album are inspired from the traditional folk song of the legendary Lalon fakir and Kamrup land, while the rest are uniquely original folk creations, expressing the inner shades of the heart.

Share a little about your music and your music making process.

It was a conscious decision to work on folk from across the country.  The debut album focusing on folk from Eastern part of India was a natural choice as all three of us belong to West Bengal.  The next edition of Antarman would continue to explore and bring folk from various parts of the country rendered in a contemporary composition. Each song was discussed deeply in terms of what it needs to convey and connect with the listeners.

  • Hobena – a legendary Lalon fakir song depicts the value of time.
  • Maati – talks about the urge to get back to roots from the urban saturation.
  • Gaanja – signifies the splendour of Lord Shiva expressed in the traditional Sylhet way.
  • Marghat – talks about the last journey of every soul.
  • Bairi Bindiya – deals with love in its innocent form through the flavour of Bihu.
  • Tatar Patar – expresses deep Baul energy in an ecstatic form.

We always wanted to compose our own compositions in the parameter of the folk genre. So each song would have the three of us sit together discuss and plan the arrangement in terms of musical instruments and musicians. We had some awesome experiences recording some of the eminent and senior musicians for our tracks.

Do you use any indigenous instruments?

Yes we have used khamok, bihu dhol, sarod, sarangi, dotara, ektara , manjira and a lot of folkish percussion instruments.

Which song is that band’s favourite and why?

All the tracks are our favourites as they are like our babies, but our most favourite one is Tatar Patar as this song is the first track that we worked on and the three of us have sung in this track. This song takes the baul form into a different zone.

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