Why do we need it? Since late 2010’s Assam has been lagging behind in the creation of folk music in the modern society. The people are now so akin to genres like EDM and DJ music that even traditional music like Bihu xuriya geet, has been halfway ruined by some cheesy lyricism and over produced vocals and electronic tunes that kind of kills the vibe and ruins the listening pleasure but on the other hand the musicians who are doing a decent job at mashing up Pop/EDM with Bihu or any other kind of Assamese music are given less to no credit for their job. We honestly feel like that the people are forgetting their roots.
But why is it happening and why we are not getting a true Folk revival? It is not like that no one had tried. Artists like Papon, Zubeen, Jublee, Neel Akash, Simanta Sekhar and the likes have tried their best to bring back folk revival with Goalporia Loka geet tunes, Tokari Geet, Krishna’s tales, Nanda Geet and devotional lyricism but even they are falling behind at some part, though it has been globalized, not many people understand the beauty of it and has been put under critical circumstances or loss of substance. Just look at the like and dislike ratio of a legitimately composed Folk Revival song with the elements of EDM and Rock and then do the same for something more cheesy and bland or all out cringy. That only shows what is at demand and what the curators actually required to curate for the needs of the consumers.
In a Nation that screams loud about JATI, MATI, BHETI, when it comes to protecting our identity is seemingly failing to protect our musical heritage by forgetting the roots and which is why we think it’s a high time we learn something from our neighbors like Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur, Shillong more often that are keeping modernity and tradition at balance when it comes to music. Now I ain’t saying that Assam’s music scene is not good and vice versa but we already witnessed toward which direction it headed once when people literally said, “Assam has no good singers and musicians like Bhupen Hazarika anymore.”
What I want is make right use of traditional instruments with electronic instruments and learn the “know how’s” to create some organic stuffs that prioritizes quality over quantity.
Where are we lagging? I might sound strange here but at some point Papon Da was also legitimately criticized when he tried to recreate his father’s song because some purist was not in favour of the idea, likewise Zubeen Da’s new single have also faced some criticism while his hardcore fans tried to defend him. I guess this petty issues shall not occur, as because we believe that some criticism of this sort is highly legit and both the artist and fan clubs shall understand why those creations has been criticized, as since these songs gets under the radar of purists like us so quickly that we will find it bland if it missed that vibe we had been looking for, the true vibe of Loka Geet or Borgeet even if it has some electronic instruments in it. I guess that people should literally try to find their roots and do some in depth research before coming with such mash ups and shall procure a true revival of Assamese folk, rather than creating just for the sake of curating it to a mass.
Even though a major amount of good artists are coming with a legit folk revival namely Nilotpal Borah and the likes, these artist shall get more exposures at a global level and mainstream media rather be known only by a handful of people in Assam only. Basically we need a proper industry here rather than chasing a mirage in this huge ocean of musical talents. This is true, Not just Assam but India as a whole lags a proper music industry and musical genius in the men behind such industry, in the words of Dr. Palash Sen of Euphoria, and what we actually have is a small part of music industry within film Industry itself along with that we do not have record label, unison, collaborators, and society of musicians or a big organization that could lead to bigger ideas through discussions while making music. People shall fund and help each other and quit being so much egoistic which is destroying the careers and little bit of the industry that we claim to have.
So yeah, there’s lot to be done instead of being a bunch of sitting ducks and being judgemental all of a sudden on the internet, but let me tell you that even while writing this post I might have sounded a bit judgemental since it’s in our nature but what I said is the sole truth. As purists and consolidators of our culture, heritage, land, language and identity, such emotions shall be shown in our musical creations as well.
Conclusion: – “Creating just for the sake of quantity” that shit shall wear off any time now and people shall know their roots in times like this and last but not the least we do need a true revival of folk music happening in Assam that will put the music of Assam at the global map. But we can’t just wait and hope for others to initiate that, unless we take a step and set an example for the future generations to come and our next of kin, we need to keep up that legacy of our greatest creators like Dr. Rabindranath Tegore, Bishnuprashad Rabha, Jyoti Prashad Agarwala, Khagen Mahata and Bhupen Hazarika, for our sons and daughters and the next to come. Just like Bhupen Da sang, “Manuhe manuhor babe, Jodi he okon u nabhabe….”
We need to think for ourselves and our legacy to keep, protect it for the rest of the population.