Friday, January 30, 2009

Pop goes Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore surely remains as the most cherished Bengali among all the Bengalis even almost 70 years after his death. Tagore was a poet,lyricist, composer, novelist, short-story writer, playwright & painter . All of them, par excellence. Tagore received a Nobel prize in literature for his book of poems , Gitanjali, in 1913. Any Bengali ,worth his salt (pun not intended), would have to compulsorily go through Tagore's poems or songs as part of his upbringing in childhood. Tagore's songs , also called Rabindrasangeet, when sung with his original music never fail to strike a chord among predominantly Bengali listeners. After the expiry of copyright on Tagore's music from 1st of January 2002, one expected a flood of new compositions of his songs and poems from the present bunch of musicians & popular bands in Bengal. Sadly they were few in number , mediocre scores & not very popular, either.

Now, nearly 100 years after receiving the Nobel prize , a song called "Praan (Stream of life)" has propelled Tagore again to international popularity. Where the hell is Matt (2008), a video posted by Matt Harding on the net features this fantastic song in the background of a globetrotter Matt dancing crazily in 71 countries. This video has been viewed 17 million times on the net as on date. Gary Schyman, the composer of this song & a Tagore fan, also received a Hollywood Music Award, in the 'Best Music Video' category. An 18 year old Bangladeshi singer ( now settled in Minneapolis, USA ), Palbasha Siddique, has lent her angelic voice to the lyrics. Incidentally , Praan (meaning 'life') is from the original "Gitanjali" in Bengali and not from Tagore's Nobel prize winning book of the same name in English.
Click on the play button below to listen to this popular contemporary Rabindrasangeet, Praan. 'Praan' lyrics in Bengali:
Bhulbona ar shohojete
Shei praan e mon uthbe mete
Mrittu majhe dhaka ache
je ontohin praan
Bojre tomar baje bashi

She ki shohoj gaan
Shei shurete jagbo ami(Repeat 3X)
Dao more shei kaan.
Shei jhor jeno shoi anonde

Chittobinar taare
Shopto-shindu dosh digonto
Nachao je jhonkare!
Bojre tomar baje bashi

She ki shohoj gaan
Shei shurete jagbo ami(Repeat 3X)
(lines below are not part of the song but are in the original poem)
Araam hote chinnow korey
Shei gobhirey lao go more
Ashaantir antorey jethai shaanti sumahan.
Although the English Intepretation of this song has been credited by Matt in his FAQ page (What are the lyrics to the song, "Praan," in your 2008 video? ) to verse # 69 in Gitanjali called the "Stream of Life" by Rabindranath Tagore ; it transpires here that the original Bengali poem from which "Stream of Life" gets translated is different from "Praan". Matt then goes on to give a verbatim translation
of Praan (without naming the translator) in the same FAQ page. This translation is more appropriate and goes like this.
I will not easily forget
The life that stirs in my soul
Hidden amidst Death
That infinite Life

I hear you in the thunder

A simple tune
A tune to which I will arise (3x)
And in that storm of happiness
As your music plays in your mind
The whole wide world
Dances to your rhythm
I hear you in the thunder
A simple tune
A tune to which I will arise (3x)

The picture shows Palbasha (meaning "eyelid") recording Praan in the studio with Matt dancing in the background.

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