A heady compilation!
As an instrument, the harmonica has slowly fallen into disuse. What is more upsetting is the fact that in our own supposedly music-crazy region, very few people have managed to explore the varied possibilities of this particular instrument. Its usage has been, more or less, limited to being an add-on instrument in a few background scores, the number of which can be counted on the finger tips.
As such, it was indeed nice to get my hands upon Sonpari, a western music album that was produced recently by Kanak Music Productions. At a time when Asomiya music albums are found to be getting increasingly stereotyped, Sonpari is a welcome surprise. The album is a heady compilation of love-lorn lyrics presented in a western style of singing and which is supported by a guitar, piano, blues harp and the harmonica, of course!
Though a new concept, the album has been very judiciously executed by the team of artistes involved. The vocalists include Chitralee Goswami, Rupam Bora, Jaya Chakraboty, Max, Ronnie, Tridip Basumatory, Tuhin Sharma and Debojit. The somewhat westernised Asomiya accents of both Max and Ronnie, who are musicians from the neighbouring State of Meghalaya, help give a quaint feel to the entire album, making it more trendy and palatable for those from the new generation with an eclectic taste. The guitars were handled by our very own Annirudha Barua, Rajiv Hazarika and Endu, while Ribor was impressive as usual on the keys. However, the real credit goes to Bala Bhadra Hagjer, the man behind the entire concept. The harmonica player whose musical prowess helps elevate the album to new heights, Hagjer has also composed six out of the eight songs in the album.
The last time that the harmonica made its presence felt in our lives here was during the Virtuoso in Tour concert organized as part of the Rockarolla Music Society’s official launch in Guwahati. The concert saw a performance by Chinese harmonica virtuoso Jia-Yi He, who amazed all those present by portraying the varied possibilities of the instrument with comparative ease. But as I said, very few people have managed to exploit the immense musical possibilities associated with the mouth organ. Hagjer is one of them. Having listened to some of his earlier studio recordings and also his collaborations with flautist Dipak Sharma, I am aware of Hagjer’s mastery over the instrument of his choice. It is imperative that he takes a more proactive role in helping draw the new definitions of this instrument, which hardly finds any takers among serious musical enthusiasts nowadays. I feel a solo album of his own compositions would be an apt step in this regard.
Coming back to the album, the efforts of Kanak Music Productions towards bringing out this album is indeed appreciable. I would recommend this album to all lovers of western music here.