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Music by the Trees

Music by the Trees

Forest Music Festival

21st of March was the International Forest Day. To celebrate the occasion The Dreamers organized a music festival in Dooars. This story is based o the events of the day.

By Somashis Gupta

The great range of the Himalayas extends along the northern border of India for a length of 1500 miles, and within this range are the loftiest snow peaks in the world, Everest, towering above them all. As you come down from the peak, you can peek into an amazing assembly of flora and fauna where you can pick the best spots to click wildlife. And this land is called Dooars where our story begins.

On the 21st of March as the world was celebrating ‘International Forest Day’, Gethi was busy listening to the sounds of Murti which flows from Nora Valley National Park. She was getting the inspiration for the upcoming event scheduled later in the day.

“Gethi , Gethi come, time to go home” her mother calls.

“Oh Maa! just a few more minutes please.” She replied

“No my child, the Babus from Dreamers Music PR Agency have come already, you will be late for the performance” her mother insisted.

“But Maa, if I do not hear the birds or the sound of the waves I cannot sing” She argued. After all she is a Rabha by blood.

Rabhas are the indigenous people who had been living in this region since time unknown. They have learnt to be inspired from nature for creating their music. In fact not only the music but also the dance, the language, the culture, all of it has a touch of nature in it.

Gethi has performed songs and dance with other members of her clan for tourists who visit Dooars many a times. She even learnt to use some of the self made musical instruments. But this time it is different. She would be performing in the ‘Forest Music Festival‘ which is organized for the first time by ‘The Dreamers’.

Sudipta Chanda of the Dreamers with the musicians and crew
The organiser – Sudipta Chanda of “The Dreamers Music PR” with Madhurjo Mukherjee, Sourojyoti Chatterjee, Ritaban Guha, Rick Biswas, Tirthankar Sarkar Das, Subham Ghosh, Ayan Chakraborty, Aritra Mukherjee, Nilanjan Saha, Anunaay Chamling Rai.

After a brief rehearsal at the village, while walking towards the venue with others, Gethi saw a tourist approach Ujjwal Rabha and asked something. She went closer and heard him saying “I play the drums. This drum is called hem in our language. This wooden musical instrument is one of our traditional instruments.”

She went ahead and saw Belsi Rabha speaking to another tourist “We generally compose songs based on our daily affairs as fishing in river, wars those our forefathers once experienced, various activities related to our lives become the subject of our songs. We have named this group Khushi Culture Club.” As she heard this, she felt proud to be a member of  Khushi Cultural club.

She reached The Jungle Book Homestay in Chilapata where she saw various other artists from Kolkata and North Bengal. As the program started she heard them playing the flute with Indian classical music, the tune of Rabindra Sangeet played on the Sitar and also the violin with some foreign symphony.

She enjoyed the songs rendered by Madhuryo Mukherjee (Barle Boyesh), Rick Biswas (Bade Achhe Lagte Hai), Ritban Guha(Jamaica Farewell), Aritra Mukherjee (Mary Ann), Ayan Chakraborty( Illahi), Nilanjan Saha (Na Tum Jano Na Hum).

She was so mesmerized that she went and spoke to Anunay Chamling Rai who played the flute and Shubham Ghosh who plays the Sitar. Her favorite instrument was the violin which was played by Sourojyoti Chatterjee, and then she met Tirthankar Sarkar Das who plays the guitar.

The entire evening was a memorable experience. She was happy and thinking of each tune which she heard when someone approached her. She turned and saw Sourav Banerjee and Archan Chakraborty “You are a very good singer little one. We have captured your video, do you want to see it?” they asked.

“Of course” She replied excitedly.

“Here it is” said Archan.

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You can also see it in the official Facebook page of The Dreamers Music PR Agency, are you in facebook?” asked Sourav.

“Yes my baba bought me a smart phone as we had online classes during the pandemic. So I also registered to Facebook” replied Gethi.

But as slowly the evening came to an end she felt sad that the day was over. She wondered if they will do this next year as well. She wented to know so she went and asked Sudipta Chanda of The Dreamers, the organizer of the event.

He smiled and said “Of course we will. This was the first time we organized such an event in the jungle. We generally organize Kolkata Street Music Festival, Mountain Music Festival. One of the main objectives of these kinds of events is to explore new talents. Beside that here we wanted to promote the importance of forest in our life, spreading awareness through songs was also one of the objectives of this initiative.”

A satisfied Gethi went back home happily waiting to return the next year.

 

Disclaimer :
This story is based on true events of the Forest Music Festival organized by The Dreamers on 21st of March. The character of Gethi is fictional though. Some portion is inspired by Satyajit Ray’s documentary “Sikkim”.

 

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