ANNIV SPL: Indulge decodes five rising trends with Kolkata musicians

From indie music on the rise to Bengali rap, here’s a sneak peek
Decoding music trends with Kolkata musicians
Decoding music trends with Kolkata musicians

Music has moved out of studios and into the homes of people through several mediums. But what is interesting is that today one has a variety of genres to pick from. Cafes and restaurants have contributed majorly to indie music by promoting live acts of emerging and established musicians as has the film industry which gives the traditional and folk songs a fresh look. Indulge takes a look at five such emerging music trends in the city which look promising.

Indie on the rise

City cafés and community spaces have helped independent music flourish to a great extent. The gig culture has been instrumental in bringing fresh and youthful tunes. Musician Syamantak Sengupta mentions, “Kolkata with its increasing number of cafés and pubs, has a thriving demand for live music. New musicians are encouraged to play since they are more in sync with the young crowd, allowing them to bloom.” He adds, “Not only is live music a massive crowd puller, it also gives emerging artistes an opportunity to showcase their talent to a wider audience.” On the work front, Syamantak will be releasing new songs, touring with his band Alo, and can be caught live at Chapter 2 on weekends.

Sway to Folk

Folk has found its way into contemporary music thanks to films, which has also made the young listeners aware of the rich heritage. Singer, song-writer and composer Surojit Chatterjee mentions, “Folk is so deep rooted that it is easily identified with. Also, with very few copyright restrictions it is easier to adapt. Familiar folk songs are easy to relate to. I have two music videos Gole Male Pirit Kore Na and Aage ki sundor Din Kataitam. I also did Bhoromor Koio Gia for Prakton. This was my experience of using a folk song. They speak about deep-rooted values in simple words.” He adds, “I believe folk songs have great content and are appealing and simple.”

Rap it Up!

Rap as a genre has been winning hearts of listeners. More rappers are giving it a try, and Bengali rap is nowhere behind. Rapper Tina Ghoshal mentions, “Bengali rap music is currently experiencing a significant surge in popularity, led by a cadre of young and talented artistes at the forefront, contributing to its dynamic growth. The genre’s appeal lies in its ability to resonate with a diverse audience, particularly the Bengali-speaking youth.” Her albums address social issues including women empowerment, politics, child labour and more with a fusion of contemporary rap and traditional Bengali folk elements. She adds, “In the live performance domain, Kolkata is witnessing the emergence of rap shows, albeit on a limited scale. The fusion of powerful lyrics, cultural resonance, and engaging performances is gradually becoming one of the defining features of rap scene in Kolkata.” Looking forward, she says, “The trajectory of Bengali rap appears promising. The audience, once confined to digital platforms, is now transitioning to live shows, expanding the genre’s reach. I want my music to transcend boundaries and connect with audiences.”

Jazz on the floor

The Skinny Mo’s Jazz Club has been at the forefront of new-age jazz concerts. Co-founder Munir Mohanty says, “The only sustained Jazz scene in the city has been the Dalhousie Institute Jazz Festival since 1980’s. Around 2014 Thursday Night Jazz was started. Now there are a few places apart from Skinny Mo’s that have jazz gigs. It’s picking up. As long as we have venues where Jazz artistes can play there will be events happening.” Talking about Skinny Mo’s audience, he says, “It was surprising that besides the people who came for Jazz concerts, every time there were young people in their 20s. Now, at least 30-40% of people are young listeners, which is very encouraging.” Going forward, “With renewed interest in performance, the live scene will pick up. With a bar added to Skinny Mo’s there will be regular gigs,” he says.

Count your beats!

What started as a form of vocal percussion impersonating drums has now become a full-fledged community! Beatboxing in Kolkata has quite a large audience and is flourishing on regional and even national scale. Beatboxer Bishaljit Sarkar mentions, “Beatbox is a niche art form but it requires a whole lot of skill, patience, musical sense and knowledge. It is still underground but lately garnering world-wide exposure . ” Having found the Kolkata Beatbox Community, Sarkar adds, “Beatboxing today finds a space in college fests, city battles and championships, to Indian championships judged by World Champions . This provides an impetus to local talents”.

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