There are around a hundred singers in the city, each with thousand words tied together in an unconventional pattern of notes. However, most of the times, these songs go missing when it comes to the popular music scene. Segregated between the popular singers who sing for the big bucks and the singers who write solely for the joy of it, the city of Calcutta has recently seen an upheaval in the independent music scene; and Durjoy Choudhury has a major role to play in it.
Being in the independent music scene for almost 12 years, there can probably be no one better who could tell you about the kind of setbacks that the independent music scene has been facing in the city. There is no money, there is no recognition. The former lead singer of Bee and the Buskers, Durjoy Choudhury took up the initiative to bring to the forefront the musicians who compose their original music and write their own songs. Durjoy was initially approached by Abhibroto who had told him, “I would like to record you.” Durjoy came up with something else, “Why would you like to record me when you have the whole city to record?” Friday Night Originals (FNO) came to the city on 4 March 2016, and ever since it has been bringing out the original content of the original artist.
FNO had its initial recordings done at The Imaginarium, Abhibroto’s home studio in Kolkata. In the first season, they brought out several newcomers such as Projjwal Bhattacharya, Abhishu Rakshit, Namrata Nath along with several well-known independent musicians of the city such as Neel Adhikary, Rahul Guha Roy and The Bodhisattwa Trio. Over the next season, they covered artists across the country, from the foothills of Siliguri (MadNug) to the graduate from Berkley College of Music, Boston (Sanjeeta). FNO is probably one of those few initiatives which are absolutely independent in their own terms. “If you have a good song, and very new”, as Durjoy Da would describe it, your song has a chance to reach the audience even when the big bucks are unable to make it. Every season holds 16 slots where the musicians are selected through a demo. There have been times when the established good bands could not make it through the scrutinizing process.
FNO takes no money from the artists it records, nor does it allow any sponsor to dictate its cause. It strictly believes in the quality and the originality of the music. “We don’t judge anybody based on anything. You don’t have to be popular on the scene to get recorded. Whoever you are, if the music is good, we will do everything to help it reach the larger audience.” Durjoy Da, who is quite popular in the city for his own original content did not mind giving up his band to solely concentrate on providing a platform to the independent musicians. “One small sacrifice can always be done for the greater good.”
The FNO team holds members who are dedicated to the fact that the musicians should not sell off their dreams. Now recording from BlooperHouse Studios in Salt Lake, Kolkata, they have covered artists at a wider range. Their latest season, Season 3, has seen popular artists such as Under Ground Authority, Lakkhichara, and The Latination record their popular numbers with them.
Durjoy Da has a song where he says, “I came here just to sell my dreams.” However, on Fridays, he sells dreams of those who have probably not thought of dreaming yet. He sells dreams on a Friday as that seems to be the day more connected to independent music, the day when the weekly responsibilities come to a halt. Durjoy Da takes in nothing but gives out a huge platform to the struggling musicians of the city.
The members of FNO are as follows:
Durjoy Choudhury- Founder, director, editor
Abhibroto Mitra- Co-Founder, sound engineer
Subham Goyal- Business Analyst
Anushree Bhatter, Aditya Chowdhury, Harsh Doshi, Budhaprabha Roy- Cinematographer
Deepank Seth- Asst. sound engineer