At the Vault

” A song is to me what life gives.”

Last night at the Vault, five original composers and India’s very own Bob Dylan came together to pay a tribute, and to contribute to the independent music scene of the city. What came around as an upshot to this was the spawning of the genesis of songwriting.

Tathagata Bhowmik, the former songwriter of Do’s and Don’t’s, was the first one to perform. His compositions were that of fervour, where in most he spoke about the cherishing dwelling of love and its consistent inclination to drop out of sight. Tathagata’s song Clouds White Clouds spoke about the kind of affection which dematerializes itself after a point of time, and soon it cease to exist. Mellifluent with his compositions, they were the perfect blend between dejection and tribulation.

The next act by Ryhaan was nothing less than a pleasant merry making. The youngest performer in the house interfused Rock with Pop to keep the audience up on their toes- didn’t matter if anyone in the house was heavily stewed. His offhand improvisation brought the ambience off-the-cuff. His song which he casually announced to be the C Song might sound to most like a hasty headlong rush to notes, yet the boy was confident and the song sailed clear.

Amartya Ray came up with something absolutely different to offer. “When you add music to your poem it becomes a song.” His songs which deal with the impulsive temperament of the young mind, which often goes through an overflow of distinct emotions- sometimes in love, sometimes wandering beyond the horizon, sometimes only a little sad- probably for the first time in the evening brought the audience together. His song Little Man which is about the promised who still awaits for the day to turn and the dawn to arrive is possibly one of his most illustrious compositions. Amartya later paid a tribute to Leornard Cohen, as he was accompanied by Durjoy to perform the poet’s song Suzanne.

As Lou Majaw had told earlier that evening, “A song is to me what life gives.” Watching him perform was like being extremely young again. The man who is known to have carried on Bob Dylan’s legacy in India supports nothing more than originality in an artist’s performance. For him no one can possibly have time for hatred, ill will and abhorrence if all would only be with music, listen to it, play it, do anything with it. He shared a little bit of himself with us, as he went on to sing for the rest of the night:

“When you’re sad and when you’re lonely
And you haven’t got a friend
Just remember that death is not the end
When you’re standing at the crossroads
That you cannot comprehend
Just remember that death is not the end”.

Last night at the vault, there was a song, there was a thought, there was poetry. Last night at the vault people were happy.

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A Song and a Thought

As Bob Dylan would say a song is something that walks by itself. Sometimes it just happens by itself, and maybe, that is why a song can be the most honest expression. A song has forms, it has dialects, it has structure, and it has a method of execution. However, as most songs are sung in their respective regional languages- which for almost all becomes a barrier when communicating among races- one can always decipher a song as a palpable language of its own kind.

“Language has never been a barrier for us.”

Mir Kashif Iqbal, the lead guitarist of Parvaaz, explained that the language of the song might often depend on its purpose. If a song is to walk by itself, that is, if it is supposed to inflect a certain impression solely by the lyrics then probably language might have a bigger role to play than the music. However, oftener a song takes its form on the intermixture of music and lyrics. Parvaaz takes it to a distinctive level where their offbeat variation actually punctuate the common mood. For an instance, their song ‘Behosh’, which talks about the self’s escape from the self and the drudgery of the constant urge to be free of inhibition, begins with the lines: “Meherbaan, khadardaan, wunbusu tayibayaan”, which is in Kashmiri/ pashto. It is immediately followed by the line: “Asaan bilkul nahin tha, khud se peecha chudaana”. The synchronisation between the two languages gives an edge to the core essence of the song.

Check out the song here :

Kashmiri songs are noted for the distinct sound of sarinda, rubae, sarangi and santoor. What makes Parvaaz stand apart from the many other electronically equipped bands is that, they maintain the individuality of those folk instruments through their guitars and drum. Their liveliness offsets the rather paintive melody and accentuates the rhythm. It is most well understood in their song Roz Roz which was written by the revolutionary Kashmiri poet Mahjoor and originally sung by Ghulam Hassan Sofi. The song begins with a trance beat, soon shifting its curve to the local tonal value of Kashmiri song.

Listen to their album Baran here:

Parvaaz can easily be distinguished due to their tendency to obliterate the grey zone between poetry and music.

As said by Kashif: “As kids we read many poems back in school, and they have remained in our subconscious for the longest time. We did not have to look anywhere else, where it came to composing music.”

Poems and songs share the similar pattern of structuring when it comes to verses, refrains and chorus. They give a regular rhythm to the otherwise despodent turmoil of the mind. Parvaaz maintains that regular rhythm throughout in each of their songs without distorting the essential sensitivity of neither of the art forms.

It is almost a privilege to listen to Parvaaz as they completely seem to abide by music as the only moral law. Their songs are like the invincible bridge between communities, revealing an older sense of wisdom and philosophy. They simultaneously work on both the conscious and the unconscious aspects of the self, reflecting physiological consequences.