West Bengal is renowned for its rich art and culture as well as the intellectual aura of its people. The richness of Bengali culture also reflects in the music of the state. Music, more than being an art, is a passion for Bengalis. More than a millennium old, Bengali music has become diverse with so many varieties within. The variety is such that once you get familiar with it, you will not need to look beyond it. From classical to rock, folk to devotional, you will get almost every possible music form in Bangla Sangeet. Then, there is the display of a wide range of emotions - be it love, sadness, anxiety, motivation, devotion or spirituality. Let us know more about the music of West Bengal.
Classical Bangla Music
Classical Bangla music, like the classical music forms of India, is basically sculptured on the musical nodes called ragas. The traditional Bangla music is based either directly on the Bengali classical or some of its variation. Many of the ragas that are native to the classical Bangla music can also be found in the Hindustani classical or Carnatic classical music.
Another popular form of Bengali music is the Rabindra Sangeet, developed by Nobel Laureate 'Rabindra Nath Tagore'. This music form is more popular amongst the educated group of people. Highly prophetic and intellectual, it is made up of a collection of over two thousand songs and is considered to be the most defining expression of Bangla music.
Nazrul Geeti is the form of music developed by the great revolutionary poet Kazi Nazrul Islam. The music is highly motivational and revolutionary in nature and was used popularly during the freedom struggle. Though, unlike Rabindra Sangeet, this music wasn't used commercially, due to its revolutionary notions, it enjoyed great popularity. The music is a highly motivational, with strong and powerful words and catchy tunes.
Baul sangeet is a popular folk form of Bengali music, very similar to modern western folk music. It can also be compared to the popular Sufi genre, not simply because of the similarity in ragas, but also due to its similarity in the approach to music as a medium to interact with god. It aims to urge a man to find god within himself, instead of searching him in mosque, temples and churches. The lyrics and music of Baul sangeet are highly spiritual and intellectual.
Bhatiyali sangeet is another folk dialect of Bengali music. This folk music is far away from religious and sectarian bias. Said to be created by the boatmen, it has a natural, undiluted and raw flair. The songs consist of wonderful tunes, with highly philosophical lyrics.
Shyama sangeet belongs to the devotional genre of Bengali Music. It is basically dedicated to Maa Kali, the goddess of power, also known as 'Shyama'. This form of music developed during the 12th-13th century, when 'Shaktism' gained hold in Bengal. This music describes the form of love between deity and devotee as the sublime love of mother and her child.
Adhunik Bangla Sangeet
Adhunik sangeet includes the exhaustive list of the different kinds of music developed in West Bengal, in the post independence era. The westernization and influence of movie-culture have given rise to a contemporary form of music in the state, which aims to cater the youth. Bengali pop and rock, along with Bengali film music, have also gained considerable popularity.