Kolkata: A politician, an incendiary orator, a painter, a poetess, and now, a composer of music. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who released her first music album on Sunday, wears many hats.
The album, which she launched at an event on Sunday, is called “Utsaber Gaan” (Festival Songs). It contains eight songs she wrote and composed, including one she sang with West Bengal minister Indranil Sen as well as Bengali singer and Trinamool legislator Aditi Munshi.
“All lyrics and compositions are by the Honorable Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and she sang the song herself Takdumadum. She has been composing songs for 10 years now,” Sen, the state’s Minister of Information and Culture, told ThePrint.
‘Tak dumadum’ refers to the rhythm of dhak (drum), played Durga Puja.
Besides Sen and Munshi, others featured on the album are Tourism Minister Babul Supriyo, singers Jeet Gannguli, Sriradha Bandyopadhyay, Monomoy Bhattacharya, Trisha Parui and Chandrika. The album was released at an event hosted by TMC spokesperson ‘Jago Bangla’ to unveil the puja edition of editorials and reports for his magazine.
Mamata, who has written over a hundred books – including books of poetry – is known to be a patron Arts.
“The Chief Minister composes songs on her travels. She often sends me voice notes on WhatsApp with the lyrics and melody and then we put the song together,” Sen told ThePrint.
The minister is an acclaimed singer himself and is the CM’s first choice of music, even at government events.
“In my 42 years as a singer, I have never met someone like Mamata Banerjee, who thinks about music and composes songs the way she does. This after dealing with the entire state and 344 blocks It proves that his first love is art and culture,” Sen said.
Read also : The BJP chooses a non-Brahmin woman to perform its Durga Puja in Bengal. What is the message ?
“Beautifully written, with a touch of modern rock”
Jeet Gannguli, who is also a music composer, told ThePrint it was the first time he sang a song composed by someone other than himself.
“It was a great feeling. For the first time, I sang a song composed by Didi, which was beautifully written with a touch of modern rock,” he told ThePrint. “The melody was great, the lyrics were great. I recorded the song in Mumbai and sent it. I am very grateful that she chose me.
Gannguli, who is preparing for a concert in the United States, said santoor maestro Pandit Shivkumar Sharma once told him that you cannot learn to be a composer.
“It has to come from within. You can practice playing an instrument or learn sargamum (melody) but composing songs is a talent. Mamata Didi has the melody in her, she has the quality and deep understanding of melody and tone. It was a memorable experience for me,” he added, adding that he would sing the song for his fans.
The album release on Sunday also had some interesting moments. Like the time when Mamata, which inaugurated Chetla Agrani Durga Puja of Mayor of Kolkata and Minister of Urban Development Firhad Hakimwarned Supriyo, a singer-turned-politician and former Union minister who was made a minister in his office last month for not singing “from his heart”.
Supriyo missed the album launch, but attended Hakim’s concert puja event that took place later that day.
“You are busy singing your own songs and you forget mine,” Mamata told Supriyo, who also released her own album “Joy Maa Durga” earlier today. “I saw, you didn’t sing my song with your heart.”
The moment was recorded on a Facebook Live.
“I was honored [that] Mamata Banerjee released my album on the same day,” Supriyo told ThePrint. “And when such an important person is part of the big day, you tend to be concerned, and unfortunately I missed the ‘Jago Bangla’ event. But that’s how Mamata Banerjee is. She’s [so] compassionate that she can jokingly tell us [off] from a place of authority with the microphone in hand.
Supriyo, who is known for his popular Bollywood songs such as ‘Dil ne dil ko Pukara‘, and ‘Chanda Chamke’, called Bengal CM a musician from the heart.
“There is very little difference between politics and music,” he said.
In a press conference she gave on August 31, Mamata said she had been writing poetry since she was in fifth grade.
“I know there are a lot of memes about me on social media sites, I know. On YouTube, CPIM, Congress and BJP are making fun of me. What’s the problem if I paint? I encourage you to paint too,” she told the media. “What can I do if I write while I’m holding a pen or paint while I’m holding a brush? I’m a learner; I learn from new things every day. I sing, I also encourage you to sing. In my free time, which I rarely have, I like to do creative things.
(Edited by Uttara Ramaswamy)
Read also: No ‘double standards’ – TMC sticks to Mamata’s ‘good RSS’ as Sangh calls it ‘the balancing act’