আমার আঁধার ঘরে জ্বলছে বাতি দিবারাতি নাই সেখানে, মনের মানুষ যেখানে।

We dedicate this page to those who have shown us the way, and still do. Some of you walk with us, some have walked before. Your wisdom shines like light, when we are groping in the dark.

SHIBDA, A NATURAL KEEPER OF KNOWLEDGE.

We mourn the passing of Shibda, Shibaditya Sen, our teacher in Santiniketan. Sukanta and I knew him separately as highschoolers, in different decades. Sukanta, more through growing up in and around Santiniketan; me, as Shibda’s direct student.  However, it is our work together as/for The Travelling Archive, especially our work on Arnold Bake, which took us to him again.
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A BOATMAN NAMED RANEN ROYCHOWDHURY.

When the 25-year-old Ranen Roychowdhury came to Calcutta from Sylhet, he carried in the vessel of his body, songs from a home he had to leave behind. But this was not just generic communal music that he brought with him, this was also a music processed inside the artist, something of his own, something which was born of his individual experence and sensitivity.

Majhi tor naam jani na
Ami daak dimu kare?

Boatman, I don’t know your name.
Who shall I call?

Ranendra Ballav Roychowdhury (1925-85), popularly known as Ranen Roychowdhury, was born in Tantikona village of the Chhatok region of Sylhet into a land-owning family, also engaged in the arts; his elder brother was a painter. He grew up in Sylhet, and came to Calcutta after Partition, in 1950. Those were politically difficult and heady times for a nation newly broken and nations newly born. His friends were the Communists, he too was a member of the Party and also active in the Indian People’s Theatre Association. He had learned to sing songs in the mystic tradition of the fakirs and bauls, from the itinerant and ‘sadhak’ singers he met at the shrine of Hazrat Shah Jalal in Sylhet, and whose close company he kept. more

MAP-MAKING WITH TAREQUE.

Tareque had opened for me the possibility of having a new country; a country of the mind. What connected me to him was the fact that both of us were engaged in a kind of cartography, mapping our fragmented land of Bengal with songs and stories, crossing boundaries, making mental journeys to distant geographies, playing with a complex of times. more

DEBEN BHATTACHARYA.

Deben Bhattacharya (1921-2001) was essentially a traveller into worlds of music. He was born in Varanasi, into a family of Sanskrit scholars and practitioners of traditional medicine, which had earlier migrated to this north Indian centre of learning from Faridpur in Bangladesh. A man who could not conform to formal education, Deben Bhattacharya went in his twenties to London, prompted by a deep urge to travel. From then began an enchanting life as music recordist, records producer, filmmaker, writer and translator, who worked in more than 30 countries around the world, but had made Paris and Kolkata his two homes. It was not at all common for someone from the subcontinent to embark on such a career in the 1950s; even later.more

THE MAGICAL FINGERS OF TINKORI CHAKRABORTY.

On a Wednesday evening at the end of August 2014, Tinkori Chakraborty, the magical dubki player of Nadia, wandered out of an ashram near Krishnanagar not too far from his home in Nabadwip, where he had gone to visit, and since then he remained untraceable for about three days till his body was seen floating in the waters of a small and dead pond. The official post-mortem report will probably tell when the man had died and how. He was intoxicated perhaps and could not hold himself and maybe that’s why he fell into the waters from where he could not rise. Where he was walking, going from where to where and why, only he would know. Perhaps such details are of no consequence.more

SALAMOT KHAN: THE MAN WHO MADE PICKLE.

Salamot Khan, who was Salamotbhai to us and was our friend and teacher, lived and died a ‘local man’ in Faridpur, in western Bangladesh in August 2015. Since his death, Faridpur, the place which gave to us some of the best of our songs–Ibrahim Boyati and Habib, Laila and Nuru Pagla, Jainuddin’s jari and Sadek Ali’s bichchhed, Gosai Das’ kirtan, Ajmal’s Lalon, the broken voice of Idris Majhi and so much more—that place seems to have ‘died’ for us. Strange it is; so many of our richest sounds came out of that one place, and yet with one man gone, it becomes clear to us that he was the river through whose body all that music flowed. What happens when such a river stops flowing? more

Notice Board

Shibaditya Sen

We mourn the passing of Shibda, Shibaditya Sen (1952-2018), our teacher in Santiniketan. Gone too soon, and another light has faded out of our sky.
Read more in our tribute page
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