Can a song change the way an entire generation thinks, speaks, feels? It can. It did. On April 23, 1992, when Kabir Suman released his first solo album, ” Tomake Chai”, Bengalis found their voice. Expressing love had never been more beautiful.
On Monday, when the album completed 20 years, music lovers got together at Rotary Sadan to witness the making of history. Not giving in to the temptation of staging a commercial show with chartbusters from his own albums, the maverick singer-songwriter touched down on the history of adhunik Bangla gaan. And his wide repertoire left all mesmerised.
Neel aka Sujan Mukherjee said, “It was an experience of a lifetime. Sumanda rendered songs by some of the finest musicians. From Pankaj Mullick’s “Vande Mataram” to a song by Anupam Ghatak, he took us on a ride to the past.”
Making the occasion more special, Neel revealed how he too has come up with a song on the musician – “Chete pute khelam kobial er koto bhasha”. “In my own way, I too wanted to pay a tribute to Sumanda,” he said. And the man in the middle? He spoke about how he was in love, hook, line and sinker to have come up with a song like that. “When my father heard it, he asked me to give up on music. But my mother felt a process had begun – though she wasn’t sure what.”
From Pt Jnan Prakash Ghosh, Premendra Mitra to Bob Dylan and others – Suman spoke about his influences – giving the audience a peek into the metamorphosis of Bangla music. There were a few lighter moments as well with Suman confusing kaushik Ganguly with Srikanto Acharya in the audience. But at the end, when the singer enthralled with his timeless classic, the audience joined in. It was almost as if their feelings for the man could be summed up in two simple words. ‘Tomake chai’ were those.