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Folk with an edge

SOHINI CHAKROVORTY
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Music Bengali music band Teetas takes long forgotten traditional folk songs and adds a contemporary twist to it.

Folk stars The band members of Teetas PHOTO: G. Ramakrishna
Folk stars The band members of Teetas PHOTO: G. Ramakrishna

I t's like rohu fish cooked with continental spices,” that is how Bengali music band Teetas describe its music. Named after the river, Teetas started its journey three years back with an aim to revive traditional folk songs and present it with a contemporary touch. “Before coming together as a band all of us used to pursue music and perform at various functions individually. It was during one of those cultural programmes that we got to know each other and formed the band,” explains Tama Dey, one of the lead vocalists of the band.

It was Mary Banerjee who had the initial brainwave of starting the band and with Tama Dey and Simi Bhadra, they form the lead female vocalists. Ablu Chakravarty is on the keyboard, Sandip Das the lead guitarist, Rajashree Ghosh on base guitar Junaidul Karim who is called Milan in the band on octopad and Sunayana Ghosh on tabla and dhol. Whether it is Tusu, Jhumur, Bihu, Dhamile or Rabindra Sangeeth, Teetas provides an edge to the traditional tunes. “Every music surrounds folk and we realised that folk is slowly getting lost. However, we have travelled across the length and breadth of the country to collect original folk songs and fuse it with our own music,” says Milan. Straying away from their comfort zone the band is also delving with Punjabi and Gujarati folk songs to reach out to a pan Indian audience. “During one of our rehearsals we heard a group of construction labourers singing to maintain a steady rhythm while at work. We liked the beats so much that we incorporated them in one of our songs,” narrates Tama Dey who insists that music can come from all quarters and has no boundaries. Juggling two careers these artists have dedicated their lives to music. Simi Bhadra who is a practicing lawyer says, “Most of us have given up our lucrative careers to pursue music. Despite everything we show up for rehearsals without fail. Even our families have become extension of the band. We have no room for conflicts.

Having performed at various locations within the country and on television shows, the members feel that the audience is experimenting with the music as Bollywood songs have become a bit clichéd. “Earlier the music bands had a single element of folk but now you have music bands dedicated completely to folk music. Our music reminds the audience of the songs that they heard from their grandparents and villages and with a modern touch they are able to associate and groove to our music,” says Milan.

Teetas recently performed in the city as a part of the Saraswati Puja celebrations organised by Batayan.

SOHINI CHAKROVORTY

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