Mohin Music Friends Are Still Crazy After All These Years

In the world of Bangla groups of Calcutta, Mohiner Ghoraguli has an iconic status. A pioneer and genre that came to life in the turbulent 1970s under the aegis of Gautam Chatterjee, aka Monida, their songs are spoken in a tone of affection, affection and reverence, even by young musicians of today. hui.

Who can ever forget ‘Kotha Diya’ and ‘Hay Bhalobasha’. Or for that matter ‘Amar Dokkhin Khola Janalay’ and songs from the year later like ‘Prithibi’ and ‘Telephone‘.

As the story goes, when Mohiner Ghoraguli did not reach the Rs 7,000 needed to burn their first EP in 1977 (Shongbigno Pakhikul O Kolkata Bishayak), they had to borrow Rs 2,000 from a “kabuliwala”. When the EP finally came out, Monida would make a point of mentioning “foreign funding” as one of the main resources that made this happen.

All of this and more is part of Kolkata’s Bangla Band tradition.

Bhalobashi Picasso Bunoyel Daante

Beatles Dylan ar Beethoven shunte

Rabishankar ar Ali Akbar shune

Bhalo lage bhore kuashay ghore phirte ‘

Cut to 2021. One of the original Mohin’s founding members, Tapas “Bapi” Das, who has led a youth group for decades, is now set to perform; and who knows, they may even relive some of those old stories.

Calling themselves Mohin Ekhon O Bodhura, they dutifully observed September 12 as their founding day. This year, they have taken the plunge to give a live concert to unveil selections from a new EP that has been in the works for some time. At TopCat CCU, they are expected to perform at least two of their new songs, in addition to Mohin’s age-old hymns, while upholding Covid standards, Bapida told TTOnline, sounding grim and responsible. Her voice cleared, however, during the conversation about the good old days. Extracts.

My Kolkata: The last and a half years have been difficult for everyone. However, Mohin Ekhon O Bondhura is releasing a new EP.

Tapas ‘Bapi’ Das: Yes, tell me about that. For performing artists, it is always difficult because we are dependent on concerts, live shows. But the pandemic put an end to that. You, as a music lover, critic and writer, can well understand that there is always something special about performing in front of an audience. There is the applause, sometimes there are also hoots (smiles)! Spontaneity is the key … And sometimes we even get standing ovations. All of this keeps us going. These days the members of our group seem to be driving each other, pushing each other. I guess somewhere deep down we think things are going to get better and the good times are not far away.

Bapida, tell us about the new songs you will perform on September 12th.

We are releasing two new songs. One deals with the condition of street children. He invites people to share their dreams. The second song is about going back to your roots. It’s a tribute to where you think you belong. His name is ‘Bhiter Taane’.

To do a live show at that time, given the circumstances, is a bold move. When did you decide to take the plunge?

We observe and celebrate September 12 is our founding day. Last year we released our album, Bon Paakhi, (Wild Bird) digitally. But our party didn’t think much about the experience. We were all pretty depressed about the lack of connection with real people in real time. It was then that we decided to launch our next album via live no matter what. It has never been easy. And now, given where we are, it’s even more difficult. But we were determined to execute this project while respecting all rules and regulations in place due to the ongoing pandemic.

Bon Pakhi by Moheen Ekhon O Bandhura

You were part of an iconic group of musicians who hold a very special place in our musical heritage. How do you think back to the days of Mohiner Ghoraguli with the late Gautam Chatterjee, aka Monida?

Well, despite the hardships we faced, I remember those days of the 1970s fondly, the kind espoused by, say, “Those were the days my friend, we thought they would never end.” Today I feel lucky because I was one of the founding members of Mohiner Ghoraguli and I was able to share a very close relationship with Monida. You know, Monida was a versatile musician. It was in his genes. I learned a lot from him. My socio-political consciousness was because of him. “It’s been a hard day at night,” sang the famous quartet we all love. This kind of describes how I remember those days. We had long hair and tried to be seen with faded jeans. But we were strangers to our neighbors and to our public. We were the recipients of the typical middle-class sneer, always judged for what wasn’t. What all of us “Mohin’s horses” have always believed in is that an artist should always be sensitive to his environment. We have to stand up for something and have the nerve not to swim with the current. Over the past 45 years, I have seen how times have changed. But I still love swimming against the tide, and that’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned from Monida in the nearly two decades I’ve spent with him.

Moheen Ekhon O Bondhura belts the classic, Bhalobashi

Today everyone is walking around with headphones, listening to music or whatever. Yet the musicians who create the music the world listens to are the worst off. It’s as if they don’t exist. How do you reconcile that?

It’s very humiliating for artists. It is also the cause of depression in many of us. I have come to accept it. I am resigned to the fact that I live in a third world country where the assessment, and ultimately the appreciation, for a group like Mohiner Ghoraguli came decades after our breakup. I am at a stage where I am not expecting anything. But I worry about young musicians today.

Best wishes for the show, Bapida!

Thank you.

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