She has experimented previously with Rabindra Sangeet. Her audacious rock infused Rabindra Sangeet renditions infuriated many. How dare one get up on stage, a simple jeans tee clad along with long-haired band members and sing the age-old classics like a rebel child? But she instantly became the endearing “Somlata Di” for an entire generation of college goers. She inspired hostel residing guitar players to experiment with the existing classics. She found love in those who wanted to hear something new. She did not stop, and her music album “Ami Achi er Majhe” was an apt reply to the world. “Jeno ami shey meye je tomar adday topic change er Karon”. She has indeed dared to change the topic, picked up the mic, and sung her way to glory. That was classic Somlata: Unapologetic and bold.
There are only two types of people who talk about Somlata and her work. Ones who hate her, and the ones who completely love her work. Her music challenges your sensations
and leaves you with a distinct aftertaste. You cannot just ignore it and have no opinion.
Her following Rabindra Sangeet album “Tomar Khola Hawa” was yet another presentation of choicest songs which people are only too used to hear in a certain way. Be it the Bhatiyali style Tomar Khola Hawa or the melancholy Je raate mor duar guli. We have grown up listening to these ever popular songs in a completely different way. However, Somlata (along with her band Somlata and the Aces) presented a completely new dimension to these songs. I had to listen to the songs a few times to realize
my feelings towards them. My favorite from this album was Roope tomay bholabona, a song performed with almost no accompaniments that amplified the depth of her voice.
Blank Slate Chronicles had covered the journey of this beautiful crooner around the release of her previous album. Since then she has released many songs in the Bengali film industry. Being aware of her classical roots, I remember asking her if she would do something with classical music. She said she was thinking about it, but nothing was certain. A few days back, she launched her classical fusion album “Kaa karoon Sajni”.
Classical fusion has been going around in Indian musical circles for some time now but not so much in Bengal. Many bands like Agam, Strumm Sounds, and other Coke Studio inspirations have created compositions based on popular bandishes, ghazals, taranas. Somlata has yet again delivered on her promise to be bold. Kaa karoon Sajni is a popular Thumri by Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, sung by the stalwarts of Hindustani Classical
If you have heard it previously it is essentially a composition depicting heartbreak of a lovelorn lass, for her lover is not coming. Not Somlata’s rendition though. With deeper undertones, her Kaa Karoon Sajni is a dark expression of a woman’s desires. She explains her pain, but she is not broken. The videography complements her notes, with dark frames and an overall black theme. The woman in Somlata’s Kaa Karoon Sajni is heartbroken, sure, but angry more.
To conclude, I would just say Somlata and her band, Somlata and the Aces has created a rendition that suits today’s woman. A woman of multiple dimensions, a woman who is capable of loving, and expects love right back. Nothing to prove to anyone but to just be herself. If you haven’t already, do listen to “Kaa Karoon Sajni” by Somlata and the Aces. It might take you a few times to make up your mind if you love it or not. But I can tell you one thing, it is new, it is bold, it is not begging for attention… And it is classic Somlata.