Famous for his rendition of Moner Manush, Indian composer Satyaki Banerjee spread the magic of his music on the first day of Folk Fest 2018. Earlier in an intimate conversation, he spoke about his musical experience.
You began with classical music, what made you shift to folk music?
It happened through music, of course. I used to be an instrumentalist. When I visited Paush mela for the first time during college days, it changed my outlook on music overnight; I wanted to be a singer.
You play a number of instruments, what got you interested in them?
Nowadays, almost all musicians play multiple instruments. I play a couple, but I am a trained sarod player so I use that same knowledge to play the other instruments. When I play the oud, I do not play the traditional tune. It does not have any exotic value for me; I only use the strings of the instrument to play my music. I felt if alap is played right on oud it, actually sounds like veena.
Did your experience as a historian help you in your music?
As a student of history, the knowledge helps me make the choice of music. My education acts like my teacher, which helps me take a conscious decision. I can then create my own philosophy and care for the music I follow.
Are you working on your own compositions? Do you plan on an album soon?
The songs I compose are all recorded in my phone. The process of making an album looks very arduous to me. Honestly, I lose interest in my own compositions very quickly. I suppose I have not yet created anything which I can really call my own. I admire singer-songwriters, like the Baul mahajans who sing their own songs. If I can ever be one, I'll consider myself truly blessed.
What is your opinion on the Bangladeshi audience?
The love for music in Bangladesh is immense. They are dilettante of good music. If the music does not excite them, they immediately react and that is how it should be. When I was returning home after playing with Arko the last time, this man grabbed Arko and told him how he loved his music. Music is the most ephemeral form of art, and it is that instantaneous emotion that matters.