Enjoying life as a freelance musician is Ananda Sen, our Kolkata boy, but now very much entrenched in the Goa soil. It’s impossible to separate Sen from his first few albums — Maybe Baking and Heads Up — almost 10-12 years ago, with its tumultuous backstory. However, four years back, he left Kolkata to settle down and make more meaningful music in Goa. “Back then Goa was quite like Kolkata with lots of music happening but not much money though,” says Sen with a wry smile. But he adds that the pandemic has put a spanner to even that scenario and nothing much is happening in Goa other than cover band programmes and restaurant singing.
But Sen is not sitting quiet. Coming very soon is an untitled album comprising nine-10 songs, mostly a collection of singles than a cohesive whole.
“It’s an unsettlingly dense album with lots of instrumentation and the guitar. It’s very old school in that it’s just songs, guitar and vocals. Basically, real instruments with real singing and words. In fact, my producer has sort of played the drums,” says Sen who adds that most of the songs are done over the years, such as Sky High, Pages from the Past, Trigger and so on, making the lyrics all the more stark and powerful. Helping Sen in this endeavour is the famous composer-recordist Miti Adhikari who is his Olaulim neighbour in North Goa. Sen hopes to put up the songs on Spotify, Apple Music and other platforms, and is still scouring for a label. Of course, there could be a few promotional concerts in various cities, provided he is able to source the right musicians.
Ananda Sen teaching music and forming a band for the children of Future Hope, an NGO in Kolkata
He is upfront when queried about bands and its future, especially his own former ones, Supersonics and Ritornellos. “I doubt whether anyone has any more temperament to form bands. There’s so much bonding, teamwork needed but not in default mode. I don’t see any new bands either though some like The Strokes are still very much on. And, of course, musicians like Cass McCombs,” says Sen
Sen is slightly unhappy that there is no longer original art in music. “Contemporary music has nothing to do with guitar or lyrics. The band scene is almost gone and it’s best to work with individual musicians on a project-to-project basis,” says the Bob Dylan fan. He is also keeping himself busy with providing sounds, trailers, videos and logos for Hollywood productions. Besides, he’s teaching music and forming a band for the children of Future Hope, an NGO in Kolkata, mostly online and offline when he hits town. “This interaction with kids is absolutely great. We do scales, tuning, strumming together and I can’t tell you the joy that music gives to the children,” he says.
By his own honest admission and disillusionment towards the current music scenario, Sen has gone ahead adding professional academic qualifications to his CV and is teaching English all over the world. “I am done trying to just live with music and this English teaching to students from China, Taiwan and wherever… is a new high for me. So far so good, I am enjoying it,” concludes Sen before packing his bags for Goa.