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Pujo Music

Sahana Bajpaie on pros and cons of virtual concerts

‘I have been doing online streaming for the past year and a half, and it is not a very easy job, either for the performer or the people listening to you live’

Urvashi Bhattacharya | Published 26.10.21, 04:52 AM

(L-R) Sahana Bajpaie during Pujo Rock; Sahana Bajpaie ziplining with her daughter

The Pujas are always a time for fun, adda and music. And happiness was in the air when Sahana Bajpaie took centre stage at Swinhoe Street to live-stream her gig during Indian Oil Pujo Rock, in association with t2. Taking place on Sashthi (October 11), the event saw Sahana perform some of her originals. The gig was made even more special as she lives in London and was able to experience the Pujas after a very long time in Calcutta. Here’s what she told us after her gig.

How did it feel to associate with Pujo Rock?

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It was an absolutely fantastic experience because, as artistes, this Puja was all quite barren again because of the Covid situation. To be able to have a concert titled Pujo Rock, which was live-streamed… I thought it was a great initiative to be associated with during the festive season. This happened on Sashthi, which was a great start for the Pujas. The gig by EMG Events was great, they were thorough and it was an honour to work with them.

The live-stream crossed 4,000 views on the first day. How does it feel to interact with fans online?

I have been doing online streaming for the past year and a half, and it is not a very easy job, either for the performer or the people listening to you live. But the gig crossed 4,000 views at the moment it was being streamed! Many people watched it and loads of positive interactions had happened during the concert. But it is not an ideal stage for me to interact with my audience since I can’t see them and they can’t see me. The exchange of energy that happens at a live concert goes missing. But we have to reimagine things in these dire times and we have to represent ourselves as performers accordingly.

Was the concert a good way to begin Puja celebrations?

It was absolutely brilliant to be able to perform on Sashthi, especially because we did not have many shows this year. Music is the best thing to start anything with.

How did you celebrate the Pujas this year?

I live in London, so my Pujas are always on a weekend. Most of the time we work during the days that the Pujas take place and on weekends we go see a few Pujas around London. Since I am home this year, it was quite nice — meeting old friends, going around looking at a few Puja pandals in the neighborhood and especially the addas and music. That’s what Puja is all about — eating lots of good food and indulging.

You also took a trip to Darjeeling. What did you do over there?

We went to a tea estate near Ghoom and we stayed at a 120-year-old colonial bungalow. We wanted a quiet time away in the hills and it was a lovely trip and very exciting. We did go to Darjeeling for one day, to the zoo and then the mountaineering institute; I did a bit of ziplining with my daughter. We also went to Glenary’s to have lunch… the things you do in Darjeeling I suppose.

We saw a post on Instagram stating that you and Samantak Sinha had recorded a couple of songs for SOAS University of London’s concert series. Can you please share more?

This was a concert that was attached to the Bloomsbury Festival, which happens every October. Samantak and I were supposed to travel to London to perform but we couldn’t. So we performed through a video concert and the concert was to celebrate 50 years of independence of Bangladesh. We sang two songs from a very important record that came out in 1971 from Hindusthan Records. Samantak sang a song that reimagines the Bangla language as the essence of our lives, and I sang a song called Akash kade batash kade, which talks about ravaged women during the war and how they become immortal through songs. This is, of course, a part of a larger project that has been conceptualised by professor Somnath of SOAS and Georgie Pope of the SOAS music department. We are going to bring out an album, which will have songs that celebrate Bangladesh. Sohini Alam, a British-Bangladeshi singer, is also a part of it.

What lies ahead in your musical journey?

Samantak Sinha and I are recording a Rabindrasangeet album that will comprise six songs and we are doing it keeping in mind the younger generation. I’ve sung a song for Ayan Chakraborty’s film that came out during the Pujas. The other film that I have sung for is Olpo Holeo  Sotti ,which will soon come out. It’s a love song.

Last updated on 26.10.21, 04:52 AM
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