Fusing age-old traditional folk tunes with new-age music trends, melodies and arrangements is what inspires Pooja Shankar, Rahul Mukherjee and Randeep Bhaskar, who make up Antarman.
Fusing age-old traditional folk tunes with new-age music trends, melodies and arrangements is what inspires Pooja Shankar, Rahul Mukherjee and Randeep Bhaskar, who make up Antarman. The band recently released their self-titled six-track album that weaves contemporary rock and pop elements into Indian folk styles like Baul, Bihu, Bhatiyali and Sylheti.
Talking about their debut album Antarman, the band says, “The album is about folk forms from the eastern part of our country. The entire album has songs that depict the different facets of life. Most of the tracks are original compositions with a fusion of new age music.”
The trio says putting forth music from the east was a conscious decision. “Folk music is all about people and their emotions, places and life,” explains Randeep. “Since the three of us hail from Bengal we wanted to showcase some folk compositions from East, and mix it with Hindi lyrics, so that people can enjoy and appreciate all forms. For instance, our track Maati talks about the journey of one’s life through the metaphor of going back to their roots or their inner consciousness. Another track, Tatar Patar, expresses deep baul energy in an ecstatic form, while celebrating different shades of love. We have interpreted our thought in this baul form by keeping the regime of the genre intact with a lot of string sections and strokes, and finally mixing electronic dance music influence towards the end.”
From plucked drums to ektara, the songs are replete with rhythmic sounds of different musical instruments. “We have used a lot of traditional instruments like ektara, dotara, khomok, bagal bachcha, manjira and classical instruments like sarod and sarangi. For instance, one of the tracks in the album titled Bairi Bindiya is inspired by the romantic jhumur beats mostly sung by tribes in Bengal. We have infused the elements of Bihu folk from Assam as well. While the arrangements and songwriting is inspired by the genre, the song is an original composition where we have used blues as a strong influence. Another song Gaanja draws inspiration from a very ancient folk form of Sylhet folk or rather Kamrup folk. We have a section in this song, which is influenced by the tea-pluckers’ tunes, that they normally sing at their leisure time,” says Rahul.
Long, sleepless nights spent together discussing compositions and penning down lyrics has made the band’s journey so far quite exhilarating. Pooja shares, “We know each other from a long time, and two years ago when Rahul and Randeep met me during my Hard Rock Cafe tour in Mumbai, Randeep decided to record a song with me. Post that, we felt we were on the same page; we shared a similar vision in terms of reviving the folk music. That’s how we came together to form our band Antarman.”
Each member of the band boasts of different music sensibilities. Pooja concludes, “In fact, that’s the USP of our band! Rahul has a mainstream commercial playback voice while Randeep is completely into classical music, and I sing folk.”