My “now” song: Baisara beera

Do you ever have a song, an idea, a story line, or an image stuck in your head? And it just refuses to go away? For some time at least? I have this with music — it could be a song, an instrumental piece, a jingle, a background score, etc. That particular piece of music becomes my “now’” song, and the “nowness”  (pardon my English here) could remain with me for any length of time.

It was a Sunday and I was at work completing an urgent report. Naturally, I wasn’t too happy to be at work on a Sunday, but the one big advantage of working in an empty office that day consoled me — I could listen to music in the office without earphones, and at full volume as well !

I put on a random playlist on YouTube and got down to work. I work well when there is music in the background, and that day was no different. With no phones to disturb me, I made good progress with the report as I hummed, sang or listened along as the songs in playlist played out one after the other.

Till the haunting strains of a ravanhatta came along. I immediately stopped working on the report and switched tabs on the computer to listen to the song and watch the accompanying video. And then again and once again. And for good measure, a few more times. 🙂

Baisara beera mhane by Papon and Kalpana Patowary is a mash-up of a Rajasthani folk song and an Assamese Holi song. And what a mash-up it is ! It begins with the traditional Rajasthani folk number with the ravanhatta leading up to a fun and playful rendition of a woman (Patowary) referring to her husband as her sister-in-law’s brother (baisara beera) and requesting him to send her to her parental home as she finds life very difficult in her marital home. The woman’s husband (Papon) responds by telling her how he’ll make things better for her. At 4.42, the mood shifts suddenly to the Assamese Holi song through which the colours of the festival and sweet sound of Krishna’s flute brings in a metaphorical reference to love. The song shifts back to the playful Rajasthani folk song and ends with the woman expressing exasperation at her sister-in-law’s brother and saying that he was incapable of understanding her !

I loved this song and how beautifully two different traditions, styles and moods were combined so seamlessly and meaningfully. The chemistry between the two singers also helped in enhancing the music experience — I loved how they teased and responded to each other throughout the song. And it was magical to see the way the were transformed when the Assamese portion of the song began — not surprising since Assamese is their native language. Though I was familiar with Papon’s music, Patowary was a revelation for me. Her earthy and powerful vocals was just perfect for this song.

I am not a fan of mash-ups. But for songs and renditions like this all I can say is bring it on ! 🙂


For more of my “now” songs and my other writings on music, do click here.

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