Kolkata: The timeless magic of Rabindra Sangeet is set to dominate the special album releases this Durga Puja.
The melodies composed by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, whose 150th birth anniversary celebrations began in May, have left all other genres of music behind in West Bengal this year.
"This year, we have brought out 15-20 albums on Rabindra Sangeet only. The number of such albums has surpassed all previous records," Music 2000 proprietor Swarup Pal told IANS.
Music companies come out with special bouquets every year during Durga Puja - the biggest festival in this part of the country.
Tagore was born in 1861 at Jorasanko in north Kolkata. He composed about 2,230 songs, most of which have retained their popular appeal even 69 years after his death in 1941. The bard was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913 for his collection of songs `Gitanjali`.
The music companies feel the rapid increase in popular demand for the CDs and cassettes of Rabindra Sangeet is largely due to the 150th anniversary celebrations.
Every year during the Durga Puja season, CDs and cassettes containing new modern Bengali songs of veteran and upcoming artistes comprise one of the most irresistible attractions.
But this time, Rabindra Sangeet has taken up 85 percent of the market share.
"Although various kinds of music and songs are being recorded due to Tagore`s 150th birth anniversary celebrations, Tagore songs have emerged as the flavour of the season," Prime Music spokesperson Debraj Dutta told IANS.
Leading singers agree.
"The demand for Rabindra Sangeet CDs and cassettes is consistent throughout the year. But personally I feel that as this year marks his 150th birth anniversary, it has fired up the demand," said Ramita Mullick, a renowned Rabindra Sangeet singer.
"This year, I have done a duet album on Rabindra Sangeet," another celebrated singer Indrani Sen said.
However, some music companies are not sure whether the rise in the craze for Tagore songs is due to the anniversary celebrations or signifies the urge of the people desperate for a soothing change from the monotony of the modern music regularly churned out .
"Personally I feel that music lovers of Bengal want some change from the modern stereotype Bengali songs and music. And there can be no better change than Rabindra Sangeet. From the business point of view I can say that this is the reason why the demand has increased," said Ashis Das, marketing manager of UD series, which exports CDs abroad.
"And in foreign countries also there is a large demand for Rabindra Sangeet," he added.
Tagore enriched Bengali culture and literature as a poet, novelist, musician and playwright from the second half of the 19th century to the first half of the 20th century, and is still a household name in this part of the world with the popularity of his works yet undiminished.