Suman Chatterjee and modern Bengali music
I will make you think, I will
Whatever it is that you may say
I'll get you out on the streets, I will
However much at home you stay.1
The modern Bengali song is a relatively recent phenomenon. It cannot be dated to much earlier than 150 years or so ago, although its content is variably defined by much older traditions. This explains why, in musical terms, it has always boasted a rich spectrum, chromatised with presences and traces of many other musical traditions — classical and folk, devotional and secular, Indian and Western. The modern Bengali song has much to do with the growth of Calcutta as a metropolitan city in British ...