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Music of West Bengal

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Title: Music of West Bengal  
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Subject: Music of Bangladesh, Bangladeshi rock, Hindustani classical music, Chandrabindoo (band), Music of Bengal
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Music of West Bengal

Music of India
A Lady Playing the Tanpura, ca. 1735 (Rajasthan)
Media and performance
Music awards
Music festivals
Music media
Nationalistic and patriotic songs
National anthem Jana Gana Mana
Regional music

The music of West Bengal includes multiple indigenous musical genres such as Baul, Bishnupuri Classical, Kirtan, Shyama Sangeet, Rabindra Sangeet, Nazrul Geeti, Atulprasadi, Dwijendrageeti, Kantageeti, Ganasangeet, Adhunik Gaan, Bengali rock etc. The city of Darjeeling, which has a large number of Nepali people, is a center for Nepali rock too.


  • Bishnupur Gharana 1
  • Baul sangeet 2
  • Rabindra Sangeet 3
  • Shyama Sangeet 4
  • Nazrul Geeti 5
  • Dwijendrageeti 6
  • Atulprasadi 7
  • Prabhat Samgiita 8
  • Adhunik 9
    • Jeebonmukhi 9.1
    • Band music and Bengali rock 9.2
  • Nepali Rock 10
  • Rock at Someplace Else (Kolkata) 11
    • Daily Bands 11.1
  • See also 12
  • References 13

Bishnupur Gharana

The Bishnupur Gharana is the sole Classical (Drupad) gharana of Bengal. It originated in Bishnupur, Bankura by the court musicians of the Malla Kings.[1] Bahadur Khan of Delhi, a descendant of the Tansen, was the father of Bishnupur Gharana. Bahadur Khan was brought to Bishnupur by Malla King Raghunath Singha II.

Baul sangeet

The bauls are a mystic group of singers and musicals, immensely popular in the countryside. They perform using a khamak, ektara and dotara.

Rabindra Sangeet

Rabindra Sangeet (Bengali: রবীন্দ্রসঙ্গীত Robindro shonggit, Bengali pronunciation: ), also known as Tagore Songs, are songs written and composed by Rabindranath Tagore.[2] They have distinctive characteristics in the music of Bengal, popular in India and Bangladesh.[3][4]

Rabindra Sangeet has been an integral part of Bengal culture for over a century.[4][5] Indian social reformer Swami Vivekananda became an admirer of Rabindra Sangeet in his youth. He also composed music in the Rabindra Sangeet style, for example Gaganer Thale in Raga Jaijaivanti.[4]

Shyama Sangeet

Shyama Sangeet (Bengali: শ্যামা সঙ্গীত ) is a genre of Bengali devotional songs dedicated to the Hindu goddess Shyama or Kali which is a form of supreme universal mother-goddess Durga or parvati. It is also known as Shaktagiti or Durgastuti.[6]

Shyama Sangeet appeals to the common man because it is a musical representation of the relationship of eternal and sublime love and care between the mother and her child. It is free of the common rituals of worship and also the esoteric practice of the Tantra.

Nazrul Geeti

Nazrul Geeti or Nazrul Sangeet, literally "music of Nazrul," refer to the works of Kazi Nazrul Islam, a Bengali poet and national poet of Bangladesh and active revolutionary during the Indian Independence Movement. Nazrul Sangeet/Geeti incorporate revolutionary notions as well as more spiritual, philosophical and romantic themes.


Dwijendralal Ray's Dwijendrageeti (the Songs of Dwijendralal), which number over 500, create a separate subgenre of Bengali music. Two of Dwijendralal Ray's most famous compositions are Dhana Dhanya Pushpa Bhara and Banga Amar Janani Amar. Ray is regarded as one of the most important figures in early modern Bengali literature.


Atulprasadi (Bengali: অতুলপ্রসাদী) or the Songs of Atulprasad Sen (1871–1934), one of the major lyricist and composers of early-modern period, is also widely popular in Pachimbanga.[7] Atul Prasad is credited with introducing the Thumri style in Bengali music.[7] His songs centred on three broad subjects - patriotism, devotion and love.[7]

Prabhat Samgiita

Prabhát Saḿgiita (Bengali: প্রভাত সঙ্গীত Probhat Shongit, Bengali pronunciation:  - see spelling variations Prabhat Samgiita#Name and Variants), also known as Songs of a New Dawn and Prabhat Songs, are songs composed by Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar.[8] Sarkar composed a total of 5,018 songs, including the lyrics and the tune, in a period of eight years from 1982 until his death in 1990,[9] making using of eight different languages: Bengali, Hindi, English, Sanskrit, Urdu, Magahi, Maithili and Angika.[10]


Adhunik sangeet literally means "modern songs". In the period just before Indian independence, several new minor musical genres emerged, mainly in the form of playback songs for movies. A miscellaneous category, Adhunik sangeet, was created, since, at that time, this music was "modern".


There is a new genre in Bengali music called ‘Jibonmukhi Gaan’. Jibonmukhi gaan means ‘songs about life’. Suman Chattapaddhay first started this type of music by writing songs about everyday life and ordinary people although it is widely believed that Dr. Bhupen Hazarika was also a pioneer of this genre. Eventually Nachiketa Chakraborty, Anjan Dutt, Shilajit Majumdar and many others have followed Suman’s footsteps. [11]

Band music and Bengali rock

Main aricle: Rock music of West Bengal

Mohiner Ghoraguli is widely credited with being the first Bengali Band (in West Bengal) and also India's first. Later, as Western influences became more widespread, the Bengali band became popular with young people during the 1980s and 1990s, both in India and Bangladesh, and has since become entrenched in modern Bengali culture. Bengali bands use a wide variety of styles such as rock, pop, hard rock, heavy metal, grunge, folk, and fusion. Their music is influenced both by popular American music as well as traditional Bengali folk music such as shyama sangeet and baul. Like popular music in other countries, Bengali bands are very popular among Bengali young people.

Popular Rock Bands
Year formed Band name Genre Language
1975 Moheener Ghoraguli Bengali rock Bengali
1990 Krosswindz Bengali rock, fusion Bengali, English, Hindi
1991 Chandrabindoo Bengali rock Bengali
1992 Cactus Bengali rock, hard rock Bengali
1996 Hip Pocket Rock, hard rock English
1998 Fossils Bengali rock, hard rock, metal Bengali, English, Hindi
1999 Bhoomi Bengali rock Bengali
1999 Skinny Alley Rock, alternative rock English
1999 Lakkhichhara Bengali rock Bengali
2001 Cassini's Division Rock, alternative rock English
2002 Insomnia Bengali rock, alternative, nu metal English, Bengali
2005 Rikterskale Bangla Rock
2005 Prithibi Bengali rock Bengali
2005 Calcutta Blues Bengali rock Bengali
2006 Destiny[12] Progressive, neo-classical
2006 Pinknoise Experimental rock, alternative rock English
2006 Pseudonym Alternative rock, hard rock English
2007 Five Little Indians Alternative rock English
2008 soul unity of rhythm Alternative rock Bengali
2009 Kendraka Jazz rock
2010 Underground Authority Alternative rock, rap rock, hard rock Hindi, English, Bengali
2012 RobiONobin Folk rock
1998 Kalpurush[13] Bengali Rock, Bengali Pop, Rock, Pop Bengali, Hindi
2012 Band A5 Country, soft rock, folk fusion, rock 'n' roll Bengali

| 2013 || Lotus Eater |||| Alternative rock, rap rock, hard rock, fusion|| Hindi, English, Bengali |- ||

Nepali Rock

Rock at Someplace Else (Kolkata)

Someplace Else is a pub in Kolkata which features daily performances by live bands. Since 1994 it has been promoting different kinds of music, and established artists share the space with aspiring performers. The pub is situated inside the Park Hotel, and regarded as a heritage spot of the city. Famous bands like Skinny Alley, Hip Pocket (a regular band), Lou Majaw, Prestorika, Parikrama, Indian Ocean, Soulmate, Cassini's Division, Underground Authority, The Supersonics and many international musical acts have performed in this pub.[14] International artists like Mumford & Sons, Laura Marling, QED (band), Dub FX and many more have performed in this pub. The pub hosts 3285 hours of live music every year which is the highest anywhere in India (approximately nine hours of live music everyday).

Daily Bands

Day Bands
Monday Open Mind (Open Mic Session) and Guest Band
Tuesday Krosswindz
Wednesday Hip Pocket and Pseudonym
Thursday Span
Friday Hip Pocket and Insomnia
Saturday Guest Band and Saturday Night Blues
Sunday Orient Express and Crystal Grass

See also


  1. ^ "Culture of Bishnupur". Retrieved 2011-12-05. 
  2. ^ Sigi 2006, p. 90
  3. ^ Tagore 2007, p. xii
  4. ^ a b c "Magic of Rabindra Sangeet".  
  5. ^ Dasgupta & Guha 2013, p. 252
  6. ^ "Shyamasangit". Banglapedia. Retrieved 25 February 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c Arnold, Alison (2000).  
  8. ^ Subramanya, Mysore V. (2008-03-17). "DANCE/MUSIC REVIEW - Prabhat Sangeeth".  
  9. ^ "Homage to spiritual guru". Calcutta, India:  
  10. ^ Sarkar, Subhas (2010-12-31). Prabháta Samgiita: A Literary and Philosophical Appreciation (First ed.). Ananda Marga Publications.  
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b c "Mirchi Sarod Sandhya comes rocking! - The Times of India". The Times Of India. 
  14. ^ "Someplace Else, Kolkata - Rock Bands". Calcutta, India: The Times of India. Jun 25, 2011. 
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