Whenever we think of art, music, poetry, literature and above all versatility in India, the first name that pops into all our heads is that of Rabindranath Tagore. He was the first non-European to win a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913 for his collection of poetry titled “Gitanjali”, which was originally written in Bengali and then translated into English. It is quite interesting to note that not only in India, even today, Tagore is one of those important names that appear in the heads of many people around the world. An Indo-French collaboration between Indian singer Soumita Saha and French musician Greg Sauzet is one of the brightest examples.
Before Tagore’s fame spread around the world in 1913, Tagore’s talent had already attracted the attention of figures such as the famous traveler Alexandra David Neel and the poet Saint John Terse, French Ambassador to London. The first visiting professor invited to Visva Bharati was the French scholar Sylvain Levi, in 1921, whose collaboration stimulated Tagore’s initiative to establish a university. His relationship with France also played a central role in the poet’s incarnation as a painter with his very first exhibition at the Galerie Pigalle in 1939. In 2022, Soumita Saha and French musician Greg Sauzet rekindled the French connection of Tagore after collaborating for a music video to a Tagore song.
According to the Gregorian calendar, he was born on May 7, 1861 in Kolkata to parents, Debendranath Tagore and Sarada Devi. According to the Bengali calendar, he was born on the 25th day of the month of Boishakh, in the Bengali era of 1422. However, in West Bengal, Rabindranath Tagore’s birthday is observed according to the local Bengali calendar. The day in Kolkata is popularly known as Poncheeshe Boishakh or Rabindra Jayanti. Tagore is an integral part of the Bengali psyche and is ubiquitous in the artistic and cultural scene of Bengal. And therefore, it would have been really awkward if people had to sing someone else’s creation to celebrate the birthday of the poet who gave a song for every occasion.
His birthday is celebrated throughout the country through cultural events. In the recent era of digitalization of music, one’s birthday is one of the vital occasions to publish the interpretation of one’s songs. To pay homage to Rabindranath Tagore, the Bengali polymath who is said to have single-handedly reshaped Bengali literature and music, Indian singer Soumita Saha and French musician Greg Sauzet have once again collaborated for a music video featuring a song Tagore sung by Soumita and arranged by Greg. The clip was shot partially in India and partially in France. Two musician friends living at the two ends of the globe United to rebuild the bridge of the Indo-French collaboration that held Tagore as a solid pillar.
Tagore’s works have inspired countless generations of young artists around the world. Greg Sauzet read Tagore ten years ago in a collection of philosophy that my grandmother gave him. The French musician was really impressed by the accuracy of his words and his thoughts. Greg Sauzet being a multi-talented musician is a sitarist with great mastery of Hindustani classical music. He is a disciple of Maestra Joyeeta Sanyal. “I’m very excited about the release of this song. It’s an honor to record this song with great singer Soumita Saha. I’m a big fan of Tagore, it’s amazing to have collaborated with Soumita, it’s quite exciting that I’m collaborating with a great contemporary singer who is also from the country of Tagore.” Added Greg.
Soumita Saha also added, “Last time we celebrated love with a Tagore song. As we know from Rabindrasangeet’s vast collection, every emotion will find a song attributed to it. this time we pay tribute to Tagore and celebrate Friendship”. The song will be released digitally by the famous label Melotunes on May 4. Music video released on May 7. The song was recorded by Jhantu Jana, the music has been rearranged , audio track mix mastering Credit belongs to Greg Sauzet. The clip was recorded partly in Kolkata, partly in Pointier, France. Cinematography credit goes to Soumita’s fiancee in Agniv Chatterjee.