Monday, August 13, 2018

Carpe Diem #1496 Rabindra Sangeet, the music of Bengal

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Yesterday we started our trip through India and today we will stay in India too. Today we will visit the region known as Bengal (Bangladesh and India). In this region there is a kind of music that has only words written by Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) this music is known as Rabindra Sangeet.

Let me tell you first a little bit more about Rabindranath Tagore:

Rabindranath Tagore was a Bengali polymath, a poet, musician and artist who reshaped Bengali literature and music, as well as Indian art with Contextual Modernism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Author of Gitanjali and its "profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse", he became in 1913 the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Tagore's poetic songs were viewed as spiritual and mercurial; however, his "elegant prose and magical poetry" remain largely unknown outside Bengal. He is sometimes referred to as "the Bard of Bengal".

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)
Tagore has written wonderful poems and I love to give you one to read before we are going to listen to the music known as Rabindra Sangeet, the music of Bengal.

In the morning I cast my net into the sea.
I dragged up from the dark abyss things of strange aspect and strange beauty -- some shone like a smile, some glistened like tears, and some were flushed like the cheeks of a bride.
When with the day's burden I went home, my love was sitting in the garden idly tearing the leaves of a flower.
I hesitated for a moment, and then placed at her feet all that I had dragged up, and stood silent.
She glanced at them and said, 'What strange things are these? I know not of what use they are!'
I bowed my head in shame and thought, 'I have not fought for these, I did not buy them in the market; they are not fit gifts for her.'
Then the whole night through I flung them one by one into the street.
In the morning travelers came; they picked them up and carried them into far countries.

© Rabindranath Tagore
Awesome poem I would say, but I am a big fan of Tagore's prose and poetry, so maybe I am prejudiced. He has written wonderful poems. (Maybe we can do a whole month about Tagaore's prose and poetry?)

Rabindra Sangeet also known as Tagore Songs, are songs written and composed by Tagore. He wrote more than 2000 songs. The songs have distinctive characteristics in the music of Bengal, popular in India and Bangladesh. It is characterised by its distinctive rendition while singing which includes a significant amount of ornamentation like meend, murki, etc. and is filled with expressions of romanticism. The music is mostly based on Hindustani classical music, Carnatic Classical Music, Western tunes and the inherent Folkmusic of Bengal.
What a nice beautiful song. I hope it will inspire you to create haiku, tanka or other form of Japanese poetry.
This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until August 20th at noon (CEST). I will try to publish our next episode later on.



  1. I would like to learn more of Tagore's poem. Good idea !Am enjoying this music trip around the planet. Many thanks.

  2. I agree - spending time with Tagore's words would be enlightening, fascinating and I think a great source of inspiration.