A Song and its Singer

By Mitra Phukan

It’s the same voice: rich, highly emotive, beautifully timbered, sonorously resonant. The voice that age has not managed to fell or even to lay low, the voice that entire generations of true-blue Assamese boys and girls have grown up on, the voice that has had men and women across all social strata in our part of the world humming the tunes that he created, for several decades now. Only, this time, the format is different: MTV, no less!

For a septuagenarian singer who cut his first scratchy album on a 78 RPM disc deep in the last century, when his voice was still a clear soprano, this is indeed a long haul. From shellac discs, through cassettes, to Compact Discs, from the lamp-lit auditoriums of his youth to satellite TV, the man has truly come a long way in his artistic journey.

And yet, amazingly, in spite of the fact that Dr Bhupen Hazarika has always been so much a bard of contemporaneous events, he is also, unequivocally , a singer for all seasons, a poet and lyricist whose vision has always been uncompromisingly humanistic. It is no doubt for this reason that his music has always been relevant, no matter at what point of time the lyrics were originally penned, no matter what language they have been later translated into, no matter what culture, away from the once-tranquil, now turbulent lifestyle beside his beloved Luit (the Brahmaputra), those songs are subsequently metamorphosed into.
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