When Amrita told me about Friday Night Originals for the first time, my initial thought was, “Why has nobody done this before here?” Their aim is to bring independent, original music to the limelight. Given how the independent music scene in Kolkata has no dearth of talent yet yearns for exposure and acclaim, such a step would definitely go a long way in putting the city on national and international maps as far as music is concerned.
Friday Night Originals’ initiation event featured the local Blues band – The Big Family. The Doodle Room hosted Friday Night Originals’ presentation as The Big Family – consisting Rohan Ganguly on guitar, Arinjoy Sarkar on vocals, Aakash Ganguly and Bijit Bhattacharya on bass and Ritoban Das on drums – took the audience of 60-odd packed in a close, intimate space, on a journey down memory lane, belting out classics by legends like Otis Rush and The Crusaders, and ending with an original composition titled “Morning Bounce”.
The Doodle Room is the perfect place to hold a session giving the audience just enough room to really connect with the performers, and have a wholesome experience. The audience on this night was no exception, swaying to the tunes of Albert King, clapping along to “Can’t Quit You Baby” by Otis Rush, and sang along as Kirk Fletcher was remembered with his “Blues for Booboo”. The vibe that The Big Family set was one of calming, moody enthusiasm – a night of reflection, a night of celebration, a night of glorifying music through one of its most distinct and cherished genres.
Blues and jazz may not be the most popular genres of music amongst the youngsters of Kolkata. Nevertheless, this niche audience makes up with enthusiasm for what they lack in numbers. Moreover, the appreciation of such music has only grown over the recent past, with more and more of the ‘hiphop generation’ understanding the beauty behind the music.
The Big Family ended their gig with an original composition that got a rapturous applause. Perhaps this is the greatest gift a performer can get – immediate appraisal from an enthralled audience. This too, is indicative of how there are people out there who appreciate songs that are half-a-decade old, yet remain every bit as relevant.
On a rather sultry September night, the magic of the Blues took us to a place of comfort, a place of quiet reflection and a place of beauty. Such is the power of music. Hopefully, this movement never stops. There is no better way to kick back after a bad day at work, or a particularly tough college afternoon, than to walk into a room and listen to some good music.
Friday Night Originals, here’s wishing you all the best in your endeavour to make the city more musically pleasant. I hope to see more talented artists take the stage in upcoming events. Till then, enjoy this piece of wonder!