After a successful release in Kolkata last October, music enthusiast Suhrid Swagata’s debut album Paap saw the light of day in Dhaka on January 5, 2019. In an event at Jatra Biroti in Banani, Suhrid not only introduced some of the songs on his album, but also gave the audience a taste of the kind of music he drew inspiration from.
Suhrid grew up in a family rich in culture, with Tagore songs playing around the house, and exposure to Bengali rock music of the ‘80s and ‘90s from a very young age. In grade 10, Suhrid bought his first guitar, which also developed his interest in making music. With age, he began exploring Hindi, Bengali and English music from the ‘60s and ‘70s as well.
But when did this hobby turn into a prospective career choice? Suhrid says that after he stepped into his professional life, he sought refuge in music to escape the monotony that came with it. With an aim to be different from what the society deems “normal”, Suhrid decided to play to his strengths in another field – music. “I’m very well aware of my limitations in all arenas of life,” he said, “so I had nothing to lose.”
A famous line by Anjan Dutt, “Mitthe kothay hariye jawa bertho ei bajaar e, ortho niye elo tomar gaan,” resonated with Suhrid on a deep level. When he was struggling to find meaning in the mundane realities of life, these words were what motivated him to pursue his passion.
Anjan Dutt has, in fact, been a major influence for Suhrid, be it for music or to grasp different philosophies of life. Other inspirations for him include ‘90s rock bands, such as LRB, and western artists such as John Denver and Bryan Adams. “I always say, Beatles is officially in my blood,” he said, brandishing an iconic Beatles album cover represented on his forearm. The influence of these artists is evident in his creations, with more focus on the psychedelic, pop and soft rock genres.
Still figuring out his way as he goes, Suhrid currently has his friends play with him, which makes the experience all the more valuable to him. Out of the six songs that were released, three of them were written by him, while the rest were versed by three of his friends. All six songs were, however, composed by Suhrid himself. The album has been released by Aajob Records. Suhrid’s producer and renowned singer-songwriter, Joy Shahriar, organized the event at Jatra Biroti last Saturday.
The album, for Suhrid, was an attempt to break free of the shackles of society. “I try to tell a story through my music,” he informed us. The very name of the album comes from the idea of how people view any action that does not conform to societal norms, as a sin, and how he decided to rebel against those very norms in his own way, with unfaltering support from his family. The song by the same name also deals with this very concept, and challenges the doubts people expressed at his life choices.
Suhrid chose a variety of songs to perform for his audience at the event, namely Paap, Jolchhobi, and Kichhu Hobe Nah from the album, along with some hits by his inspirations, such as Mary Ann by Anjan Dutt, Hey Jude by The Beatles, etc. The crowd grooved to the music, singing along, creating the kind of soulful atmosphere that Suhrid wanted to accomplish. It’s safe to say that this album is one to look out for.