Jayanta Chatterjee: Songs of Rabindranath Tagore

Jayanta Chatterjee was originally awarded a diploma in Tagore songs (Rabindra Sangeet) after training for four years at Dakshinee, Kolkata in the 1950s. He was subsequently trained extensively by maestros such as Subinoy Roy, Subha Guha Thakurta and Kanika Banerjee. Before leaving India, he gave numerous recitals in and around Kolkata, Silchar and Shillong. He also performed in a Dakshinee production of Tagore’s Phalguni at the New Empire Theatre in Kolkata, as well as representing Dakhsinee in All India Radio programmes.

After settling in the UK, he continued his singing performances and founded the Bengali cultural organisation Prantik in 1976. For a number of years, he was on the panel of judges of London’s annual Bengali Song Contest. He was one of the principal singers in the feature film version of Tagore’s Shyama.

This was Jayanta Chatterjee’s first solo album. His long-standing singing teacher and friend, Subinoy Roy, supervised the recording.

Track listing:

1 Tumi kon pothe je ele
2 Paathrokhana jai jodi jaak
3 Shur bhule je ghure baraay
4 Amar shesh raaginir
5 Tomai jothone rakhibo he
6 Amar mon cheye roi
7 Ami kaan pethe roi
8 Bodhu thomay korbo raja thoruthole
9 Aacho aakash pane thule maatha
10 Pothe jethe jethe dekhechile
11 Tomare janine janine he
12 Nidraharaar raather e gaan

Reviews from the original 1985 Indian release:

Amrita Bazar Patrika:
“It’s heartening that a Bengali singer, settled abroad, has not severed links with Rabindrasangeet. … The voice and a strikingly original style distinguish him. His appeal finds distinct expression in his repertoire of 12 songs. The smoothness and flow of ‘Ami kan pete roi’, ‘Tumi kon pathay je ele’and ‘Bondhu tomay korbo raja’ are presented with natural ease and a graceful tenderness. The mood of devotion, presented with delicate emotional fervour, leaves a lasting impression.”

The Statesman:
“Jayanta Chatterjee is an unfamiliar name in Calcutta’s Rabindrasangeet circles. But this expatriate’s cassette contains an aesthetic sensibility uncluttered by any mannerism. His style takes us back to the fifties when gimmicks were unheard of in Rabindrasangeet. The lines have been sung in a smooth and straightforward manner. … ‘Tomaye jatane rakhibo’, ‘Nidrahara raater e gaan’, ‘Amar sesh raginir pratham dhuwo’ are highly individual. The best song is ‘Bondhu tomaye korbo raja’ in terms of emotional strength and delicate threading of the voice through the lines.”