Review of Samir Bodhi’s New Album: Stairway to Nirvana
The best thing, and maybe the only few of the best things, that this pandemic has done to the whole of humanity is that people have put extra efforts in order to restore balance and harmony among the people and societies where they belong, or where they could reach. It feels like the whole universe is conspiring to bring a sense of belongingness and hope to humanity. And what people like Samir Bodhi (Samir Chatterjee) do?–troubled by the negativity and general unrest in the air, they bring together all of their talents and resources to create art–a creation that could send positive and impacting vibrations out into the universe.
This is exactly what Samir’s debut New Age album does. It is a short 5-song album, bringing a fresh Indian serving to the ones who are hungry for something that could help digest all that has gone in this year.
Album Name: Stairway to Nirvana
Artist Name: Samir Bodhi
Total Time: 25:45
The album begins with a old Hindi-film like song, “Tranquility,” setting the tone and expectation of the offering. Subtle rhythm and Ghazal-style tabla texture almost make it a lilting lullaby for the mind which is unable to rest. A beautiful soothing number.
The next track is power! “Om” is so enchanting and binding that while was listening to it, I could not get up to fetch a pen so that I could write my emotions about it. The over-one-minute Alaap of flute by Rakesh Chaurasia is liquid gold for the ear before you are invited to the beauty of Rajiv Dutta’s words sung by Shuvodeep Mukherjee–what a voice he has got! The usage of the conch is done very effectively. There is a strange ensnaring energy in this melody which sounds like a hymn and brings a lot of peace to the body and mind.
“Harmony” is where Samir has truly blended the Jazz and Indian styles making it a true fusion piece. The sarod and the electric guitar are truly outstanding and so is the bass guitar.
The next song, “Peace,” features the vocals by Samir’s wife, Madhumita Chatterjee, who delivers the message of humanity and a hopeful world where everybody could live together. The lyrics are written by Rajiv Dutta and again remind you of the old Hindi film songs, which gave a lot of prominence and value to the words, rather than simply creating peppy dance-numbers.
And if you were wondering what more could one expect in such a wonderful collection of songs, “Nirvana” just delivers everything. The soul-stirring sound of Sarangi brings the whole focus back to the inner channel. It is the transformation of a being which is troubled by what it experiences and quickly moves to the celebratory and flowing feeling of happiness and contentment, for, below the surface, there is a calm which is unmatched by all the activity and dynamism that is visible to the senses.
As I said in the beginning, maybe Samir would have never got the inspiration to create such purposeful music, had we not experienced this world-stopping phenomenon where everybody was forced to go within and search for the purpose of our very existence. He has done it and found something that is enabling and useful for whoever gets the chance to hear it.
Being of a scientific background, maybe he kept the album short and precise and completely focused on what every song was supposed to deliver. But the New Age Music community would be delighted to have more music from Samir in the future.
Samir, what a joy you have offered to the world!