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     Volume 6 Issue 14 | April 13, 2007 |

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Straight to the Soul

Srabonti Narmeen Ali

Krishnokoli with her daughter, Amritanjoli Sresthheshori. Photo Credit: Sohel Rana Ripon

She sings with an intensity and power which pierce themselves into your very soul. Her lyrics speak of longing, hope and a need for love. Her haunting melodies find themselves carved into your memory, relentlessly forcing you to listen, to pay attention, to feel what she is saying through her music.

There is nothing frilly about Krishnokoli. The 32-year-old is too real to be bothered with frivolities as is obvious in her album, Shurje Badhi Basha, to be launched during Pohela Baishakh. The album features songs written, sung and composed by Krishnokoli herself, with background music by Dhaka's favourite music maestro Ornob. One cannot put a label on her sound. It fuses and incorporates a mixture of folk and classical melodies with a hint of the blues, which her soulful voice intensifies tenfold.

Although this is her first solo album, Krishnokoli sang for the Ektaar Valentine's Day album titled 'Ami Tumi.' She began singing from a very young age. The woman behind her inspiration -- her mother -- encouraged her to sing and compose songs from a young age.

“My mother taught me how to sing,” says Krishnokoli. “From a young age, I used to recite different lyrics to the tunes of Rabindra Sangeet. My mother encouraged me to make up more songs. The first song I composed was 'Chaader Maburi' When I was fourteen I composed the song Bondhua, which is in this album.”

Singing is not Krishnokoli's only talent. She worked in an Audio/Visual company for a while before working at the production house, Krishnochura as the Creative Director between 2005-2006.

Krishnokoli also spent three years studying music at Dhaka's Chayanaught. When she was 16, her friends persuaded her to make an album. Unfortunately, instead of supporting Krishnokoli's unique sound, many of the artists that she attempted to work with wanted her to change her music style in some way, claiming that her music was too depressing.

“They wanted me to add upbeat songs, but it is really not possible for me to sing songs that I don't feel from the heart,” says Krishnokoli. “Ornob, however, didn't ask me to change a thing. He let me explore and do my own thing.”

Krishnokoli's lyrics are inspired by her own personal experiences.

“If you listen to my lyrics they are all about longing and an intense desire to be loved,” she says. “I guess these lyrics are inspired from the fact that I come from a broken home. I feel that children who are in this position always tend to become more sensitive especially because Bangali society is so judgmental about these things.”

Despite all the suffering she went through because of her parents' separation, Krishnokoli has managed to overcome her pain because of the overwhelming support she got from her mother, who passed away in December of 2005. She was a constant source of love and affection. So much, in fact, that this album is dedicated to her. She wrote Chue Chue Dekho, the last song on her album, when her mother passed away. A Bangla teacher at the Government College in Khulna, Krishnokoli's mother was the reason she is a singer today.

“My mother was an amazing woman,” says Krishnokoli. “I have still not found anyone in this world who is like her. She had a really difficult life but I never once saw her lose her faith in humankind. She was one of those people who seemed to know about everything because she read a lot and for that reason, she always tried to encourage us to read a lot as well. To her, reading was as important as eating. Losing her was very hard for me.”

Despite the loss of her mother, Krishnokoli has another source of inspiration -- her six-year-old daughter Amritanjoli Sresthheshori. She wrote the first song on the album, Dubi Dubi, right after Amritanjoli was born.

With lyrics that bare her heart and soul, Krishnokoli hopes to show the “Banglish” generation of today that there is beauty in the Bangali language.

“I want people of today's generation to appreciate the language that our parents and their parents used to speak,” says Krishnokoli. “I feel that today's generation is really superficial and sometimes lacks depth. The problem with us is that we have gone further away from ourselves. I want to bring us back and hope that people hear my songs and feel and understand where I am coming from, and at the same time, learn to appreciate and love our language as much as I do.”


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