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Assamese musician wants to popularise stories from his land

New Delhi, April 21 (IANS) Digboi-born musician Joi Barua, who has lent his voice to Bollywood films like "Udaan" and "Dev.D", says he takes a "lot of pain and effort to ensure that our local stories are heard".

2015-04-21T13:42:00Z
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New Delhi, April 21 (IANS) Digboi-born musician Joi Barua, who has lent his voice to Bollywood films like "Udaan" and "Dev.D", says he takes a "lot of pain and effort to ensure that our local stories are heard".

With roots in Assam, the singer is happy that festivals are organised in the capital to promote the northeastern region, but he also likes to do his bit as an artist.

"In terms of music, I made 'Looking out of the Window' (Assamese album) after working in Mumbai. I could've easily used my time to work on something else like an album in English or Hindi," Joi, who moved to Mumbai 10 years back, told IANS in a telephonic interaction from the city of dreams.

The album, which came out in 2010, also brought some of the musicians - Pawan Rasaily, Manas Chowdhary, Ibson Lal Baruah, Partha Goswami and Abani Tanti - from his state together.

"I like the synergy in a band. The band consists of my friends and are originally from Assam. Since my album was in Assamese, I wanted people who understood the language. So, I decided to do it with a band. Joi (band name) was formed in 2010 while we were making the album," he said.

His last single "Pitol soku" was composed for his sister Roopa Barua's documentary film "Riders Of The Mist", about the bareback pony racing tradition in Jorhat.

"Jorhat is my hometown. We wanted to show the story to the world. It even won the Best Documentary at the Indian Film Festival of Houston. I do take a lot of pain and effort to ensure that our local stories are heard," said the performer, who is also working with another Assamese singer, Priyanka Bharali, on a song.

As much as he is proud of his roots, the singer, who works "out of passion", never saw shifting to Mumbai "as a struggle", though there was one thing he had to work hard on.

"Sometimes people do feel that our Hindi is different, but I didn't tell them that their English is also different. What we speak here is different from what people speak in Germany or any other country. There are various interpretations of one thing and that is the way the world is.

"Hindi also changes from city to city - like from Delhi to Mumbai to Bihar. There is no one Hindi. That's what the national language is... you need to make it your own and make it beautiful. There are certain things that I needed to align. We don't have certain sounds and phonetics in our language. When you don't have it, you have to work on it," he said.

And now, Joi is happy with the response to his latest composition "Dusokute" (Assamese for 'in your eyes') from Kalki Koechlin-starrer "Margarita With a Straw".

"I'm satisfied with the response. It's a very different song," he said of the track written by Prasoon Joshi in Hindi.

"The way he has written it, it feels like wind on the face... that's the power of writing. That's amazing," added Joi, who has almost finished composing the soundtrack of John Abraham's upcoming film "Banana".

Apart from Bollywood projects, the singer, who grew up listening to Assamese musicians like Bhupen Hazarika, western music artists like those in The Beatles and Sting, is also collaborating with a South African musician.

"South Africa is a great land with simple but amazingly gifted musicians. We've started working on the song. I need to polish it up," said the singer, who enjoys music that "comes from the heart".

(Natalia Ningthoujam can be contacted at [email protected])


John Abraham Bhupen Hazarika Prasoon Joshi Joi Barua Kalki Koechlin


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