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The Financial Express

Voice of Ritu Raj will be heard more in the coming days


Voice of Ritu Raj will be heard more in the coming days

The latest release from Coke Studio Bangla ‘Bulbuli’ has garnered mass appreciation from music fans all around. Merged with a small verse written by Syed Gousul Alam Shaon named ‘Dol Dol Dol Diyeche,’ the track is a tribute to our national poet, Kazi Nazrul Islam.

The track kind of marked the return of Ritu Raj Baidya to mainstream Bangla music scene.

The talented musician, who is yet to fulfill his immense potential, recently sat down with The Financial Express to talk about the experience of performing in Coke Studio Bangla, his musical journey so far, and what the fans can expect from him in the future.

“The composer of the song in Coke Studio Bangla, Mr Shuvendu Das Shuvo, an amazing musician, called me to the side after a show of ours and asked me to improvise with a chord progression. The rest is history,” Ritu Raj said when asked about how he got the opportunity to feature in Coke Studio Bangla.

Ritu Raj grew up in a family that has had affiliation with music for a long time. His mother being a music teacher, music has been an everyday language for Ritu Raj as long as he can remember and it is of no surprise that his mother was his first Guru.

“She taught me everything about music - what to listen to, how to practice, how to discipline myself. I am eternally grateful for her existence in my life,” he said. 

The talented musician initially rose to fame when he participated in the 'Close Up 1: Tomakei Khujchhey Bangladesh' in 2012 and became the third runner up.

The path hasn’t been much straightforward ever since as Ritu Raj thinks the impactful show could have done more to nurture the participants for their future musical endeavours.

“Initial fame and popularity do provide monetary support for many, for a short while. After a while, it becomes difficult because no new learnings come in. Only if the organisers taught us how to make music for ourselves, operate technical machinery, life afterwards would have been much better, I believe,” regretted the young musician.

The music industry in Bangladesh has never been much friendly towards musicians, and taking music professionally comes with many hardships here.

Talking about what it’s like to be a professional musician in Bangladesh, Ritu Raj said, “You either require to be a one-hit-wonder or you have to struggle throughout your life. The only thing that matters is that you keep learning and going; you never know when the wonder strikes.”

The musician has left his job recently to focus fully on music.

“I had left my professional career after about 8 years, even after graduating from IBA, University of Dhaka. Sometimes one must learn to accept things they are not truly meant for.”

Arnob and Pantha Kanai are two of the most acclaimed musicians in Bangladesh. Working with them is like dream for many musicians in Bangladesh. Ritu Raj got to work with both of them while recording Bulbuli.

“These names are daunting to the least. Very dreamy to be working with them, but it also feels like I'm part of a chariot, the creation of the divine will be in store for all of us,” the delighted musician shared about the surreal experience.

Coke Studio Bangla started with an aim to celebrate different genres of Bengali music and music fans all around the country had high hopes surrounding this show.

Three songs have been released so far and as expected, there have been mixed reactions to all of them. We asked Ritu Raj if the show is living up to his personal expectations and this is all the excited musician could say, “Absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely.”

The news of launching Coke Studio Bangla came as a fresh breath of air for music fans all across the country as Bangla music scene hasn’t seen much from its prominent artists in recent times.

The much-awaited show is already living up to the hype surrounding it as it is drawing the attention of critics and fans from all around the music industry. Artists from different genres and different ideas are getting to work together and many artists are getting the chance to revive their respective careers.

Also, many young artists are getting the chance to work with the bests of Bangla music industry and getting to know more about music in general.

“Patronisation is an absolute necessity for art, in any form. An artist cannot express themselves fully if they have to think whether they can eat tomorrow. Whoever the patron, they must hand-hold artists to make art an availability, not a luxury,” explained Ritu Raj about the impact that Coke Studio Bangla can have on the Bangla music scene.

Back in the days there used to be many voting/judgment-based tv shows in Bangladesh like the aforementioned 'Close Up 1: Tomakei Khujchhey Bangladesh,' DRockstars and so on.

These shows used to be great platforms for many young musicians to showcase their talent in front of the best musicians from the country.

But these shows haven’t been around for a while now. We asked Ritu Raj if these shows need to be brought back. The musician however had his reservations about the judgment-based shows.

“Judgement-based/ voting-based themes may seem more heart-thumping, but creation requires no approval. At least, not from the ones who don’t understand it,” he remarked.

Ritu Raj is planning to revive the YouTube channel ‘Jilapi’ created by his late brother Prithwi Raj. The musician is also working on many musical and non-musical projects at the moment.

Fans can certainly expect to see many more musical endeavors from Ritu Raj in the coming days.

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