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Rabindra sangeet (Song lyrics of Rabindranath Tagore)

 
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TheRejectAmidHair



Joined: 19 Nov 2008
Posts: 3864


Location: Staines, Middlesex

PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 9:31 am    Post subject: Rabindra sangeet (Song lyrics of Rabindranath Tagore)  Reply with quote

Browsing through YouTube, as one does, I came across this delightful video:

http://www.youtube.com/embed/IQztfIOMJIA

It is seemingly filmed in a Calcutta bar, and features a Westerner – a French chap, seemingly – breaking, to everyone’s surprise and delight, into a song by Rabindranath Tagore. (His Bengali pronunciation is actually very good.)

As I have mentioned before, Tagore’s songs (Rabindra sangeet) effectively comprise Bengal’s national music. (By Bengal, I mean both East Bengal, which is now Bangladesh, and also West Bengal, which is in India – and which is the part of the world from which I originate: before partition in 1947, the two comprised a single state.)There are literally thousands of these songs: Tagore composed both the words and the music, and the words can be read as poems in their own right. They are absolutely exquisite.

This particular song is very well-known in Bengal, and is I think, the most beautiful love song I know. (Butthen again, I've grown up with these songs:  I've knoiwn them as far back as I can remember.)

Each word seems so right, and falls so perfectly into its place, one feels like clapping with delight. I’ve had a go at translating this one - although the shortcomings of my version should not be taken as shortcomings of the original, which, as I said, is perfection itself:

I know, I know who you are,
.         O lady from distant climes,
You live across seas afar,
.         O lady from distant climes.
I’ve seen you in autumn’s morning light,
I’ve seen you in softest moonlit night,
I’ve seen you in the midst of my very heart,
.        O lady from distant climes.

I’ve heard your singing in the skies,
I’ve heard your voice in breezes’ sighs,
I gift to you my life, my heart,
.       O lady from distant climes.
Having wandered the wide world o’er,
I’ve come to a newfound shore,
I’m a traveller here at your door,
.      O lady from distant climes.



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Last edited by TheRejectAmidHair on Fri May 03, 2013 1:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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chris-l



Joined: 27 Nov 2008
Posts: 727



PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is indeed beautiful, Himadri. One of the key moments in 'When the Time is Right' (I will post a review, I will), centres around the death and funeral of Tagore. The heroine, Swati, joins Sanyet (I hope I am remembering the names correctly) to join the multitudes thronging the streets in mourning for their national poet and hero. Although there might normally be some suggestion of impropriety in her doing this, such is the importance of the occasion that no one really comments. It is hard to imagine a literary figure (although I think it might be fair to say that Tagore had an importance beyond his literary work) who could today touch the lives of ordinary people in this way. The nearest parallel I could think of was the death of Diana.

I have known a few women of Indian family named 'Sangeeta' - does that have the same meaning as 'sangeet'?


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TheRejectAmidHair



Joined: 19 Nov 2008
Posts: 3864


Location: Staines, Middlesex

PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, Tagore was indeed a national figure, and his funeral was a major national event. i gather Verdi's funeral was similar: he too was a national figure - for political as well as for musical reasons.

And yes - "Sangeeta" is the same word as "sangeet" (the final short "a" sound is often suppressed in speech): it means "song". "Geet" itself means "song" in Sanskrit and in Sanskrit-derived languages: "Bhagavad Gita", or, more accurately, "Bhagavad Geeta", literally means "Song of God".

One intersting point about it is that the person to whom the song is addressed is referred to as "bidesini". "Bidesi" means "foreigner", and "bidesini" is the feminine version of this. But if I were to translate it directly as "foreign lady", it would have in English connotations of the sinister, or the shady!




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