Friday, June 04, 2010

r d belafonte

On a whim I had checked out the first three volumes in the series Troubadours of the Folk Era from the public library. It was nice to hear San Francisco Bay Blues, Pete Seeger singing Turn! Turn! Turn!, Buffy Saint-Marie singing The Universal Soldier and the Brothers Four singing Greenfields. Two tracks after Greenfields had faded away, The Tarriers began belting out their hit version of The Banana Boat Song, which has been most famous as Harry Belafonte's signature song (arguably this is the song most popularly cited when people think of calypso). The melody was familiar, but the addition of Hill and Gully Rider was a nice touch. As I hummed along with them on Well, I sleep by sun and I work by moon, I suddenly realised that I had heard this melody before. It was in a Hindi film song that had interestingly blended lyrics addressing a boatman with the ambience of a dance number. Numerous articles about the song had called it a "cabaret boat" song although the video was evidence that the only thing on the minds of the filmmakers was a dance of the fisher folk (and hence the boatman was no longer an interesting device but a natural choice). The film was Bandhe Haath and the song was ओ माँझी (a transcription by yours truly appears here). The man behind the song was the late great Rahul Dev Burman. The a-ha! moment comes at the start of each a.ntaraa and continues till the turnaround. Wait for प्यार ओ माँझी तेरा झूठा है / मीत बनके तूने लूटा है / भरी दुनिया में अकेली हूँ / जान घायल दिल टूटा है at the 02:27 mark in the video and then for तू मेरा है मैंने सोचा था / यही सपना था निगाहों में / तू खिवैया होगा रे जीवन का / पार उतरूँगी तेरी बाहों में at the 04:21 mark.

elsewhere hereabouts: thoughts on the title song of the same film.

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