Spirit of Siliguri: A Fun Song Dedicated to the 2nd Largest City in West Bengal

Click Play to listen to SPIRIT OF SILIGURI (GARESALA Records)

Spirit of Siliguri Audio Song Album CoverSiliguri, West Bengal, India, Nov 12, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) "Spirit of Siliguri" is a fun song from Siliguri, to Siliguri and by the people of Siliguri. It is the result of a sustained collaboration between people.

Siliguri the city is expanding in size, population and importance due to several factors, primary being geographical location and ethnic diversity. Despite being hailed as the second most important city in Bengal, it is yet to carve an identity, an image of itself.

People outside Bengal have little idea of the town. For most, it is a part of Assam. For most in Kolkata, Siliguri is a stop-over for a visit to the hills. A small, bubbly business town that provides an interesting pass-over on the way to tourist destinations with a shopping option at Hong Kong Market. Apart from this, little is known about the town. An exclusive identity of the city is still unfocussed.

Creating an identity shall give immense all round benefits for long time to come.

In this new age of specialized marketing, Siliguri needs several exercises in branding.

Subrata Ray, an Assistant professor of marketing at North Bengal University, was always interested in the audio-visual media and used to dabble in local initiatives since a long time. His local stints provided him vital knowledge of the market, the talents and the sort of work happening.

Ashutosh Singh, in Mumbai since last 5 years is already a known name. Without any reference, he single handedly made a place for himself in the very highly competitive Hindi film industry. He noticed that when a struggler from Punjab arrived in Mumbai, he had 50 people to go to for support and guidance. People from all regions have their support system of acquaintances in the industry which supports new comers in survival in their initial days. Even people from Kolkata were organized but anyone from North Bengal would be an orphan there with no one to look to. He wanted to start a chain of audio-visual exercise with a North Bengal focus. Eventually with an idea is to make the efforts big, efficient and prolific enough so that products from here can be marketed and an audio-visual entertainment industry be set up in proper terms.

Spirit of Siliguri – The song

Subrata conceived the idea of a Spirit of Siliguri song. To create a fun song catering to the common man, he and Samipan Das, a software professional and amateur poet from Howrah cobbled up the lyrics. The song would be a fun expression of the youth and also showcase the cultural diversity of the city.

Rajat Biswas, an upcoming young music composer from the city composed the Bengali part of the song. Avishek Sarkar, a singer in a local band and an engineering student from Siliguri at Chennai lend his voice. Rajat too did the backing vocals.

Interestingly, people connected to the song never sat together to formulate it. It was done through communication via internet. The lyricists, composers, singers, music arrangement, mixing, mastering, marketing and release have been done by people living hundreds of miles away from each other, working in well coordinated manner. 

A basic recording of the Bengali lyrics was done at Siliguri and was sent to Mumbai to Ashutosh Singh. Banika Pradhan, a talented singer from Siliguri was at Mumbai auditioning for SAREGAMA. Ashutosh used this opportunity to record her parts in Nepali for the song. For the Hindi bits, he tried to get in touch with some Siliguri singers from Delhi University but they had other priorities. Also he wanted to record the song with Siliguri singers. So the option of taking singers from Mumbai was dropped and he sang himself the Hindi bits of the song. Also the song would be copyrighted and released through his own company GARESALA RECORDS.

The music was arranged and recorded at Mumbai. The final mixing, mastering was done at the studio of GARESALA Records and the entire studio cost was borne by them.

Vivekananda Club, one of the oldest and well-known Sports club of Siliguri supported the concept and let the song be launched in the inauguration of Under 16 Knockout Football tournament. It was released at Kanchenjungha Stadium on 1st November, 2012 by the North Bengal Development Minister Mr. Gautam Deb, SMC chairman Mr. Nantu Pal and the Siliguri Matigara MLA Mr. Sankar Malakar.

The song was played for four days during the tournament and was widely appreciated by the people.

The illustration in the cover designs of the CD were done by Mr. Kamal Sarkar, an eminent illustrator artist of Siliguri.

This has been an entirely a non-profit exercise.  Around a thousand copies of the CD is planned to be distributed all over Siliguri soon free of cost. The copyright of the song is made free to play at all occasions and places by Garesala Records. Public events, places and commercial establishments shall be requested to play the song and infuse a sense of pride, belonging and celebration towards the city of Siliguri.

The song in Bengali, Nepali and Hindi represents the major languages spoken in the city. Titled as “Spirit of Siliguri” it reflects the various colors of the city.

An Audio-Visual identity - Giving back to the Roots

With several quality projects on the verge of world wide release, Ashutosh always had an inclination of giving back to one’s hometown. Conceived by Subrata Ray, Spirit of Siliguri became a starting exercise in the commercial packaging of Siliguri’s and North Bengal’s cultural expressions. Several other projects are underway. Soon a Bengali film will be announced. Pre-production work has been going on in full swing and it is collaboration between Siliguri and Mumbai. Some major artists from Kolkata are being approached to come on board. Soon a formal announcement shall be made in this regard. Already, several talented people from North Bengal are part of this project and are working on it to create the first quality from North Bengal to be commercially released all over the state.

The team will also scout for projects and talented artists locally and groom them under professionals. A couple of such projects are already underway.

Spirit of Siliguri music hopefully shall encourage several quality projects of similar nature and create a rippling effect of awareness and Brand Building of the city.

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