“We are the children of the soil where the river purifies us. We whisper the symphonies of this genre in soft and soothing voices. Dark at night our dreams express themselves on a sailing boat in a land of natural abundance. To us the rivers are like lives flowing away undeterred. And sometimes they are poignant features of our ethnic roots. We sail away in the world of fantasy and imagination. We aspire to know why the bird sings, why the sprinkling of water sounds harmonious. With questions like these churning in our minds we hum the tunes and sing Joler Gaan in unhindered voices.”
Jol is water in Bangla. We took the inspiration for the name from the 1300 rivers that crisscrossed our country. In Bangladesh, water controls our lives and livelihood. So we believe as the son of this soil our spiritual and emotional awareness was originated from water, thus we are Joler Gaan, music of the water. Ours is a band group dominated by visual artists and theatre activists. Many wonders, why we took a turn to music. We felt music has more opportunity as a medium to express the freedom of mind and also to touch souls. People can connect to music more than they can connect to any other form of art. It all began in Scotland when Rahul, Kanak, Jarnal and Kaartik went participate in World Sufi Festival, 2006. We performed in various places in Scotland, played mystical spiritual songs of Tagore, Lalan and few of our own songs. We also performed in National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.
Our lyrics are based on human stories. We have collected few lyrics from various sources. Few of the songs are written for us exclusively which is also inspired by root level stories of love, despair, courage, nature and abstract ideas and beliefs. Our language is simple and deep. It touches human hearts and melts easily with their imagination. People can make their own visualization of the songs. We also use a lot of metaphor that depicts various colours and sides of human emotions. We play with small issues of human lives that tell stories of individuals, clans or objects using metaphors.
Our music composition is very much contemporary yet distinctive. In composition we have used a lot of highland tunes from various countries and blended it with our local tunes. People already carries the music we play in their hearts as it is entwined with the soil, so when we play it, they can very easily connect with the composition. It perhaps has helped Joler Gaan to gain instant popularity. Our presentation and composition is taken from soil, from every part of the country. We are men from the plain land, however took influences from highlands as the beginning of every river is the mountain. And for us, most of our rivers were born on the mighty Himalayas and other high lands. Thus we tried to blend everything in the music. We are naturalist even in our living, in individual lives. Hence nature plays so much importance and dominates our songs.
While we blended various music, we felt there are very specific tunes that we need to put in the composition and thus we experimented with instruments, this generated the need to develop and improvise instruments to incorporated new sounds. We play music everywhere, from rural courtyards to international festivals. We hop around village courtyards and do free concerts just to express our gratitude to the people who are living in our roots. And this is where we want to connect.