Melodies of Protest
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The anthem of the 1960s civil rights movement, Blowin' in the wind, in which legendary musician Bob Dylan sneered in his raspy voice, came about as just another number from Dylan's arsenal of rollicking bluesy riffs and interesting songwriting. It was to become one of the most eloquent protest songs in the history of protest music.
Now, 50 years after it made its first appearance, the number has been translated into Hindi and compiled along with seven other iconic protest tracks from all over the world into an album, Soorat Badalni Chaahiye (Rs 150), by the progressive music group Parcham. The compilation also includes Paul Robeson's Ol' Man River — a track penned by renowned Cuban revolutionary and nationalist Jose Marti, Salil Chowdhury's Bhor ke rahi, and Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz's Darbar-e-Watan.
"These are well-known songs that speak of people's struggles. The issues and problems that existed when these songs were made have come back to haunt us in our country. The current situation demands protest songs. Corruption and politics without morals is what we are witnessing everyday. So we collectively decided to take eight songs from across the world, translate them and let them reach the dominant Hindi-speaking population of the country," says Kajal Ghosh, director of Parcham, an organisation that came into existence in early 1980s to carry forward the legacy of the Indian People Theatre Association (IPTA) —– the cultural wing of the Communist Party of India.
The album has come 20 years after the band was established. "All the members are in different cities and everybody got busy with their own lives. However, the group stayed together. After some recent performances, we decided to bring out an album. I hope today's generation will identify and understand the value of these songs," says Ghosh about the album that was recorded in Delhi-based Digital Sound Studio.
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