Assam born Joi Baruah, who has worked in Bollywood movies like ‘Margarita With A Straw’ and ‘Udaan’, collaborated with American saxophonist George Brooks on the astonishingly fresh and unusual ‘Rabha..’, which continues to elicit tremendous appeal on the TV channels and social media. The song is a tribute to legendary artist and revolutionary figure Bishnu Prasad Rabha, who has been a great influence in the singer’s life. The singer really enjoyed working with George Brooks, who found the traditional tune much to his liking.
Says Joi, “The collaboration happened after I met George Brooks in the summer of 2014 in the US. He is one of the leading saxophonists of the world and I met him through an INK talks initiative. Thankfully, he loved my music. This song was in the making and I thought George, with his brilliant playing, would best exemplify Bishnu Rabha in the song. This was a match made in heaven. And then there was no looking back.”
Themed around a story about love, passion, idealism, and sacrifice, the melody ridden ‘Rabha..’ is written by Joi’s bandmate, songwriter Ibson Lal Baruah. “Gaji Rabha had told this story to Ibson, who then passed it on to me, one late evening. I salute him for he shared with me a story that had troubled him for a long time. And now it has turned out to be this lovely song that we are proud of,” says Joi.
The song is about one fateful night when legendary artist Kalaguru Bishnu Prasad Rabha and his leader Gajiram Rabha were out there, fighting the establishment and getting away from it. Gajiram Rabha underwent severe physical torture in imprisonment when he refused to reveal the secrets of Rabha and his adherents. He even severed his tongue to save his fellow comrades. The dedication, commitment and sacrifice of Gaji Rabha is a supreme example to every Assamese. It’s vital to know and imbibe the ideologies of Bishnu Rabha for the progress of the country and its people.
Samudra Kajal Saikia has created the animated music video accompanying the song. Says Joi about the making of the video, “Samudra teaches drama and theatre and is a fantastic animation artiste. I was working on the song and hadn’t found a way forward on the visual tract. He had gifted me a small animation video he had made himself of my song ‘Tejimola’. I was astounded by its wizardry. I knew if there was anyone, it was he who could take this song forward, with its nuances of art, music and heritage intact. It takes around 25 visual animation guys to do something like this, but he did this all by himself. He worked alone, sometimes 16 hour days, for nearly two months to come up with the first draft. I am lucky to have someone like him, who goes so deep into creating a piece of art that will stand the test of time.”