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Singer Papon now experimenting with folk, reggae

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Travelling across three time zones in the US during a Durga Puja tour, coming back to Shillong with a jetlag and perform at NH-7 Weekender, followed by a gig in and back again to Weekender in Kolkata, the last two months have been a crazy ride for singer Angaraag 'Papon' Mahanta resulting in some exciting new projects from his kitty.

"I had a new set of songs for the festivals, unfamiliar sounds for the people, for that the sounds should be good and everything has to fall in place. I think it has worked and we made notes of where we have to improve more based on the feedback," Papon told PTI in an interview.

"The whole spectrum of playing Bengali songs in US to the NH-7 for the young crowd was exciting. Its good for me to develop things from the experiences, for we did a song from poetry of Rabindranath Tagore and performed it live with a different version and the crowd," he said.

With so much happening, coming months are not looking good in terms of mad travel, says Papon with his future plans including working on new singles with the band and an album which is still in process.

The singer is now experimenting with folk, reggae and also electronica and fusing them with contemporary Indie music for his upcoming projects in order to make songs that are unlike what he has done before.

"All of that I have played live and now the plan is to record them, produce them, make videos and release singles."

"Individually I have started working on my other album which will take some time because I am yet to achieve the kind of sound so I need to work on that," he said.

Spending his childhood days travelling with his father, Khagen Mahanta, a legendary Assamese folk artist, amidst the verdant hills of Assam, Papon describes that the connection with nature, often reflected in his songs is something he cannot explain.

"I was born a nature person in general. I have done a lot exploring like, trekking, mountain biking. So for me it started out in the hills, that is a magic, it cannot be explained. It's like a drug and it happened to me. I found lots of answers and solace in nature."

He has been creating fans worldwide and collaborating with varied artists creating wonders with fused genres everytime he is featured on Coke Studio and this it's no different. Papon is working on something completely new for the fourth Season of the show.

"The project is in the making now, one phase is done. But

I did start working on something, it'll be a new sound for sure, not something that I've done before. I need to figure it out, the moment I need to sit on it and I will sit on it, I'll get to know," he said.

Papon's last track, Tauba with Benny Dayal on Coke Studio's season 3 was a fusion of indie music with the traditional Bihu music, it beacame a sensation that currently stands with more than 1.8 million views on Youtube.

"Tauba is not exactly Bihu but it has glimpses and the smell of bihu. I kind of deconstructed the whole Bihu thing and reconstructed it into a new track," the Assam born singer said.

Born to legends of Assamese folk music, Khagen and Archana Mahanta, music was not the first thing he thought of pursuing and interestingly ran away from it and later only in life he realised that music is something he can take up as serious business.

"I needed to find myself, recognize my calling. Hanging out in doing other things, then rediscovering myself and people appreciated my work without knowing my background, that's when I decided that if I am doing and if people like what I'm capable of then I should definitely follow this. After college I realized I want to do music and I'm doing it because I'm good at it," he added.

The Assamese artist is also set to make his Bollywood debut in Nagesh Kukunoor's 'Music Men'. The movie features real life music artists such as, Shankar Mahadevan and Sunidhi Chauhan.

"I had sung for Nagesh in a movie. He is a musician himself too. One time we came out from a gig and he talked about that this kind of music has to go out to people and that's when he casted real musicians to make a movie only about music," he said.

With time and new talents exploring opportunities with combining genres to make Indie music, Papon believes that with time this gap with the commercial music is decreasing now.

"The whole approach has to change towards alternate and other music beyond just the commercial cinema music. And it's slowly happening now, festivals like NH-7 has proved it now. I think the whole film and Independent music will somewhere meet soon."

"Understand what you are good at. You only get to know about yourself by experience. Keep your ears, your mind and soul open as wide as open as possible so that you can absorb more and more things, they should set you up in something which will be more unique," a piece of advice he gives to the upcoming talent in music.

First Published: Sun, December 13 2015. 12:28 IST