A Belfast-Kolkata musical collaboration between Deepmoy Das and Jason O’Rourke
The idea behind this project was to carry out an online musical collaboration that could be delivered in socially-distanced settings taking into account current and possible future public health restrictions due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. The ‘Belonging’ project was funded by the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
We wanted to bring together the traditional music of India and Ireland by finding common ground between the two ancient musical cultures, and also by composing new material, to establish a deep collaboration. Deepmoy is firmly rooted in the Bengali tradition, and Jason in the music of the North of Ireland. To try and be as inclusive as possible we have worked on songs in Hindi as well as Bengali, and have also included an instrumental piece. In this way we have attempted to be as diverse as we possibly can, given our backgrounds.
Our backgrounds are important to the theme of the project, ‘Belonging’. Both of our family histories involve migration across lines drawn on maps at the end of the British Empire. Thus we have a song from East Bengal paired up with an Irish tune that Jason picked up as a child in England. Our cultures migrate with us, in one form or another. But they also tend to adapt to those of their new homes as well. What we hope to achieve by bringing our musical traditions together in this project is a positive demonstration of that process of cultural mixing, communication, and inter-connectedness.
We hope our music will inspire you to reflect upon your own ideas of belonging, and we invite you to respond to our project in whatever way you feel appropriate. words, art, craft, dance, photography, song, etc. It doesn’t matter what your age is or what level your ability is. In fact, we’d especially like to hear from you if you’ve never put pen or brush to paper before. You can also leave a comment at the bottom of the page if you want. Responses and comments can be in any language.
We will curate your responses on this web page.
If you want to send us something, the contact email for responses is: firstname.lastname@example.org
National Lottery funded through The Arts Council of Northern Ireland
Many thanks to Frankie Quinn (photography), Teresa Clarke, Anirban Sarkar, Aishi Media Solution, Mrityunjoy Das, Crossfade Studios (Kolkata), Banglanatak dot com, The Conway Mill, Belfast.