Last Sunday, Coke Studio Bangla released a new song titled 'Chiltey Roud'. Young artist Boga Taleb (Ripon Kumar Sarkar) is the one who sings Abbasuddin Ahmed's Bhawaiya parts from 'O Ki Ekbar Asiya' along with famous musician Shayan Chowdhury Arnob.
The song has been talked up and shared all over social media. Many listeners are rightfully praising Boga Taleb and yearn for a proper introduction to the artiste.
On Tuesday afternoon, I had a chat with Ripon Kumar Sarkar. In the beginning, he expressed profuse gratitude to the listeners, for keeping the song on repeat and spreading it through word of mouth.
Boga Taleb was born in Tanore, Rajshahi, in his uncle's house, but spent his formative years with his grandfather in Bagha, of the same district.
Ripon grew up surrounded by musical talents. His father used to sing Rabindra Sangeet. Around the age of six, he started training in the classical style of Rabindra Sangeet. However, at that young age, after hearing the cover of an artist for 'O Ki Gariyal Bhai', he diversified into the Bhawaiya genre. And through Bhawaiya geeti, Boga Taleb introduced himself to the world.
Apart from Boga Taleb's patriarch, his maternal uncle would also take him to various places to broaden his musical training. Recalling that time, Boga Taleb said, "My uncle used to take me to different places to teach me music on the back of my bicycle. As such he jokingly claims that he has been handcuffed to music since he was a kid "If I am an artist, it is because of my family, my maternal uncle, and my guru Golam Panjatan."
We know Ripon Sarkar as an artist. But earlier in his life, he wanted to study physics. However, after his HSC completion, that fascination had come to an end. Then, he turned his eye towards journalism, but soon lost interest again. He even wanted to study drama in pursuit of which he almost applied to the Faculty of Fine Art, University of Dhaka (Charukala).
He enrolled at Rajshahi University in Music a few months into which he migrated to Santiniketan in India. It was there that he completed his Honours and Masters in Hindustani Classical Music.
Boga Taleb has his own band in Rajshahi: Swarobanjo. The band has been active for several years and has performed in various music festivals. The band started making waves after their appearance at Folk Fest, Dhaka, 2016.
Pertaining to his new rapport with Coke Studio, he says "Arnab da is my senior from campus in Shanti Niketan. I met and talked with him at Shanti Niketan a few years ago. Later, whenever Dada would visit Shanti Niketan, we hung out and jammed."
A while ago, he suddenly called me in Dhaka. We were talking about music as always but this time we decided to make something in the Bhawaiya genre. We got to composing and a recording was planned soon after, that is how it all came about."
Before concluding, I asked him about the origin of his moniker Boga Taleb.
He laughed and said, "Actually there is no real reason behind it. A few years ago, when I opened a Facebook ID it was the first thing that came to mind. Not to say that there isn't a tale behind the title. This was back in my highschool days, I was living in a beautiful dormitory in Rajshahi city. An uncle named Parimal Sarkar used to live with me there. He would do beautiful recitations of 'Taleb Master' by the poet Ashraf Siddiqui. One rainy day, I asked my uncle to recite the poem, right after I sang a song called 'Fande Poriya Boga Kande Re' which is one of my favourite tunes. After my uncle's recitation, I wondered if Boga and Taleb could be a name unto itself. This essentially caught on from my facebook profile and I like it. "
Boga Taleb also shared his future plans. He said, "I really want to work on children's rhyme songs. I love spending time with children. So I want to work with them as well as continuing my musical endeavours.