While studying in the Colombian University in the fifties, Bhupen Hazarika was audience to the civil rights leader, Paul Robeson singing 'Old man river, you don't say nothing, you just keep rolling along' in an ode to the Mississippi.
The inspiration stuck to the singer-composer and he too with a child-like innocence asked the Ganges why it flowed quietly, unaffected, oblivious to the sufferings of the masses that live on its banks, in three Indian languages, Assamese, Bangla and Hindi. The 'Ganga' song is close to being representative of ganasangeet. Its immense popularity makes it a 'must number' in all of Hazarika's shows.
Coming out with a new album titled -- 'The Complete Bhupen Hazarika', Hazarika desires to traverse more to reach out to the younger generation to listen to the stories of the river that starts its course from the Gangotri and ends in the Gangasagar.
After a brief stint in Hindi films with unusual lyrics and throbbing music Hazarika wants to go back to compose music for the self and the younger generation. The music he gave in Rudaali, Darmiyaan and Ek Pal were known for their individual styles and a soft flow, particularly the songs of Rudaali. Hazarika's next contribution to filmi music is in Daman where he has tried to create the magic of Rudaali.
'The Complete Bhupen Hazarika' has voices of a medley of singers. Starting with Dr Hazarika himself, there is Shaan, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Hariharan, Hema Sardesai, Suneeta Rao and a few other names. ''I have used many different voices to appeal to the younger generation and give the songs youthful touch'' says Dr Hazarika.
At a time when chart busters are being splashed by pop music, the soul stirring numbers (including 'dola' and 'Ganga') of 'The Complete Bhupen Hazarika' breathe fresh air to jaded ears. A must buy for genuine music buffs.