Music reflects my life – Majuli fame Nilotpal Bora in an Exclusive Interview
His soothing melodies and soulful voice have touched the hearts of millions. He is none other than Nilotpal Bora, the voice behind many beautiful compositions like Nodi, Jonakore Rati, Ghormua Pokhi, Majuli and much more. His recent releases made Nilotpal Bora emerge as the new sound of Assam.
He says that music reflects his life and he is here to narrate his beautiful stories through his compositions. In an exclusive interview, this young man from Assam gave us insights into his journey of music. Hear him out as he talks about his new album Pancham, and takes us along with him on his musical journey filled with beautiful and new experiences.
Hello Nilotpal, welcome to Creativica.
Hello, thank you for having me here.
Your song Majuli have truly touched the hearts of all. What was your inspiration behind the song?
The place Majuli is very near and dear to me; its beauty fascinates me a lot. I have always had a special bonding with rivers, it inspires my life. My music is the reflection of it and Majuli was just another product of such an inspiration.
Did you want to be a musician or singer since childhood? What did you use to say when someone asked you about your aim in life?
I belong to a musical family and I was very closely associated with music since my childhood. Honestly speaking, when I was young I used to dislike music a lot. There is a saying ‘anything in excess is likely bad’ and I think the same thing applied to me as well. I grew up in my uncle’s house and from morning to evening, I always used to saw everyone in my house practicing the ‘ragas’, be it any occasion people from our locality used to come to our place for practice sessions. Listening to music day and night lead to a point where I found music noisy. And that was my first-hand impression on music so my answer to your question would be ‘no’ here.
Whenever someone asked me what I wanted to do when I grow up, I always used to say that I wanted to join the Indian Army. (laughs)
What was the first musical instrument you learned to play?
The first musical instrument that I learned to play was ‘tabla’. There is again a very interesting story about it. As mentioned earlier, initially I did not use enjoy music as I do now. So my mother actually had to force me to learn ‘tabla’ and she was the one who made me to join ‘tabla’ classes. Back then, I used to find it very irritating but now I know the importance of it and I can say that the ‘tabla’ classes proved to be a great help now.
You are more into Indian classical and folk, if you have to name an artist who had the direct influence on your music, who would that be?
Growing up in a musical family, classical music was always there in my subconscious learning. But if I have to name one artist, I would say Jayanta Hazarika has always been an inspiration for me and his music had a direct influence on my music.
Your debut album 7 Unplugged too had this similar blend of melody and nostalgia, what inspires your compositions?
When I was composing for my album 7 Unplugged I was in my college years studying in Assam Engineering Institute. Staying in a hostel and like every other college going guy, I too had my college crushes and a part of my album was inspired by the stories of my college years.
Your new album Pancham is out in the racks and congratulations on all the positive responses. Could you tell us about the journey of Pancham?
When I first shifted to Mumbai in 2013, I got the opportunity to travel places around India, and North East India. When I was traveling to all these places, I met people with different culture, society, and traditions. This helped me to develop a musical taste which was very new and different than the kind of music I was earlier into.
In Mumbai, I met with many skilled musicians who later became a part of my friend circle or rather I became a part of them. Hanging out with them was also a learning experience which helped me acquired a new learning process. And the five songs of Pancham is nothing but the gist of my experiences and my growth as a musician in the past four years.
You have collaborated with many artists for your new album, how was your experience in working with them?
I have had a great time working on my album and partly because I was blessed with such a great team. I collaborated with Zubeen da (Zubeen Garg) for one of the songs and I feel blessed that he contributed his lyrics into it. Besides, I also collaborated with some of the great musicians of our country like Ankur Mukherjee, Sanjoy Das, Mynah Marie (Canada), Ambar Das, Ishan Das, Anuraag Saikia, Mrinmoy Sarmah , Manas Chaudhari, Arup Jyoti Baruah, Kilash Patra and many more. India’s one of the best sound engineer Pankaj Borah also collaborated with me as the chief sound engineer for this album.
As many of you already saw and appreciated two of the videos from Pancham (Ghormua Pokhi and Majuli) I would like to make a special mention here to the people behind this: Aniruddha Bruah, Bitupan Kashyap and Bikash Rai (video producer and editor).
Working with them was a great learning experience for me and I really feel privileged to collaborate with such great minds and talents. I thank the entire team for their support.
Any future projects lined up?
I have many dreams in mind.
We’re almost at the end of our interview, but before that, do you have any message for the upcoming artists?
I would like to tell my friends one thing that artists mustn’t compromise on their art. Musicians should not sit to compose music for the sake of any festival or an occasion, just to gain popularity for that period of time. Music should not be festive oriented and neither should it be confined to a specific culture only. Music should reflect your life and the music you compose should have a national or international appeal sometimes. I am not criticizing any kind of music; I am just saying that there should be a balance between all kinds of music.
Secondly, I would also like to ask my friends to educate themselves about music as much as possible, take proper training as this is really important. I did not learn music properly since my childhood and I would urge my friends not to repeat the same mistake I made. (laughs)
Thank you Nilotpal for giving us your valuable time. We wish you all the best for your upcoming days.
Thank you so much and I wish to see Creativica reach its full potential so that we can see the name ‘Creativica’ going on till the long run.