Friday, May 12, 2017

Why is her song being passed off as Shakira’s, asks Purabi Mukhopadhyay

KOLKATA: Social media had started working overtime last week by sharing an audio clip which was claimed to be Shakira's rendition of Paul Robeson's 'Ol' Man River' and Bhupen Hazarika's 'Ganga Behti Ho Kyu'! From WhatsApp to Facebook, this clip went viral. Some even went on to praise how good Shakira's Hindi pronunciation is. Little did they realise that the clip was actually a hoax. The voice of this recording was that of acclaimed singer Purabi Mukhopadhyay. The recording was her tribute to Paul Robeson's Ol' Man River and Bhupen Hazarika's 'Ganga Behti Ho Kyu?' TOI speaks to her on this issue. Excerpts:

How did you get to know about such an audio clip?
I have been singing for 50 years now. This is the first time that I have come across such a hoax. Some four days back, I received this clip from a listener in Jaipur who was amazed to see that my voice has been passed off as that of Shakira.

When did you first record this song?
Way back in 1999, I had recorded this song for an album with Raga music label called 'Amra Korbo Joy'. Again in 2003, I recorded the same number for an album called 'Agrogotir Pathe'. It is strange that after so many years, this song surfaced on social media without giving me credit. I have had a long association with Bhupen Hazarika. I have sung with him on stage. He would sing 'Ganga Behti Ho Kyu' in this manner. Bhupen-da was alive when I had first recorded this number. I used to sing on a scale that was higher than what Bhupen-da would usually sang in. He would often sing on B Flat, A or C natural scale while I sang on C. Therefore, my rendition of this song was very different from that of others. In the last couple of days, I have had calls from people across the globe asking me how my recording has been passed off as that of Shakira. Finally, the owner of the music label got in touch with YouTube. It was removed after that.

However, the recording still remains online. It goes with the header: Shakira sings Bhupen Hazarika's 'O Ganga Tum' in her own voice...
That is the irony of life. I am wondering if I should take look at it positively or negatively. People are protesting this hoax and that's important for me. I am waiting for others to join in this protest too.