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News |  10 Jul 2015 12:46 |  By IANS

Did not intend to hurt anyone: Sona Mohapatra on 'Rangabati'

MUMBAI: Following a lawsuit that accused singer Sona Mohapatra and Rituraj Mohanty of distorting the original Sambalpuri cult song ‘Rangabati’ in their re-rendition of it for Coke Studio, Mohapatra said her intention was not to hurt anyone but to bring her home state, Odisha, into the spotlight.

"I'm just saddened and it's just hurtful. The intention was not to hurt anyone, least of all, the people I want to pay homage to. We got a beautiful opportunity in Coke Studio, which is a cross-cultural platform where different cultures merge with modern music to reach out to a whole different audience," Mohapatra told IANS at the launch of her new album ‘Punjab Project - Volume 1’.

The original ‘Rangabati’, which was sung by Jitendriya Haripal and Krishna Patel, was first aired by All India Radio in Sambalpur in the mid-1970s.

Mohapatra said she only wanted to bring her home state into the spotlight and appreciates the affection she has garnered through the song from various communities.

"The intentions were to put the spotlight on my home state Odisha. I think I want to focus on the millions of people who have shown us love. In four days, the video has hit one million views and a lot of love, affection and pride has come my way.

"And for a few people who are upset by it, I don't want to kill the celebration that is around the song," she said.

The Coke Studio version of the song has reached a staggering 1,114,554 views in just six days and Mohapatra said this has led to the recognition of Sambalpuri folk at a larger level.

"Overall, people have written that it has united Odias... Bengalis to Punjabis to Malayalis have written that they can't understand it but they love it. They were not even aware of Sambalpuri folk as a folk form.”

"I think I am introducing my home land to the rest of the world and if there are issues with that, they'll get resolved. I'm just looking for them to get resolved," she said.

Meanwhile, ‘The Punjab Project - Volume 1’ is a collaborative album between Mohapatra and music producer Sumit Sethi and was launched by The album, which promises to put the spotlight on the rich culture and musical traditions of the state, features Mohapatra and is produced by Sethi.

Volume 1 is a collection of eight songs, which also includes music videos. The first track ‘Neher Vale Pul’ is a tribute to legendary singer Noor Jehan. The album will be launched one track at a time with new tracks being unveiled every fortnight.

‘Neher Vale Pul’, which was launched on Thursday, is a Punjabi folk tune popularised by Noor Jehan and which has now been recreated by Sethi in an electronic soundscape with contemporary lyrics by Paras Sunda. The next track from the album will be released on 5 August and is an ode to legendary singer Surender Kaur.

"Making a cultural impact in my country as an artist is important to me and this album gives me an opportunity to do so. I have also always aspired to be part of the bridge that connects the ancient to the contemporary. 'The Punjab Project' is one such bridge.

"This genre of music production is not one that I'm associated with but I am very excited to be pushing the envelope with this new 'folktronica' genre. This will enable me to educate myself in the rich musical culture of Punjab and will also help me reach out to a brand new audience," Mohapatra said.

Sethi said the album was very close to his heart, and a life altering experience.