Express news service
NEW DELHI: Before the pandemic, multidisciplinary artist Soumik Datta released Jangal, an album in response to deforestation. This led him to Earth Day Network, a global organization that raises awareness about climate change. They made Soumik an ambassador and he started a deeper journey into environmental campaigns.
At one point during the lockdown, Soumik wrote a short story about Asha, a young climate refugee from Bengal who searches for her father across the world, through burning forests and rising oceans.
In February this year, he won a British Council Climate Change Creative Commission to develop a Songs of Earth film and music project in partnership with Earth Day Network. The film and album were released on November 2. âAsha has been living with me for several months now. It’s wonderful to share his story, âsays Datta.
The editing and the opening music are evocative but pleasant. Tell us about the composition?
Every song in the movie [and the album] relates to a specific environmental problem. The lyrics of Oceans Rising are about the increase in the earth’s surface temperature while Fields of Hope addresses deforestation and the endangerment of animals. There is also Chemical Design which comments on the carbon footprint of the fashion industry. I wanted to write the songs in a way that wouldn’t take away from their musicality but contained layers of meaning for different types of listeners.
How did you come up with the animated character Asha?
Asha means “hope” in both Hindi and Bengali, and hope is indeed the key here. We must be motivated not by fear of climate change but by hope for a better future. Music and stories have the capacity to evoke this feeling, despite the overwhelming and depressing statistics surrounding the climate crisis.
Are you planning any other films?
My mother is a director and so is my brother. So I am not trying to become another in the family! But as a creative person, I’m interested in all kinds of media â music, spoken word, film, dance, theater, graphic design, animation, VR â and I enjoy working with specialists who can bring ideas to life. through these mediums.
Your upcoming projects?
Currently, I am working on a new show that will deal with immigration, mental health issues and the refugee crisis. It is ambitious and will be released at Southbank Center in London and broadcast worldwide.
Broadcast on YouTube