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Angaraag Mahanta who is popularly known as Papon is a well known singer, composer and record producer from Assam.
Angaraag Mahanta was born in a musical family to music duo and legends of Assamese music, Khagen Mahanta and Archana Mahanta. Hailing from the music family, he was introduced to music from a very small age. As such, his inclination to music happened from a very small age. He was accustomed to hearing a wide array of sounds and songs including traditional Vaishnavite devotional songs to new age electronic songs. He had initial training in Indian classical and traditional music of Assam. Angaraag Mahanta learnt vocals from an initial age. He is also accustomed to playing the guitar, khol, tabla and harmonium. His musical style includes ambient electronic, acoustic folk and new age Indian classical music. There are also traces of pentatonic Mongoloid notes, river song influences and ghazals seen in his singing style. Angaraag Mahanta conducts innovative experiments on his work and sings mixing electronic elements in traditional and folk music styles.
Angaraag Mahanta released his first album ‘Jonaki Raati’ in Assamese in the year 2004. In this album, all the eight songs are fresh both in content and rendition. Angaraag Mahanta has very beautifully touched the essence of the meaningful lyrics however, by not letting the music overpower the lyrical essence. The second album was ‘Sinaaki Osinaaki’ released in November 2009. Angaraag has also sung in few albums produced by various artists. Subsequently after his second album, he released his first folk music album Rangphul, a Bihu album after which he produced Gomseng and Phagunor Gaan subsequently. Phagunor Gaan is an album representing the typical Holi songs of Barpeta in West Assam.
Angaraag Mahanta has been featured on albums by MDR Records label in a tie up with Times Music. He has also sung for Bollywood films like Dum Maaro Dum, I am Kalam and most recently Soundtrack. He has been featured on the Indian leg of the show Coke Studio in MTV. Angaraag Mahanta has also performed on the Global Indian Film Awards show with Midival Punditz, Kailash Kher and Shubha Mudgal. He also appeared on Star World India channel in the sixth episode of ‘The Dewarists’ with Rabbi Shergill and subsequently recorded a song 'Khule Da Rabb'.
Angaraag Mahanta has performed with the Midival Punditz and Karsh Kale in various festivals around the world. The concerts and functions include the Paleo Music Festival in Switzerland, Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta, Mosaic Music Festival in Singapore and the Oslo World Music Festival in Norway. Angaraag Mahanta has also co-written a couple of songs with the Midival Punditz which features on the Punditz third album ‘Hello Hello’ which ranked among the top three songs on Amazon worldwide.
Angaraag also collaborated with the Welling Jazz Band in Wellington, New Zealand in 2007 for a project for the festival Crossings where he played some of his music live. He is also working on a project with Rihan Sheehad, who is a popular electronic artist and producer from Wellington. Angaraag Mahanta is currently working on two international collaborations which will be released this year and also wrote a song with Karsh Kale for his new album Cinema.
Angaraag Mahanta formed an electronic folk fusion band in the year 2007 called Papon and The East India Company. This band consists of Angaraag Mahanta on the lead vocals, Brin Desai on live electronics, Krishna on guitars, Kirti on percussion and Dipu on bass. These five members of the band come from different places of the country and from different musical backgrounds ranging from Assamese folk, metal to blues and hip hop. The band has performed twice at the SAARC Music Band Festival in New Delhi. They have also performed in the Eastwind festival, Kovalam Literary Festival and overseas with Sutasi in Singapore. They also performed at the October Fest in Bangalore, NH7 Weekender Fest in Pune and the Rock for Rights concert in New Delhi. Earlier their track OMO was taken on by Saregama HMV for release on a compilation album, The Underground, along with a song called ‘Jiya Baitho Jai’ in an album called Sahibol. In the year 2008, their track called Khuda Hota was released by Dada Music, an extension of Music Today.
Awards and Nominations:
Angaraag Mahanta was nominated twice in the GIMA Awards 2011 under the Best Folk Album category for his two Assamese folk albums ‘Gomseng (Bihu) and ‘Phagunor Gaan (Holi Songs)’. He got the award for the best male singer in the ‘Prag Cine Awards 2012’ for the title song ‘Ramdhenu’ of the Assamese film of the same name.