Sreeja Chakra – Ami Jaani (I Know) | Ode from the Global South
Colorado, Denver based musician Sreeja Chakra is originally from Kolkata, India while she grew up in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Sreeja Chakra brings her Indian and Middle Eastern perspectives in her debut release Ami Jaani (I Know), which attempts to give a tribute and at the same time solace to communities. The phrase Ami Jaani means I Know in the Bengali language spoken in eastern India and Bangladesh. The song tries to create a discourse on the pain that is unseen around conversations about mental health. The track is co-produced and mixed by Alayna Marie with guitars by Brandon Craven and mastering by Slozzaa. The track could possibly be genred under neo-soul, contemporary R&B, and world music.
The track is austere in its arrangement and production with violin-like elements and a guitar flurry of arpeggiated notes as a sonic drone forming the musical canvass. On this musical canvass, Sreeja paints with her emotional vocals and her lyrical themes, of knowing and empathizing with the generational hardships of South Asian and especially Bengali communities. It is a personal and at the same time a popular proclamation as a whole in the sense of a community. It acts not only to specific populations but to all peoples which have or are undergoing struggle.
The stripped-down arrangement and guitar drone are most apt for this song. The reverb effect is used to the full extent to create a hypnotic and meditative aura for the song upon which the lyricism creates deep reflection. Sreeja’s vocals are appropriately performed imbibing social ethos and expression to her words. All proceedings from the single are to be donated to New York based Bengali Mental Health Movement. Ami Jaani is a reflective and healing track on the social trials of all peoples who struggle under the yoke of historical and present injustice.