Aalo Aamar Aalo

Light, my light

Voicing: SATB, piano

Performance time approx: 4m 45s

Range S: a — e''♭ / A: a — b'♭ / T: d — e'♭ / B: B♭ — b♭

Price code: D


Rabindranath Tagore was a major figure of Bengali music and literature. He wrote over two thousand songs, as well as poems, short stories, novels, plays and essays. The song Aalo Aamar Aalo (also often spelt Alo Amar Alo) is an ecstatic paean to light: “heart-sweetening, eye-kissing light; light that dances, shatters into gold, scatters gems and brings mirth and joy.” It’s very well known in Bengal and several performances by solo singers can be found on youtube.

Tagore translated many of his Bengali lyrics, including this song, into English. The English version of Aalo Aamar Aalo is no. 57 of the collection Gitanjali (Song Offerings) for which Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913.

In this arrangement, choral sections – some in unison, others in two or four part harmony – are interspersed with piano interludes. Simple glides and other ornaments have been added to the vocal lines, echoing Bengali performance practice. Further information about this and other Tagore songs (or Rabindra sangeet, as they are known) can be found at the website http://geetabitan.com/.

Our edition comes with full translation, pronunciation guidance and the original Bengali text.

The arrangement uses a transcription into western alphabet of the Bengali original (with a little English). Rather than reprint the transcription here, we give Tagore's own English translation.

Light, my light, the world-filling light, the eye-kissing light, heart-sweetening light!
Ah, the light dances, my darling, at the centre of my life; the light strikes, my darling, the chords of my love; the sky opens, the wind runs wild, laughter passes over the earth.
The butterflies spread their sails on the sea of light. Lilies and jasmines surge up on the crest of the waves of light.
The light is shattered into gold on every cloud, my darling, and it scatters gems in profusion.
Mirth spreads from leaf to leaf, my darling, and gladness without measure. The heaven's river has drowned its banks and the flood of joy is abroad.

Rabindranath Tagore

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Aalo Aamar Aalo

Sheena Phillips

SATB, piano

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