Ali Sethi is the singing maestro behind critically acclaimed Indian writer Amitav Ghosh's new musical audiobook Jungle Nama. The audiobook is a "verse adaptation" that retells a popular tale from the villages of the Sundarbans (mangrove forests) located along the Bay of Bengal.
According to Harper Collins Publishers, Jungle Nama is "Amitav Ghosh’s verse adaptation of an episode from the legend of Bon Bibi, a tale popular in the villages of the Sundarban, which also lies at the heart of the novel The Hungry Tide. "It is the story of the avaricious rich merchant Dhona, the poor lad Dukhey, and his mother; it is also the story of Dokkhin Rai, a mighty spirit who appears to humans as a tiger, of Bon Bibi, the benign goddess of the forest, and her warrior brother Shah Jongoli."
Sethi took to Instagram to share news of the project meant to "evoke the wonder of the Sundarban through its sound and poetry". "So thrilled to launch our labor of love Jungle Nama, a musical audiobook created by Amitav Ghosh, performed by me with gorgeous art from Salman Toor."
"This edition available in South Asia only — download it from Audible and other places," he added.
Sethi also shared a song from the audiobook — 'Baya Jao' which is his first ever song in the Bengali language.
Ghosh's literary work focuses on the Sundarbans, vast areas of tidal waterways, mudflats and small islands of salt-tolerant mangrove forests that have been heavily impacted by climate change and politics. According to UNESCO, the Sundarbans are "one of the largest remaining areas of mangroves in the world" and home to "significant populations" of globally endangered animals.
Ghosh's acclaimed novel The Hungry Tide follows the stories of the people who inhabit the Sundarbans.