The second day of the Dhaka International Folk Festival 2017 at the capital's Army Stadium will see four artistes and groups making their debut on the festival stage, and one powerhouse duo that has been one of the biggest audience favourites in the event's history.
Upcoming Bangladeshi folk band Baula will be the opening band of the festival. (They were mistakenly listed as the first day's performers in yesterday's coverage of the festival on the Arts & Entertainment page; we regret the unintentional error). The trio of Prakash Banik, Joy Sinha and Mainuddin Khan Sayonto began their journey in 2013 as a group, and has gained popularity among listeners. Their simplistic musical arrangements often consisting only of a flute, a guitar and a banjo - bring out the flavours of Bangladesh's folk music.
Nepalese folk instrumental band Kutumba will bring the Himalayan breeze to the Dhaka audience, with their brand of authentic sounds on their debut performance in the festival. The Kathmandu-based band exclusively uses Nepalese traditional instruments, some of which may be familiar to the Bangladeshi listeners – like the bamboo flute, sarangi, madal, sankha and sehnai, while others are unique to the mountainside nation – like the singing bowl, rain stick and Yak bell. They are arguably Nepal's most popular musical group internationally, and are credited with playing a key role in dissemination of Nepal's unique cultural diversity through their music.
Mekaal Hasan Band is also an internationally-renowned group, bringing Pakistan's signature blend of Sufi and rock music together. The band's leader, Mekaal Hasan, is a Berklee graduate and has fused his world musical influences with his roots to create a sound that has resonated with audiences everywhere. The band's energetic performance and complex musical arrangement has won them an array of fans in the subcontinent and beyond. The Lahore-based band's current lineup consists of three reputed Indian musicians – Gino Banks, Sheldon D'Silva and Sharmishtha Chatterjee, making it a one-of-a-kind Indo-Pak band.
Seasoned Bangladeshi folk singer Shahjahan Munshi will also perform for the first time at the grand festival today. With a singing career spanning five decades, the artiste from Manikganj has carved a niche for himself with his sonorous and soulful vocals. Despite losing his eyesight at the age of 14, his music has touched the souls of many – in the country and beyond. In the early '90s, he traveled to France on invitation from the Alliance Francaise de Dhaka, and recorded an album there titled “Chants Mystiques Des Bauls du Bangladesh”, and performed in concerts.
One of the most anticipated performances of the night are the Indian Sufi singing sisters Jyoti and Sultana Nooran, known best as the Nooran Sisters. Born in the Punjabi family of prominent Sufi singer Bibi Nooran, the duo discovered their musical calling as children, and has become one of the most popular Sufi groups in India. Their performance last year at the same stage was a highlight of the festival, where the sisters complemented each other in a hypnotic display of powerful vocals and passion.
The third edition of the Dhaka International Folk Festival is presented by Meril, powered by Dhaka Bank and organised by Sun Events. The festival, which has free entry for audiences who have completed online registration, will be live-streamed on the festival's Facebook page and YouTube channel.