Kalpona Anam’s ‘Swadesh Amar’ pays a beautiful tribute to Nazrul
Tell us a bit about your new album.
For the last few years, I have been working to include older and less popular songs of Nazrul in my albums. These lesser known songs were released as part of a series with 12 volumes till 2019. The thirteenth volume, my recent album, "Swadesh Amar" features 10 lesser-known Nazrul songs.
"Champa Parul Juthi Tagor Chameli", "Jago Jogmaya Jago Mrinmoyi", "Swadesh Amar Janina Tomar", "Esho Priyo Aro Kache" and "Aj Shorote Ananda Dhore Na Re" among others are featured in the album. While singing the song, "Champa Parul Juthi Tagor Chameli", no original source of the conventional melody was found. Subsequently, I tried to sing it following the standard tune that was available before 1942.
You and Khairul Anam Shakil have been jointly working with the newer generation of Nazrul artistes for a long time. Share that experience with us.
There are many talented artistes across the country. Unfortunately, due to a lack of patronage and media coverage, they are not fully recognised. As a teacher, I come across talented students every year in Chhayanaut and also through our organisation Bangladesh Nazrul Sangeet Sangstha.
Khairul Anam Shakil and I have supervised and launched six albums in October 2019, under the banner of Arunranjani, which garnered a lot of praise from the audience. 46 talented artistes from across the country were featured in the albums. We continue to help promising artistes through this initiative.
What are you currently working on?
Last year, we planned another initiative to introduce Nazrul Sangeet in the original and standard tunes, sung by 110 artistes from Bangladesh and West Bengal jointly. Multiple renowned artistes, such as Ferdous Ara, Fatema Tuz Zohora, Yasmin Mushtari, Nashid Kamal, Shaheen Samad, Dalia Nausheen, and many others from Bangladesh are participating in this venture. Haimanti Sukla, Srikanto Acharya, Monomoy Bhattacharya, Sriradha Bandopadhyay and Iman Chakraborty among others from West Bengal have joined this initiative. When the pandemic subsides, we plan to host a two-day festival on December 17 and 18 to launch the collection of 110 songs this year.
What are some of the initiatives you took to spread Nazrul's ideologies and learnings among the younger generation of singers?
Through Chhayanaut, each year, students are fortunate to learn and know more about Nazrul, among other eminent personalities. Unfortunately, their learnings are mostly Dhaka-centric. Outside the capital, most students or enthusiasts are not aware of the methodologies, tune, notation and style of Nazrul Sangeet. Our organisation, Bangladesh Nazrul Sangeet Sangstha, has been working tirelessly to hold workshops and classes outside Dhaka, around the country.
Thanks to technological advancement, we connect with the students and share all necessary information about the songs, notations, techniques, references, and methodologies among other important materials. We already covered 28 districts through this initiative before the pandemic hit. We regularly had virtual classes in 64 districts, throughout the pandemic. We are dedicated to sharing our knowledge and expertise with the younger generation. Anyone from any part of the world can connect with us and share their knowledge about Nazrul Sangeet and many of the poet's other works.