Celebrating the golden jubilee of Bangladesh's independence, London-based cultural organisation Mukto Arts will hold a five-day Bhatiali music festival. The event, titled "A Week for Bhatiali of Bengal", will feature essays on Bhatiali's heritage by researchers, Bhatiali songs and social media premiere of a short film, along with live painting and music.
John Biggs, Executive Mayor of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, will inaugurate the virtual festival, which begins on April 29, in association with the National Lottery Heritage Fund of England. Following John Biggs' inaugural address, Dr Simon Zakaria, one of the leading folk researchers in Bangladesh, will present his article accompanying musical presentation by artistes Pranes Som and Nabarupa Mukherjee.
On the second day of the festival, an online exhibition of short films will take, based on a story by Bhatiali, blended with a live painting by British-Bangladeshi artist Mukta Chakraborty. On the third day of the festival, there will be essays by folk music artist and writer Guru Prasad Hom Chowdhury and Humayun Azam Rewaz. There will also be stories and songs by British Bangladeshi young diaspora Shuchismita Maitra Ahna and Barsha Chowdhury and a performance by Ripon Sarkar, a young Bangladeshi artist from Santiniketan. On the fourth day of the festival, there will be a presentation of essays and story songs written by Sumon Kumar Das, a young folk researcher and writer from Bangladesh. There will also be a musical performance of Bhatiali music by Rishi Chakraborty, a young artist from Kolkata. On the last day of the festival, 3rd May, there will be a presentation of an essay by Dr Saidur Rahman, a renowned folk researcher of Bangladesh and Professor of Drama at Dhaka University, as well as the silence of Pranaye Bhatiali music by British Bangladeshi musician Amit Dey.
Asim Chakraborty, a founding member of Mukta Arts and Creative Director of the organisation, said that Mukta Arts has been working to preserve and present Bangladesh's cultural heritage since its inception. He further said that Bhatiali is one of the significant aspects of Bangladesh's cultural heritage, which is disappearing due to negligence. "We want to present the tradition and musical expression of ancient Bhatiali music of Bengal to the outside world through the writings of renowned authors and researchers of Bangladesh, and the music and paintings of London," he added.