Treasure trove of Nazrul Sangeet
Leading cultural school Chhayanaut plays a significant role in dispersing the rich heritage of our music, dance, education and culture. In a vibrant adda with The Daily Star, promising Nazrul Sangeet artistes and teachers of Chhayanaut --Bizon Chandra Mistry, Mahmudul Hasan, Afsana Runa, Shrabanti Dhar, Mohit Khan, Susmita Debnath Suchi and Nahiyan Durdana Shuchi – shared their views on the rich legacy of Nazrul Sangeet, its practice among the young artistes, and the prospects and existing problems of diffusing the musical gifts created by our National Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam.
“Practising and performing the musical creations of Kazi Nazrul Islam is our daily affair. From the essence of dhrupad to the songs of the labourers, Kazi Nazrul Islam enriched all the genres of Bangla music. Say for example, the song “Dao Shourjo Dao Dhoirjo” evokes feelings of peace while also portraying the basics of dhrupad. Again, his folk songs like the bhatiali number “Poddar Dheu Rey” transports us to riverine Bengal. Kazi Nazrul Islam composed raga-based songs, created distinctive raga and taal, and he is the most successful composer of Bangla ghazal. Once he was requested to compose a song on indigenous people after which he was not found for a week. Later, he came with a new composition after his experience of closely observing the culture of the indigenous people. He developed all the aspects of Bangla songs hinting love, melancholy, devotion, Islamic songs, Hindu mythology, kirtan and what not. Who dares to order Lord Shiva saying “Bagh Chhal Porihoro, Dhoro Notoboro Besh, Poro Nipo Mala”? I cannot find another song like “Matir Protima Pujish Tora, Maa Ke Tora Pujish Na” in Bangla music,” said Bizon Chandra Mistry.
Nazrul singer Mahmudul Hasan is optimistic about the practice of Nazrul Sangeet amongst the young artistes. “We are teaching them at Chhayanaut. Apart from that we conduct district-level Nazrul Sangeet workshops. Young artistes and their teachers are very glad to be a part of our initiative. They are interested in learning the lesser-known songs. We hope young singers will be enriched enough after the workshops, as we follow the proper melodies and swaralipi under our tutelage,” said Hasan.
Susmita Debnath Suchi mentioned, “If a learner is equipped with the lesson of Raga sangeet, s/he can render the raga-based songs properly. The students are equally interested in learning classical music.”
On popularising Nazruls' timeless compositions, Afsana Runa said, “Proper training and research has enabled young singers to take music seriously.”
“We are holding a countrywide Nazrul Sangeet competition on behalf of Chhayanaut and Bangladesh Nazrul Sangeet Sangstha. We will bring out CDs for the best singers. This will hopefully encourage them to focus on the genre,” added Mahmudul Hasan.
“There are so many talents scattered across Bangladesh. I think the mass-media has an important role to promote them, as well as popularise Nazrul Sangeet through proper exposure,” asserted Bizon Mistry.
The learning of music follows guru-shishya parampara. Mohit Khan, who believes self-confidence is the secret to perform well, said, “Without proper practice, confidence cannot be attained. Performing well requires consecutive rehearsals with instrumentalists. With regard to maintaining guru-shishya parampara and giving space and platform for the young artistes, Chhayanaut plays a pivotal role. We were students at Chhayanaut, and now we are teachers, giving our students the same lessons. Chhayanaut teaches us not only music, but also the culture of country, and emphasises on how to become a good, well-rounded human being.”
Nahiyan Durdana Shuchi said, “We regard our responsibilities with diligence, but solemnly. Many of our teachers don't accept remuneration from Chhayanaut as it is not a commercial institution. While we are enlisted singers in BTV and Bangladesh Betar (Radio), but we seldom receive calls to perform on BTV. ”
“Nepotism is a problem in the media. Producers are not musically sound, so deserving artistes rarely find platforms,” said Bizon Mistry.
On releasing Nazrul Sangeet albums through record labels, Shrabanti Dhar said, “Popular music labels are not interested to bring out Nazrul Sangeet albums due to profitability. Chhayanaut is releasing Nazrul Sangeet albums sung by promising artistes.”