Of mysticism and melody | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 16, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 06:12 AM, November 16, 2019

Of mysticism and melody

The essence of Bangladeshi Baul songs met Pakistani Sufi songs and intimate Malian melody yesterday on the second day of the Dhaka International Folk Fest (DIFF) 2019, held at Army Stadium.

Bangladesh has a rich tradition of folk songs, with lyrics rooted in the vibrant Baul tradition of spirituality, mysticism and devotion. They also revolve around several other themes, like love and melancholy. Promising Bangladeshi singers Shafikul and Rabbi (from Bauliana) set off the second day’s proceedings with rendering Baul songs, including Mon Mojaila Orey Baula Gaan, Bondhu Tumi, Bhaaber-i Ghar-e, Ami To Bhala Na and Ekta Paan Chailam Paan Dile Na.

Prominent Baul Singer Kajol Dewan with his troupe started off with a breath-taking Murshidi song Amar Mon Pagla. The simple lyrics of a Matal Razzak composition depicts our transient presence in the world and it was a great treat to the music enthusiasts. The singer uttered frequent pukaar during his soulful performance of the song. With Khamak at hands, he thoroughly enthralled the crowd with his unique rendition of the songs like Tui Jibon Chhariya Gele,

Aamaay Eto Dukkho Dili and Piriter Bazar Bhalo Na. The synchronised musical arrangement for the live performances were embellished with the high-pitched flute piece, the rhythm of dhol and guitar especially when the instrumentalists styled the melody of Kirttan in the song Na Na Na Kodom Tolaay Ami Jabo Na.     

The Malian singer-musician Habib Koité and his band Bamada entertained the audience with his unmatched guitar recital and musical scores. Their transfixing performances have endeared them to an ever-growing audience all over the world. Koité is known primarily for his unique approach to playing guitar by tuning it on a pentatonic scale and on open strings. Other aspects of his melodies are more like the blues and flamenco.

Koité’s vocal style is intimate and relaxed, emphasising calm, moody singing rather than showcasing technical prowess. Members of Bamada accompanied him playing talking drum, guitar, bass, drum set, harmonica, violin, calabash and balafon. Koité composes and arranges all songs, singing in English, French, and Bambara for the band.

Renowned Bangladeshi artiste Fakir Shahabuddin entertained the packed audience with beautiful rendition of several folk songs at the event.

Connecting a number of musical souls with the ultimate, the show was concluded with the mesmerising performance by Hina Nasrullah from Pakistan. She began with a Bulleh Shah Kalam (melodic verse). The supremely talented Sufi singer, along with her ensemble, charmed the Dhaka music lovers with several unmatched compositions of Sultan Bahu and Shah Hussain,among others. She wove a garland of melodies with a speedy taan and soul searching pukaar while covering Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan scores. The artiste later captivated the crowd with Damadam Mast Qalandar, leaving a lasting impression of melodic bliss.

The Dhaka International Folk Festival, presented by Meril, powered by Dhaka Bank and organised by Sun Communications, concludes today featuring performances by Chandana Majumdar and Malek Kawal from Bangladesh, Sattuma from Russia and Junoon from Pakistan.

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