Songs of the soul return | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 15, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:39 AM, November 15, 2019

Songs of the soul return

Folk Fest 2019 inaugurated

Thousands of folk music aficionados thronged Dhaka’s Army Stadium yesterday, as the fifth edition of the Dhaka International Folk Festival (DIFF) 2019 was inaugurated.

The festival was opened by Bangladeshi Manipuri dancer Samina Husain Prema and her dance troupe -- Bhabna Nritya Dol -- showcasing mesmerising dance performances set to popular folk songs, including “Ami Robona Robona Ghar-e” and “Kon Gaang-e Ailo Pani”. The dancers incorporated three dance styles and performed with dhol, sticks and instrumental music. 

Next on stage was Chveneburebi, a Georgian folk music band known for its rich tradition of homophonic music. The band members started off with a West Georgian folk melody. These folk musicians swayed Dhakaiites with pulsating beats produced from various western and Georgian instruments. At the core of a wide-ranging musical project, the band’s soundscape conjures symbolic spaces of unmatched immensity. Their repertoire included “Shen Alazano” (Tushetian Song) by Lela Nakeuri and the Chveneburebi members.

They were followed by renowned Bangladeshi folk singer Shah Alam Sarkar, whose rendition of diverse folk songs kept the audience rapt. Listeners across the stadium were amused with his witty words in a pala styled performance. 

Bigger rounds of applause were reserved for the night’s ultimate performer the Punjabi pop sensation Daler Mehndi, who took off the musical flight and hyped tens of thousands in the audience with his unique styled rhythm and melodies. 

Daler Mehndi, accompanied by several instrumentalists, performed super hits like “Ho Jayegi Balle Balle”, “Kudiyan Shehar Diyan”, “Dardi Rab Rab Kardi”, “Na Na Na Na Re” and more. The Indian singer, songwriter, author and record producer also performed Bolo Ta Ra Ra Ra, O Mera Babu Chhal Chhabina, Koi Ladki Hain among others, which are popular among audiences around the region. He chose to finish off his portion of the Folk Fest with the famous “Damadam Mast Kalandar”, leaving the audience in a magical trance as they ended the first night of DIFF 2019.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen attended the opening ceremony as chief guest, while Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud inaugurated the festival. Chairman of Sun Foundation Anjan Chowdhury and Dhaka Bank Founder Chairman Abdul Hai Sarker delivered welcome addresses. 

In his speech, Anjan Chowdhury thanked all those concerned for successfully organising the festival. 

“Folk music is a fabulous expression of our life’s love, laughter and pathos,” Abdul Momen said in his speech, adding, “We feel the power of folk music in our souls. I thank the organisers for arranging festival like this as it evokes the music of our roots.”

The Dhaka International Folk Festival, presented by Meril, powered by Dhaka Bank and organised by Sun Communications, continues today and tomorrow, featuring an array of performers from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Mali and Russia.  

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