The universal language that is music
Shurer Dhara and Gandharva Loka Orchestra jointly held a musical soiree, titled "Songs of the Soul" at Harmony Hall of Bangabandhu Interna-tional Convention Centre (BICC) on December 13.
Artistes of Shurer Dhara and Gandharva Loka Orchestra performed songs of Tagore and Sri Chinmoy -- two Bengalis who earned wide recognition in the west.
Rabindranath Tagore -- a poet, novelist, musician, and playwright -- reshaped Bengali literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As author of "Gitanjali" he was the first Asian to win the Nobel Prize (in Literature, 1913). This recognition helped introduce Bengali literature to the world.
Sri Chinmoy -- originally from Chittagong -- wrote and composed a staggering number of 22000 songs. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1964. He was best known for holding public events on the theme of inner peace and world harmony (such as concerts, meditations, and races). A spiritual teacher, lyricist and artiste, Chinmoy's teachings emphasise love for God, daily meditation, service to the world, and religious tolerance (a view that "all faiths" are essentially divine).
The programme started with a choral rendition of "Anandalokey Mangala-lokey" by Rezwana Choudhury Banna and eight disadvantaged children. A performance by artistes of the Gandharva Loka Orchestra -- "Tumi Alo/ Alor Shathey/ Alo Alo Alo" (written by Sri Chinmoy) -- followed.
A number of both western and eastern instruments like guitar, octopad, cello, mandolin, violin, Irish flute, clarinet, sarod, esraj, banshi, harmonium tabla and more were in perfect harmony, producing sounds with variation: from low to high, slow to fast -- touching the souls of the audience.
A hundred and fifteen singers and musicians -- all dressed in blue -- performing at a stretch was truly a vision of musical grandeur.
Artistes and instrumentalists from Shurer Dhara offered a number of songs including "Alo Amar Alo", "Shanti Karo Borishano", "Bhengeychho Duaar", "Aaji Shubho Diney", "Aguner Paroshmoni", "Ondhokarer Utsho" and "Aloker Ei Jharnadharaye."
Rezwana Choudhury Banna performed a duet "Shokatorey Oi Kandichhey" with Renata Dessallien, resident representative of UNDP in Bangladesh. Later Banna rendered a solo "Durey Kothaye".
The 45-member Gandharva Loka Orchestra -- featuring musicians and singers from USA, Canada, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France, UK, Scotland, Netherlands, Columbia, Brazil, Poland, Slovakia, Macedonia, Iceland and New Zealand -- performed songs of Sri Chinmoy Songs on the occasion. Renditions included "Tomar-o Paney", "Shonali Jyotir" and "Oi Akashey".
Prior to the renditions, Professor Zillur Rahman Siddiqui spoke on Rabindranath Tagore. Rezwana Choudhury Banna introduced Gandharva Loka Orchestra to the audience. The full-house audience included diplomats, cultural personalities and other dignitaries.
Vilupti Barrineau and Nameera Nuzhat jointly anchored the programme while Rezwana Choudhury Banna and Renata Dessallien oversaw the total arrangement.
ATN Bangla, Prothom Alo and The Daily Star were media partners of the event.
Though the arrangement was much acclaimed, some in the audience felt that that repertoire could have included fewer songs -- making the programme compact.