A master inspirator sings live
Eminent Indian singer Pratul Mukhopadhyay's musical journey started nearly four decades ago with an aim -- after all discussions and arguments have ended, music will stand for humanity.
Invited by Bangladesh Udichi Shilpi Goshthi to attend the recently ended Satyen Sen Gano Sangeet Utshab, Mukhopadhyay came to Dhaka on March 26. It is his first visit to Bangladesh though this was his ancestors' home, according to the artiste.
Over the last few days Mukhopadhyay attended a few programmes.
In addition to the festival, Udichi also organised a musical programme featuring solo performance by the artiste on March 29 at the Main Auditorium of National Museum. It was a memorable evening for both him and his fans, as it was Mukhopadhyay's first solo performance in Bangladesh.
The programme featured renditions of 20 songs by the famed singer-songwriter-composer. Throughout the two-hour concert, Mukhopadhyay's vocals worked magic on the full-house audience. The response from the audience moved him to tears. "I'll leave Bangladesh with an impression that after my departure my songs would inspire more people," he said.
Mukhopadhyay's gestures, humour and strength at the programme proved that even at the age of 68, the artiste could still engage an audience like, if not better, than performers half his age. Mukhopadhyay's signature style involves only his vocals and no instrument -- setting it apart from conventional music.
His songs are captivating as they reflect a diverse range of human emotions and sensitivity. His compositions blend myriad styles -- from folk to santali, western to Japanese.
In the late 1960s, he was known as a singer of the masses, creating revolutionary songs. Today one finds it difficult to classify his songs and place them within the bounds of rigid definition. They stand apart and form a class by themselves.
In between singing, the artiste chatted with the audience on several issues. "I consider myself an orator who sings in between," joked Mukhopadhayay.
Of the songs performed at the programme, most are adaptations of poems while some were written by Mukhopadhayay. He started with "Manush," an adaptation of Birendra Chattopadhyay's poem.
The artiste is best known to Bangladeshis for such songs as "Ami Bangla-e Gaan Gai," "Dinga Bhashao Shagorey," "Chhokra Cha[n]d" and "Alu Bechho Chhola Bechho." He rendered these as well as other well-known numbers such as "Phiriye Dao," "Slogan," "Ekushey February," "Charlie Chaplin" and "Giyechhilam Pakhir Hatey."
Mukhopadhyay wrapped up his performance with "Ami Bangla-e Gaan Gai," which he wrote on Pahela Baishakh in the Bengali year 1400.