Lost gems found in “Haramanik” | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 25, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 25, 2010

Music Review

Lost gems found in “Haramanik”


Cover of the album.

Laser Vision recently produced an audio album, titled “Haramanik”, featuring five folk songs and three instrumental recitals (one on sitar and two folk compositions on surashree, an instrument devised by Dr. Mridulkanti Chakrobarti).
Dr. Chakrobarti has recorded the folk numbers -- “Mon Tui Dekhna Khujey Dehar Majhey”, “Tomarey Dekhibar Mon-e Chay”, “Ami Kichhu Noy”, “Ami Kothaye Pabo Tarey” and “Amar Bondhu Doyamoy” written and composed by five mystic bards Shah Abdul Karim, Amiruddin, Hason Raja, Gogon Horkora and Radharamon Dutta respectively.
Reenat Fauzia has recorded three dhun on sitar -- based on Raga Bhatiali, Mishra Khamaj and Mishra Pahadi, while Dr. Chakrobarti has done two instrumental recitals -- Palli and Bhatiali on surashree, for the album.
The vocal and instrumental performances come alternatively on the album. Starting with the intense but light melodic vocals by Dr. Chakrobarti, the album wraps up with the symphony of Pahadi dhun on sitar by Reenat Fauzia.
The mingling of folk and classical tunes on the album is likely to appease a music connoisseur. Regional or local intonations in the folk songs (by Dr. Chakrobarti) make them sound more authentic.
On sitar, one of the major classical instruments, Fauzia's immaculate performance of Raga Mishra Khamaj offers a pleasant surprise -- it ventures into the realm of Raga Kirtananga.
Surashree is the brainchild of Dr. Chakrobarti, the first Professor at the department of Music, Dhaka University. It is actually a modern and refined form of tat instrument that resembles dotara. With steel brass and four strings --'Ma', 'Sa', 'Pa', 'Re' -- surashree produces melodic tunes and can be an ideal substitute for tanpura. Not only folk, but also Rabindra Sangeet, Adhunik and even classical tunes can be played on surashree.
Dr. Chakrobarti has played a folk tune based on the song “Boli O Nanodi Aar Dumutho Chal Pheley Dey Haritey” (belongs to the Jhumur genre of Birbhum, West Bengal) on surashree. The Santali element is noticeably audible in the composition, while his Bhatiali tune definitely summons the song “Mon Majhi Tor Boitha Ney Re”.
“The combination of vocal and instrumental performances in an album is rather rare. Eminent Tagore artiste Suchitra Mitra and renowned sarod player Ustad Amjad Ali Khan recorded an album like this in the mid 1990s. Legendary composer V. Balsara on piano and iconic singer Hemanta Mukherjee were featured once in an album as well,” Dr. Chakrobarti informed.
Hossein Ali on banshi; Mokaddes Ali on dotara; Anirban, Sanjib and Sabuj on tabla; Dipan Sarkar on keyboard and guitar instrumentally accompanied the artiste duo on the album. Dipan Sarkar recorded the tracks and engineered the sound, while Sheikh Sadi Khan was in charge of overall management.
Born in Sunamganj in 1955, Dr. Mridulkanti Chakrobarti completed his B. Mus (1980) and M. Mus (1982) with distinction from Visva Bharati University, Shantiniketan, West Bengal. He earned his PhD from the same university, for his dissertation on “Trend of Bengali Music and Rabindra Sangeet on Folk Tune (Eighth to Twentieth century)”. Dr. Chakrobarty has written several research-based books on music and music composers.
Reenat Fauzia is the granddaughter of Ustad Ayet Ali Khan, younger brother of the internationally famed Ustad Alauddin Ali Khan. Her mother Fauzia Khan is a renowned singer of Bangladesh. Noted singers Farida Yasmin, Nilufar Yasmin and Sabina Yasmin are her aunts. She had her initial lessons on sitar from her cousin Ustad Shahadat Hossain Khan. Her formal training was under Ustad Khurshid Khan, also a cousin. She also completed a certificate course on classical music from Chhayanaut. Reenat Fauzia is now working as an Associate Professor at Home Economics College, Dhaka.

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