Shakila Zafar Ventures into New Territory with <i>Labonye Purno Pran</i>
Shakila Zafar has been an audience favourite for her melodious 'adhunik' (contemporary) Bangla songs for almost three decades. In 1979, after winning a classical music competition [by Bangladesh Betar], she stepped into the Bangladeshi music scene, and since then there has been no turning back.
The breaking news is that the celebrated singer is going to release her first solo album of Rabindra Sangeet on April 7. The album, titled “Labonye Purno Pran”, features 10 songs and was recorded in Kolkata [India], under the supervision of accomplished Tagore singer and exponent Chanchal Khan.
It should be mentioned that Shakila had recorded two Rabindra Sangeet duets with Kamal Ahmed [featured on the latter's album “Phalguner Din-e”] previously.
After decades of establishing herself as a major name in the adhunik Bangla music genre, what could have made Shakila venture into the realm of Rabindra Sangeet? According to the artiste: “An incessant urge to render the timeless classics created by Rabindranath Tagore. My fascination with Rabindra Sangeet goes back to my childhood -- thanks to my maternal uncle, Manjur Ahmed. He used to sing Rabindra Sangeet on Chittagong Radio. I used to dream that one day I'd sing these songs myself.”
However, even for someone who is as popular as Shakila Zafar, releasing and marketing an album of Rabindra Sangeet did take considerable effort. “It all started after a private TV channel aired my rendition of some Rabindra Sangeet. I received a lot of encouragement and compliments. After a while, G Series and Agnibeena offered to market and distribute a solo album of Rabindra Sangeet featuring me,” says Shakila. “The album took a lot of work; more than what I had anticipated at the outset. Working on these songs has also been a learning experience for me. I had to literally learn eight of the ten songs on the album,” she adds.
“For all my recognition as an adhunik singer, I know there's a risk that some critics might say my attempt at Rabindra Sangeet rendition has been sloppy. So the most important task, for me, was to sing these songs as accurately as I could. I had given it my all,” she says.
The upcoming album features “Labonye Purno Pran” [the titular song], “Ektuku Chhoa Lagey”, “Ogo Mor Chiro Ochena Porodeshi”, “Shiuli Phool” and other Rabindra Sangeet.
The album is being sponsored by Eastern Bank Limited.