“Tagore is a constant in life ” --Shama Rahman | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 08, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 08, 2012

“Tagore is a constant in life ” --Shama Rahman

Shama Rahman in a Tagore ambience in Delhi.

The year 2011 was a watershed in the singing career of Shama Rahman, leading Rabindra Sangeet exponent. Here in New Delhi to perform in a series of concerts, Shama opened up about her latest project for UNESCO and her enduring passion for Tagore songs.The UNESCO coup had its genesis in the celebrations of Tagore's 150th birth anniversary, she explains. Approached by the UN agency to do five audio albums in the course of 2011, she says her immediate reaction was one of trepidation. “Any other artiste would have jumped at such an opportunity, but I thought it placed too much responsibility on me,” she says as she unwinds after a two hour journey from Dhaka. Finally, she says she agreed to sing for the album, with unstinting support from music director Durbadol Chattopadhyay.
She started recording in December 2010. The pace was hectic, she recalls, as she had to fit in a 12 hour day at the studios in Kolkata. Finally, after much shuttling between Kolkata and Delhi over a period of five months, her five albums were complete. “It was a really good feeling when I finished the albums. I was thrilled to be part of the celebrations of Gurudev's 150th birth anniversary and contribute at least a little to this momentous milestone,” she says.
In the event she was persuaded to sing for another four albums for UNESCO. Now she has nine albums of Tagore songs to her credit. Five albums on a variety of themes , titled “Puja”, “Prem”, Prakriti”, “Swadesh” and Bichitra”are drawn from Tagore's “Gitabitan”while four are derived from the bard's famous collection of poetry, “Gitanjali”.
The nine CDS were released in Paris on September 13, 2011 under the aegis of UNESCO. They have recently been unveiled in Delhi to coincide with her concerts and are slated for a Dhaka release shortly.
A day prior to the release of the albums in Paris, Shama had the rare opportunity to perform at a cultural programme organised by UNESCO at its headquarters in Paris. The glittering function was held to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Tagore, and in memory of famous poets Aimé Césaire and Pablo Neruda. Noted Indian singer Kavita Krishnamurthy and the Paris unit of Udichi Shilpi Goshthi also took part in the programme.
Among the well known personalities present at the concert were award-winning Indian actor-director Aparna Sen; singer Santanu Roy Chowdhury and some senior officials of UNESCO and embassies of Bangladesh and India.
“Through Tagore songs I can express all my feelings,” says Shama as she explains her fascination with Rabindra Sangeet. “Often I feel that the song have been written for me and that is a special feeling,” she adds.
While Shama is reluctant to talk about her future projects, one thing that she is sure of is that Tagore will remain a constant in her life through all its ups and downs.

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