Celebrating the National Poet | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 21, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 21, 2008

Celebrating the National Poet

Jatiya Nazrul Sangeet Sammelan at Public Library

Choral rendition by artistes of Nazrul Sangeet Shilpi Parishad. And Sharmila Banerjee (C) and co-artistes dance at the opening Photo: STAR

May 19, 2008: Trying to find some breathing space in the Shawkat Osman Auditorium, Public Library on a sweltering summer eve was difficult as it was packed to the brim and more coming in -- must be encouraging for the organiser, Nazrul Sangeet Shilpi Parishad (NSSP). This ambiance works when listening to Nazrul's inspirational songs; case in point a charged choral rendition of Nabin aasha jaglo jey rey aaj.
However, to fully appreciate the classical finesse of a composition like Kaar banshori bajey Multani shurey (based on Raag Multani), one needs some peace and quiet. The editor of Arts & Entertainment, The Daily Star, Sadya Afreen Mallick (who is an accomplished Nazrul artiste herself) came up with a brilliant idea. "Come outside," read her text message. Unsure what she meant, I complied. As the summer breeze cooled things a bit, sitting under a shegun tree, on a full moon night (it was 'Buddha Purnima') we listened to the rest of the songs; the sound system was good enough.
Nazrul's songs epitomise romanticism and love like few can. The moon tinged with dull yellow or vivid silver, some mythical riverbank, shiuli trailed dawns...all have found their place in Nazrul Sangeet. Perhaps, the outdoors would be more fitting for a performance like this. Suhrawardy Udyan, cross the street from the National Poet's tomb, can be an option (there's that obvious hint of symbolism). Getting the Ministry of Cultural Affairs involved is also a good idea.
Back to Shawkat Osman Auditorium then. The three-day "Jatiya Nazrul Sangeet Sammelan" (National Nazrul Sangeet Convention) was inaugurated by veteran Nazrul artiste and exponent Sudhin Das.
Referring to holding the programme days before Nazrul's birth anniversary (May 25), noted singer Ferdausi Rahman, president of NSSP, said, "Celebrating Nazrul on particular days is not enough. Today is just as good as any, but the efforts have to be sincere."
In his speech, Sudhin Das addressed the distortion of Nazrul Sangeet. He said, "The current state of Nazrul Sangeet concerns me. When it comes to programmes on Nazrul Sangeet, all TV channels feature the few familiar faces. Promising young artistes rarely get exposure. Some are knowingly or unknowingly distorting the tunes. This trend of distortion has to stop."
Following the chief guest's speech, artistes of NSSP performed Nabin Aasha jaglo jey rey aaj and Tolomol tolomol padobhorey.
Alongside noted artistes, the three-day programme features upcoming Nazrul singers from different parts of the country.
Afsana Sarwar's rendition of Hey priyo tomar amar majhey biroher parabaar demonstrated the young singer's vocal maturity and refinement. The same can be said of Shamshad Begum Smirti's performance of Kaar banshori bajey Multani shurey and Jinia Zafreen's (from Bogra) interpretation of Jeno phirey nahi jaye.
Badrunnesa Dalia sang a kirtan, Shokhi ami na hoy maan korechhinu and Ismat Jahan rendered Chaand herichhey chaandmukh taar (based on Raag Bagesree).
The opening programme also featured a dance performance by Sharmila Banerjee. Nazrul artistes Sujit Mostafa and Dr. Nashid Kamal were the MCs.
NSSP's Nazrul Janmojayanti celebration ends today. Banglalink is the sponsor of the programme.

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