Music trends: Then and now | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 19, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 19, 2008

Music trends: Then and now

In conversation with Andrew Kishore

Yet another National Award for the seasoned singer Andrew Kishore. This time for the song Eito jibon from the film Shajghar (released in 2007). This is the seventh National Film Award for Kishore in the best playback singer category.
How does it feel? "Awards are always encouraging. But, it's not the same as winning the first National Award in 1982 for the song Hairey manush rangin fanush from the film Baro bhalo lok chhilo. Memories of the first award always remain etched in the memory," he said.
Andrew Kishore has been doing playbacks since late 1970s. Many of the songs recorded by Kishore like Hairey manush, Daak diyachhen doyal amarey, Amar shara deho kheyo go mati, Amar buker moddhey khaney and Amar babar mukhey prothom jedin are evergreen hits.
Why is he infrequent with songs nowadays? "I'm more selective now than I was initially. Also, many directors are reluctant to approach me considering that my remunerations are high," Kishore said.
Commenting on the current music scenario of the film industry, the singer says, "There are ups and downs everywhere. The current scenario is better than a few years back, but cannot be compared with the golden era (1960s to '80s). There is a dearth of able lyricists, composers and singers these days. Which is why we don't get that many memorable songs these days."
Andrew Kishore blames the involvement of uneducated people in the film industry as well as the socio-political turmoil for the fall of film music. According to him, the standard of film music can only improve when creative, educated lyricists maintain a rapport with talented composers and the singer records the composition after rehearsals.
"But, the situation is exactly the opposite. Actually these days everyone wants the shortcut. To survive through difficult times, people concentrate more on making money, than art," he said.
On the current trend in recording, Kishore said, "Now a composer comes up with a tune without any lyrics. And listening to the tune, the lyricist instantly writes something and hands it over to the singer. The singer, without much preparation, records the song. The whole process takes only a few hours. Great songs don't happen like this."
Andrew Kishore started taking music lessons at the age of six under Abdul Aziz Bachchu, the then chief music director of Rajshahi Betar. After the Liberation War, Kishore was enlisted in the radio in Nazrul, Tagore, modern, folk and patriotic songs categories.
In 1977, Andrew Kishore came to Dhaka to participate in a talent hunt project initiated by Shahidul Islam, the then director of Transcription Service of Bangladesh Betar. At the programme, Kishore rendered the song Soheli o soheli, tuned by renowned composer Debu Bhattacharya. But, the song did not catch on.
"Later, A.H.M. Rafique took me to popular music composer Alam Khan. It is Alam Khan who gave me a break in the film industry. Composed by Alam Khan, Ek chor jay choley from the film Protikkha was my first hit playback. One after another he gave me opportunities to record diverse songs such as Da ak diyachhen doyal amarey and Bhalobeshey gelam shudhu," Kishore said.
What's his take of the ongoing talent hunts? "Each year many new voices are introduced through these projects, but my question is what is the output or impact of these programmes? Where do these new voices go after excelling at these competitions? Unless they have talent and know the basics of music, they won't survive. In fact, these talent hunts are basically a product of commercialisation of the media.
"But the positive aspect of these talent hunts is that through these newcomers are getting a window of opportunity. Moreover, songs of yesteryears are rendered at these programmes by the aspiring artistes -- making these evergreen songs popular among the young, who are influenced by the western culture," said the seasoned singer.

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