A purist Tagore singer | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 10, 2007 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 10, 2007

In conversation with Fahmida Khatun

A purist Tagore singer

Fahmida Khatun

Dr. Fahmida Khatun's debut album is all set to be released. The album, Jokhon Prothom Dhoreche Koli, an Impress Audio Vision Ltd presentation, featuring Rabindra Sangeet, was recorded in Dhaka, although some production work was done in Kolkata.
“My mother loved music, particularly Rabindra Sangeet,” recalls Fahmida.
“She wanted me to study it so I took lessons, as an extracurricular activity. I have never considered it a profession and still don't. My father wanted me to be a doctor but I wanted to be a teacher. Singing has always been my hobby, and my parents encouraged me.” She continues, “My husband shared my parents' view and enthusiastically inspired me to foster it. I have been studying under Tapan Bhattacharya for almost two decades now, and also trained under the late Nilufar Yasmeen.”
Fahmida is an accomplished scholar. She is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD). She has previously worked for BIDS, UNDP and USAID. She completed her doctorate in Economics from University College London, and has done research for numerous international organisations such as UNEP, FAO, DFID, Oxfam, UNDP, the World Bank and others. She has also taught Economics at universities in Bangladesh and the UK.
“I listen to Rabindra Sangeet, Nazrul Sangeet, folk and adhunik songs, and ghazals, though at times I don't understand all the words,” reveals Fahmida. “But I'm not very fond of Hindi movie songs.”
“My teacher Tapan Bhattachariya felt I have a gift that should get exposure, and that is how Jokhon Prothom Dhoreche Koli came about,” insists Fahmida. “The album includes some of my favourite songs; most of them are familiar songs.” The album will be launched after Eid.
Her next venture is an album comprising songs of the Poncho Kobi (Rabindranath, Nazrul, D.L. Roy, Atul Prasad and Rajnikant). “That is still a long way into the future. It is difficult to find time in my hectic schedule.”
“Music is a necessary refuge for human existence. Life can be difficult and sometimes you just need to be alone and have your feelings articulated. Then you recuperate and feel complete again,” explains Fahmida. “I was drawn to Rabindra Sangeet by its rich lyrical intensity.”
“Fusion music exposes a certain group of people to a whole aspect of music they wouldn't normally listen to. It is an intelligent innovation, as long as the differences are clearly identified,” says Fahmida on current musical trends. “This is a global world and you have to cater to the need of the time,” says the singer whose tastes and songs are purist to the core.

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