Music for a spellbound audience
Outside, the season's first hailstorm was on in full swing. Inside the auditorium, the audience paid little heed to the weather as the captivating music of Bhawaiya songs kept them spellbound until the sky cleared up. Bhawaiya songs, a soulful expression of working people from the northern area of our country and some parts of West Bengal, India, express the love and separation of lovers as well as spiritual themes. The genre is popular for its melancholic notes and unique style.
A fortnight-long workshop on Bhawaiya was conducted recently under the aegis of the Training Department of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy. The certificate-giving programme was held on March 29 at the music and dance auditorium of BSA. A vibrant cultural programme, featuring Bhawaiya songs by the participants, was also held.
Humayun Kabir Khan, joint secretary in the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, was the chief guest at the event and distributed certificates among the 52 participants. Presided over by the acting director general of BSA, Bikash Kishore Das, eminent Bhawaiya singer and exponent Nurul Islam Zahid; artiste Nadira Begum; deputy secretary of BSA and director of the Training Department, MA Mannan Hawladar and former director general of BSA, Bhuyia Shafiqul Islam spoke at the event. Nurul Islam Zahid and Nadira Begum were the workshop conductors. Among the participants were Anima Mukti Gomes and Shafiul Alam Raza who shared their experiences at the workshop.
The speakers expressed their satisfaction at the organisation of a workshop on Bhawaiya the first of its kind in Shilpakala Academy. However, the participants called for more extensive training on the genre, as a fortnight- long workshop was insufficient. The workshop was an initiative by the former DG, noted some of the speakers.
The participants, many of whom were not from the northern districts, rendered several Bhawaiya songs in the evening, winning much applause from the audience. "It is misleading to say that only local people from particular districts can be accomplished Bhawaiya singers. If Bengali artiste can sing songs in other languages such as English, why not Bhawaiya?," questioned Nurul Islam Zahid, the writer of more than 3,000 songs on the genre.
The artistes rendered variations of Bhawaiya including 'Chatka', a rhythmic song with light-hearted lyrics; 'Chitan Bhawayia,' songs depicting the extreme grief of separation from a lover, 'Khiral Bhawaiya' songs with lyrics on river, 'Dighal Nasha,' Bhawayia songs that end with an extended note, and more. Palash Ranjan Loho, Maria Munni, Inam Ahmed, Mahiuzzaman Shamim, Suma Rani Roy, Anima Mukti Gomes, Shafiul Alam Raja and others performed at the event. The function also featured duets and choral renditions by the artistes.
Mohammad Solaiman on dotara, Delwar Hossain Khan on tabla, Muniru-zzaman on flute, Rafique Hosain Khan on dhol and Nurul Islam on keyboard accompanied the artistes.