Homage to Kanai Lal Shil | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 01, 2007 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 01, 2007

Homage to Kanai Lal Shil

Discussion and musical soiree at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy


Bipul Bhattacharya sings at the programmePhoto: STAR

National Music and Dance Centre of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy organised a three day-long commemorative programme on three music maestros of our country. On the second day of the programme on October 30th, a discussion and musical soiree on lyricist, composer and collector of folk songs, Kanai Lal Shil (1895-1974) was held at the National Music and Dance Centre auditorium.
Poet Asad Chowdhury and renowned folk singer M. A. Khaleque spoke on the folk maestro's life and work at the discussion. Kamrul Hasan ndc, director general of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, presided over the programme.
M. A. Khaleque said, "I started my music career as an adhunik singer but when I met Kanai Lal Shil, I was inspired by him and took to folk songs". Sunil Chandra Das, director, National Music and Dance Centre, also spoke at the programme.
Later, a musical soiree was held. Artistes from Kanai Lal Shil Shilpi Goshthi, among others, performed popular songs composed by the exponent that included Kolshi kankhey jol, Oi na rupey nayan diya, Diba nishi bajay go banshi and more. Kanai Lal's sons Ashutosh Shil and Abinash Chandra Shil entertained the audience with the tunes of Amar golar haar and Nishithey jaiyyo phoolo boney on dotara.
Kanai Lal Shil was born on September 5, 1895 in the village of Kairal, Faridpur district. He started learning violin from Basanta Kumar Shil at the age of eight. He travelled across Bengal with jatra troupes and musical groups, performing gazir gaan, kobigan and kirtan. At the shrine of saint Dagu Shah of Vikramapura, he heard someone playing the dotara and was deeply moved. Later, he learnt dotara from Tara Chand Sarkar.
In 1930, Pollikobi Jasim Uddin took him to Kolkata. In Kolkata he met Abbas Uddin Ahmed, who encouraged him to collect and compose folk songs. Abbas Uddin also helped Kanai Lal to join the Gramophone Company, where the musician played the dotara as sangat to the songs of Kazi Nazrul Islam. He also played the dotara at the Kolkata centre of All India Radio as a regular artiste.
While working at the Gramophone Company, Shil became acquainted with legendary sitar player Ustad Enayet Khan, who guided him in playing classical music on the dotara.
After the partition of India in 1947, Shil moved to Dhaka, where, he joined the Dhaka centre of Radio Pakistan as a staff artiste. Here he continued till his last days.
Kanai Lal Shil both collected and composed lyrics. He also composed the tunes of many songs, several of which were recorded by eminent artistes such as S. D. Barman and Abbas Uddin, Abdul Alim, Abdul Latif, Bedaruddin Ahmad, Ferdousi Rahman, Neena Hamid and more.
He was posthumously awarded the Ekushey Padak in 1987.

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