Classical folk music guru Pandit Ramkanai Das passed away at a city hospital last night.
The 79-year-old Ekushey Padak recipient, who had been admitted to Metropolitan Hospital in Mohakhali a few days ago after suffering a brain stroke, breathed his last at 10:50pm, said his son Pinusen Das.
Born to Rashiklal Das and Dibyomoyee Das in Sunamganj in 1935, he was brought up in a family of music lovers.
His family has been preserving and practicing folk music for generations. His parents, grandfather Prakash Chandra Talukdar and great grandfather Ramcharan Talukdar were all renowned bards of the greater Sylhet region.
Following their footsteps, Ramkanai Das too made a remarkable contribution to Bangla music. Throughout his illustrious life, the Pandit dedicated himself to popularising folk music, especially the treasure trove of traditional Sylheti songs.
During his childhood, Das developed his sense of folk music from his parents. Later, he received classical music training from Kalimohan Chakrabarty and tabla lessons from Sri Shurendramohan Sutradhar.
In 1967, he started playing tabla and performing classical, semi-classical, modern and Nazrul's songs at Sylhet Radio.
Bondher Banshi Baje (2004), Shurodhhonir Kinarai (2005), Raganjali (2006), Oshomoye Dhorlam Pari (2006), Pagla Majhee (2010) are some of his notable audio albums.
His biography -- Shongeet O Amar Jibon -- was published in 2010. A year later, Surer Pothik, a documentary on the life and works of this music maestro, was released.
In recognition of his contribution to Bangla folk music, he received Ekushey Padak- 2014, Bangla Academy honorary fellowship- 2012, Meril-Prothom Alo Lifetime Achievement Award- 2013 and Rabindra Padak- 2000.
He left behind two sons and a daughter, grand children and a host of relatives and well-wishers. His elder sister Sushama Das too is a well-known folk artiste.