Salma Moon, the winner of the first place prize of the Lyrics contest, was honored beyond her words. “I want to express the sincerest of gratitude to The Daily Star and Standard Chartered Bangladesh for allowing me such an opportunity. People rarely find value in culture and literature these days, so all these hidden talents being awarded so honorably will encourage the young generation further,” stated Salma Moon. She got to know of Celebrating Life through Hirendranath Mridha, the third-place winner of this year's Lyrics contest. Regarding the theme of Celebrating Life 2017, which was 'Diversity in Bangladesh', Salma Moon added, “Through my song, I tried to bring out the diverse beauty of Bangladesh; from the sea to the land. I have always found inspiration through nature and the uniqueness that exists in nature.”
The first runner-up, Zahangir Alam, was thrilled about his achievement, and he thanked the organizers as well for hosting such a platform. “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life of our souls,” he stated the famous quote of Pablo Picasso to express his approach to lyric-writing. “I will keep trying my best to clear the darkness in people's minds and souls through my songs,” he added. He shared a small personal note when talking about his inspirations, “I personally know Mohammad Rafiquzzaman and Abdullah Abu Sayeed Sir. Even though they call me 'mad' at times, I respect them the most, and have always found encouragement from their love and dedication.” Zahangir Alam has completed a four-year course on Nazrul Sangeet from Chhayanaut.
Hirendranath Mridha was equally thrilled at being the second runner-up of the Lyrics contest of Celebrating Life 2017. “I am a regular reader of The Daily Star and regularly involve myself in writing as well,” he stated, “Through my song-writing I attempt to highlight the variety of ethnicity and culture present in Bangladesh, as well as the six seasons, which are the epitome of diversity, in my opinion.” He also named Mohammad Rafiquzzaman as his primary source of inspiration, deeming the renowned lyricist to be a great teacher. “I would also like to mention the ever-respected Abid Anwar Sir, who has always given me ample directions in lyric-writing. I couldn't have achieved this award without their love and support,” added Hirendranath Mridha.
The words of gratitude and appreciation from the three winners of Celebrating Life 2017 Lyrics Contest are a clear indication of how successful Celebrating Life has been through its 10-year long journey. There have been previous winners who went to receive opportunities from abroad and various notable acclaims by respected lyricists and musicians of Bangladesh. Perhaps this year's winners can also achieve such accolades. We wish them the best.
Interviewed by Shawreen Rahman
Transcribed by Shams Rashid Tonmoy