Every year, with the arrival of Bengal Classical Music Fest (BCMF), music aficionados from the country and abroad gather to listen to some of the most fantastic tunes in the world. While big names like Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, and son Rahul, Pandit Harisprasad Chaurasiya, Vidushi Girija Devi and more come and enchant us, our Bangladeshi counter-parts prove to the rest of the world that they are no less when it comes to amazing the audience.
The first day of the BCMF 2016 will kick off with a performance by a local dance troupe, lead by Sharmila Banerjee. The 60-member troupe will give dance presentations of Manipuri, Bharatanatyam, Odisi and Kathak set to Rabindranath's works and other songs. A Manipuri exponent, Sharmila Banerjee has participated in numerous solo, duet and group dance performances. She has been working with Odissi, Chayanaut and many other prominent cultural organisations of the country.
Priyanka Gope, a promising and celebrated classical singer, will not only be performing her own solo khayal, but will also lead the Dhaka University's Music Department's students during their performance. Trained under maestros such as Ananda Chakrabarty, Dr. Asit Roy, Wahidul Haque, Prof. Subir Nandy, Smt. Shubhra Guha and Falguni Mitra, Priyanka Gope completed her M.A. from the Department of Music, Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata. She is an enlisted A Grade artist of Bangladesh Betar in the categories of Rabindra Sangeet, Nazrul Sangeet and classical music.
Dhaka University's Music Department will also be performing, with their Guru Priyanka Gope, leading the troupe. In 1998, the Department of Music, DU, introduced a 5 year-long Honours and Master's course on Classical, Folk, Tagore and Nazrul music. Currently there are about 200 students are studying in the department. These students will be presenting their music on the biggest classical music platform in the world this year.
Munmun Ahmed, following the theme of Guru Shishya Parampara, will be performing with her troupe consisting of her students, all of whom have been learning under her tutelage for almost a decade. The group will perform a traditional kathak piece. After completing high school, Munmun Ahmed went to India. There she studied at the Ram Bharatia Kala Kendra under Ram Mohan Maharaj and Raj Kumar Sharma. In 1989, she became a student of Pandit Birju Maharaj in Delhi Kathak Kendra. Ahmed runs a dance school, Rewaaz Performing School.
Mohammad Shoyeb's performance will also be something to look forward to. One of the most acclaimed classical singers of this generation, Shoyeb shot to fame commercially over the past few years will some collaborations and popular songs.
Bengal Parampara Sangeetalaya will be performing at the BCMF this year, with exquisite instrumental pieces with the sitar and sarod. Bengal Parampara Sangeetalay has been founded on a modern interpretation of the Guru-Shishya parampara mode of learning. The ambition of the sangeetalaya is that each pupil, under such eminent guidance, will refine their skill set and achieve the ability to represent our country to an international audience and become world class musicians.
Ishrat Fuljhuri Khan will be the youngest performer at the festival. Granddaughter of prominent Bangladeshi esraj player, Ustad Fuljhuri Khan, 7-year-old Ishrat will be a part of the Sarod ensemble, and will definitely be the one to look out for!