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Music Note The Songs We Once Sang Music Note Remembering Anjuman Ara Begum a versatile artiste
Music Note Shanjib Chowdhury passes away (Published On: 2007-11-20) Music Note Bhupen's song is the 'best'
Music Note Three songs about women and violence by Suman Chatterjee Music Note Swani Zubayeer and his melodies


Music Note Khan Ataur Rahman: The eternal bohemian
Music Note Suman Chattopadhaya Music Note Mahbuba Rahman

Shanjib Chowdhury

Shanjib Chowdhury passes away

Published On: 2007-11-20

Poular band Dolchhut's singer and journalist Sanjib Chowdhury died at Apollo Hospital on November 19. On the following day, a special programme was held at TSC of University of Dhaka in his memory. Renowned cultural personalities like Mamunur Rashid, Tapan Chowdhury, Fakir Alamgir, Subir Nandi, Andrew Kishor, Fahmida Nabi, Bappa Majumder, Biplob and others were present at the programme. Different students' organisations from Dhaka University paid respect to Sanjib with flowers.

Sanjib became ill suddenly on Thursday last at his Mirpur residence. He was in coma care till his death at the hospital. He died of a cerebral haemorrhage.

Sanjib's body was donated to Dhaka Medical College.

Along with Bappa Mazumder, Shanjib formed Dolchhut in November 1996. In 1997, Dolchhut released their first album, titled Ah! Dalchhut's second album, 'Hridoypur' soon became a hit. He rendered several popular songs of this album titled Ami tomakei bole dibo, Gari cholena, Bioscope. His rendition of Tomar Bhanj Kholo in the film Bachelor became enormously popular.

Moreover, Shanjib was a journalist. He was the feature writer of many well-esteemed Bangla dailies like Ajker Kagoj, Bhorer Kagoj and others.

News: Daily Star

Anjuman Ara Begum

Remembering Anjuman Ara Begum a versatile artiste

Tuesday June 01 2004 11:19:18 AM BDT
Omer Farook

Anjuman Ara Begum was the lady with a golden voice. She rose to popularity around the 1960s. Whether it was radio, television or gramophone records being played in wayside restaurants, her fresh, melodious voice was audible far and wide.

She was the daughter of Dr Kasiruddin Talukder and Begum Ziaunnahar Talukder of Bogra. Her father's dispensary at Thana Road was well known to the public. But tragedy struck the family when her father was arrested and killed by the Pakistan Army during the Liberation War in 1971. The ostensible reason for this drastic end was his role in providing medical aid and giving shelter to freedom fighters.

Anjuman Ara was born in a cultured family where almost all her family members were highly educated. She completed BA (Hons), MA from the Department of Sociology, Dhaka University while continuing her career as a professional singer. She was the youngest among her two brothers and five sisters.

Her eldest sister Begum Zabunnesa Jamal was a popular lyricist and educationist. Elder sister Mahbub Ara was also a singer of radio and television. Her niece, Zeenat Rahana, is a well-known vocal artiste and the famous Runa Laila is her cousin sister.

Anjuman Ara made her presence felt for the first time through radio in 1958 and instantly became everyone's favourite. There was a unique quality to her voice and listeners were captivated by the feeling that she put into singing.

During the early 1960s when there was no television and radio was the only medium to reach the masses, Anjuman Ara occupied the pride of place with three contracts every month. During each programme she was required to attend at least three sittings in the morning, evening and night during peak hours. Her fans seldom missed her programmes because she had a variety of items to offer like light modern, Nazrul song, folk song, semi-classical, patriotic, ghazal and geet.

She was soon chosen for playback in feature films. Her song in a dream sequence of Shutorang, Tumi ashbay boley kachhey dakbey boley was an instant hit. This was followed by Chandni bheegi bheegi haawa a song of Urdu film Chanda became a hot favourite. Thereafter came other film hits like Akasher hathay aachhey ek rash neel, Kay Shoronero prantoray chupi chupi chhoyan rekhay jaye, Sathti ronger majhey aami mil khunje na pai, Khokon shona boli shono, Maachhranga pakhita aye and many others.

Anjuman Ara's husband Masud Alam Siddiqui was a tremendous support all along. It was obvious that without his encouragement, she could not have made it as a singer. Masud retired as Secretary, Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation. Her son Tariq Masrur is a Sub-Editor (News Section) of The Daily Star and daughter Umana Anjalin is a Lecturer, Department of Business Administration at the University of Asia Pacific.

Anjuman Ara received many awards for her rich contribution to music. Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy gave her the 'Gunijan' award in the year 2000. In recognition of her contribution as an artiste, she received the National Award, Ekushey Padak in 2003.
After performing the Hajj she became very pious and gradually declined offers to sing although she held a respectable position as a senior vocalist.

Of late, she had been ailing. Her illness took a swift turn to acute pneumonia and she breathed her last in the morning of May 29, 2004. The news of her sudden death reached quickly and soon relatives, friends, well-wishers, artistes, fans and admirers gathered at her residence at Dhanmondi to pay their last respects to her.

Anjuman Ara was a very soft-spoken lady and always had a smile on her face. Personally she was very amiable and kind hearted. As an artiste she was always devoted to her profession.

Anjuman Ara is no more with us. However, she lives on in the memories of her numerous fans.

News: Daily Star

Bhupen Hazarika

Bhupen's song is the 'best'

Source: Times of India

Eminent musician Bhupen Hazarika's famous Bengali composition Manush manusheri janya (man for mankind) was selected as the 'best song of the millennium' by the BBC Bengali service.

The singer himself, a Dadasaheb Phalke awardee announced this, on Friday last. Hazarika, who was in Shillong to inaugurate a Rotary conference, also enthralled the audience with his rendition of the song first in Nagamese followed by Assamese and lastly in Bengali.

Recalling his experience, the eminent musician said he composed the song during the turbulent period in 1964 when Nagaland, Manipur and parts of Assam were burning.
The 77-year-old musician said he had been called by the then Assam Chief Minister B P Cheliha to go to Kohima to quell the mob violence as politicians 'failed' to bring peace.
When asked by political dignitaries what his 'trick' was, Hazarika smilingly said, "It is affection disseminated by the music" which was behind this.

Swani Zubayeer

Swani Zubayeer and his melodies

Elita Karim

According to this young musician, 'composer' is too powerful a word to describe himself. However, the recent ghazal night held at the National Museum proved otherwise for Swani Zubayeer.

This visionary young musician enthralled the Dhaka crowd with his mesmerising voice and heart-warming expressions. Besides performing a few popular ghazals of this time and also the years gone by, Zubayeer rendered several of his own ghazal compositions as well. One of them included a number called Aaj amaar mon bhalo nei. Through this composition, Zubayeer drew a clear sketch of the time when he had lived on the island in Sweden, attended music classes and sometimes peered at the grand piano. His heart would go out to the Baltic Sea and the blue sky when he would look out of the window, and long to be back with his loved ones.

Another ghazal number titled Ridoy spoke of the usual innocent fantasies of the heart, giving them a soothing touch.

In the middle of the show, his paternal aunt Kausar Habib who had come all the way from London, rendered a few of her own favourite numbers and drifted the mind of the audience for a while.

Both Zubayeer and his aunt Kausar seemed to be ardent fans of the eminent singer Kumar Biswajeet, who was present at the show, and spoke of his contribution to the Bangladeshi music, giving the country an international mark.

Born in 1973, Swani Zubayeer received his M.A degree in English literature from Dhaka University, after which he went on to Sweden to study music and was the student of Gotlands School of Music Composition. His first album 'Saara'- a collection of Bangla modern songs was released from Betar Jagath in 1998, followed by 'Apana Khayal'- a collection of ghazals released from Bombay in January from Sun Audio and 'Nirjon Shakkhor'- an album of Bangla modern songs released from World Music, Bangladesh in 2003. In the same year, Zubayeer was commissioned by Sundsval Symphony Orchestra for an orchestral work, titled The Golden Land which premiered on January 26. Based on the six seasons of Bangladesh and their varied aspects, Zubayeer composed this symphony where the blending of the east and the west was evident. A video of the symphony was also shown on the projector for the audience to enjoy.

Swani Zubayeer wants to come up with more compositions in future filled with more passion, expression and creativity. He quotes from Xenakis, 'We all have to try, because only after that there is always a difference.'

Khan Ataur Rahman

Khan Ataur Rahman: The eternal bohemian

Karim Waheed

The infatuation with arts for 'Tara' -- as he was affectionately called by his mother -- surprisingly began with devotional songs. The maternal side of the family were 'khadim' (caretakers) of a mazaar. At the urs (religious gatherings), his uncles used to articulate their passions through songs.
Then in 1937, when he was a student of class three, he won first place at the Dhaka Zilla Music Competition for his rendition of the song Mon paban-er dinga baiyya. Subsequently he was intrigued by jatrapala and theatre.
After enrolling in Dhaka Medical College in 1946, he made an attempt to run away from home, with Tk 60 in possession; he wanted to join films. But he was spotted by his brother-in-law at the Fulbaria Station and had to return home. The bohemian in Khan Ataur Rahman was emerging.
Today marks the 79th birthday of Khan Ataur Rahman, an icon in our cinema and music. He was born to Ziarat Hossain Khan and Zohra Khatun in Ramkantapur village, Manikganj district.
After the failed attempt to join movies in 1946, Rahman enrolled in Dhaka University next year but the obsession with cinema had taken over. He received a scholarship to study photography in London. However, for unavoidable reasons, that did not materialise.
In 1949, he ran away from home again. This time he made it to Bombay (Mumbai); strolled the streets, frequented the film industry and slept on the sidewalks. He met Jal Irani, cameraman of Jyoti Studio, who gave Rahman an opportunity to work as an apprentice but that obviously was not gratifying enough.
In January 1950, he moved to Karachi. He got a job as a radio newscaster. Occasionally, he visited Lahore; the burning desire to join films was not diminished. He started taking formal music lessons from renowned sarangi player Jawahari Khan.
In 1952, Rahman went to London. He met SM Sultan there and used his savings to buy art supplies for the artist. Rahman and his comrades made arrangements for display and sale of Sultan's paintings. In '53, he enrolled in the Theatre department at City Literary Institute. Next year he received a UNESCO scholarship and went to Netherlands.
In 1955, he moved back to London and started working with local theatre groups including Theatre Royal, Unity Theatre and Irving Theatre. For a brief stint he worked for BBC.
In 1957, Rahman came back to Dhaka and took up a job at The Pakistan Observer. He got enlisted in the radio as a lyricist, music director, recitor and actor. In '58, A.J. Kardar came to Dhaka to make a film. Upon his request, Rahman played the lead role in the film Jago Hua Savera. Zahir Raihan was the assistant director of the film. Thus started the legendary association between Raihan and Rahman.
In '59, Rahman emerged as a music director and lyricist with Ehtesham's film E Desh Tomar Amar. He also played the protagonist in the film. In 1960, together with Zahir Raihan, Rahman founded Little Cine Circle.
In the following years, his popularity as an actor and music director soared with films - Kokhono Asheni, Je Nadi Marupathey, Shonar Kajal and more. Rahman's composition of Pathey pathey dilam chhoraiyya rey (from the film Shurjosnan, 1962) -- the sole playback by Kalim Sharafi -- is still considered a groundbreaking phenomenon in the history of Bangla films. Rahman had a particular vision and the song bears the evidence -- the majhi (boatman) clears his throat and starts singing; the world-weary expression exudes in "O amar chokkhu nai".
In 1963, Rahman gave cine enthusiasts and music lovers another gem of a song - Shyamol baran meyeti. Highlighting the quintessential Bengali beauty Sumita Devi, the song -- written, composed and rendered by Rahman -- added another dimension to Zahir Raihan's experimental film Kancher Deyal.
Rahman won the best lyricist and best music composer awards for Shurjosnan and Kancher Deyal respectively, at the Pakistan Film Festival in 1965. Rahman worked as a music director in Urdu films - Bahana (by Zahir Raihan), Saagar (by Ehtesham), Aakhri Station (by Suroor Barabankvi), Mala (by Mustafiz) and more.
In the coming years, Rahman's attachment with cinema widened; he started producing and directing movies as well.
In 1969, the then East Pakistan took a stance against the ongoing disparity and tyranny. Zahir Raihan's film Jibon Thekey Neya highlighted the emotions of the mass upsurge and Khan Ataur Rahman's voice and words - E khancha bhangbo ami kemon korey -- resonated the national psyche.
During the Liberation War, Rahman wrote and composed patriotic songs and took initiatives to aid the freedom fighters with food and medical supplies. Post-war, his film Abar Tora Manush Haw moved the audience with an accurate depiction of the changed reality in the ravaged country.
In the '70s and '80s, Rahman penned and set to tune several songs that became 'claim to fame' for several artistes - E ki shonar aloye in Sabina Yasmin's case, Ek nadi rakto periye for Shahanaz Rahmatullah and more.
In the early '90s the trends and the environment in Bangladeshi filmdom started changing and Rahman could not cope with the appalling condition. He made a few films in the late '80s, including Hishab Nikash and Parash Pathar.
After an extended hiatus, in 1994 Rahman decided to make a film on Liberation War, titled Akhono Onek Raat. He finished the film in 1997 and submitted it to the Censor Board. The Censor Board asked him to cut seven scenes from the film; Rahman found the demand unreasonable. Mounting pressures and tension took their toll on his health. On December 1, 1997, Rahman passed away.
Khan Ataur Rahman will always be remembered for his songs. What make them extraordinary are their rather ordinary, unpretentious lyrics that leave an indelible impression on the listener.
Source: Rumana Islam (daughter of Khan Ataur Rahman)
News: Daily Star

Mahbuba Rahman

Mahbuba Rahman

Mahbuba Rahman with her golden voice captured many a heart in '50s and '60s in the then East Pakistan. She made her mark in the radio, television and films and received accolades, particularly for her debut playback in the first Bangla film made here, "Mukh O Mukhosh" (1955).
In recognition to her contribution as an artiste, Rahman received the Ekushey Padak (in 1998) and the Golden Jubilee Film Audience award (2006) for Best Singer.
The otherwise reticent Mahbuba recently spoke to The Daily Star about her past and present:
The Daily Star (TDS): Are you still involved with the music industry?
Rahman: Right now my world revolves around my son, daughter, and grandchildren. My present priorities are to spend time with them, listen to music and read novels. I quit the music industry long ago.
TDS: Were you always musically inclined?
Rahman: Yes, of course. I began singing when I was only eight-years-old.
TDS: Tell us about your first recording experience...
Rahman: It was a remarkable experience. The recording was at All India Radio (in 1946). I was nervous but music composer Samar Das and my mentor Shambhu Pal were there to encourage me.
TDS: Some of your memorable songs...
Rahman: "Agun jalaish na amar gaye" from the film "Saat Bhai Champa"; "Amar mon bhalo na go pran bhalo na" an adhunik song; "Moner bon-e dola lagey" from the film "Shurjo Snan" and "Amar golar har" from the film "Aasia" were big hits. Though initially I started with Nazrul Sangeet, I gradually shifted to bhajan, kirtan and much later to folk songs.
TDS: Who were your main sources of inspiration?
Rahman: When I was a child, my maternal uncle took me to a local music school in Chittagong. Apart from him, my parents were major sources of inspiration. My husband, eminent music composer Khan Ataur Rahman had always been supportive of my career. Without his encouragement, I could not have come this far.
TDS: Who was your role model?
Rahman: I was greatly influenced by my contemporaries Anjali Roy and Afsari Khanum.
TDS: What are your views on the current trends in music?
Rahman: There is a huge difference between music back then and now. In our time, the vocalist was considered the focus, but now instruments get the limelight. However, I do see this in a positive light. The world is progressing by leaps and bounds and we should also do so. Having said that, inane lyrics do not stand the test of time.

News: Daily Star


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