Bikash Mukherjee (left), president of Bengal Club, at the news meet on Monday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Folk songs have gained popularity in urban Bengal. Now, it is the steel city’s turn.
Come September 21, Jamshedpur’s Bangali will experience soulful music, thanks to Bengal Club, which in its 90th year will organise an evening of Lalon Geeti at Rabindra Bhavan. The folk genre was introduced by minstrel Lalon Fakir in the 18th Century.
Artistes from Lalon Academy, Calcutta, Shubhendu Maity and Tapasi Roychoudhury along with their group are expected to revive memories of pastoral Bengal, through Lalon Fakir’s timeless creations like Mon re tui more kothay niye jabi or Jibon re tui ki nibi ar ki dibi, that inspired Rabindranath Tagore’s immortal songs and lyrics.
“While many people know about Baul music, Lalon Geeti has not been so popular in other parts of the country as compared to Bengal. Lalon Fakir has some of the best compositions of all times that even inspired Tagore,” president of the club Bikas Mukherjee said at a news meet on Monday.
He sounded confident that the show would be a success. “This is the first time that the city will get to hear Lalon Geeti. But I am sure they will like it because like music, lyrics are equally important,” Mukherjee added.
“We have also arranged for a workshop where kids will get a chance to learn the folk form,” said Mukherjee.
The free workshop for children will be organised at the same venue on September 20.
Lalon Fakir is considered as the founder of Baul music though both the forms differ.
While Baul Geeti is about spiritualism, Lalon Geeti is more about spreading the message of communal harmony. Lalon who preferred to stay away from religions wrote mainly on social issues. Many of his songs mock identity politics and religion that divide communities and incite violence.
The bard, as it is said, was born in a Hindu family and used to work at a zamindar’s place in Kushtia, now in Bangladesh. On his way to Murshidabad, he was left alone by the side of the Ganges by the zamindar and his group because he had contracted smallpox.
It is then that a Muslim family took care of him. This was one of the reasons why he was not accepted by either community.