Nupur Ganguly’s expertise in light classical music and unconventional Bengali songs was reflected recently, in two consecutive programmes held at the ICCR, where the audience got a rare opportunity to get familiar with the variety of songs she sang. Starting with the “Kali bandana”, Ganguly moved on to other genres of music, which included Shyamasangeet, Nazrulgeeti, tappa, baithaki and even songs from popular Bengali dramas. She sang a Kamalakanta composition, “Bama ke re elo chikure”, followed by a Nidhu Babu tappa.
The artist’s voice was very versatile; it was able to capture the different moods of the songs smoothly. Ganguly laid more emphasis on the songs of the 18th and 19th centuries in her first performance; she sang a song composed by a famous 18th-century poet, Ram Basu. This was followed by a Bramhasangeet composed by Raja Rammohun Roy. Her performance of “Baam bhagete Shyam Mohini” recreated the atmosphere of Bengali puratani songs.
Ganguly has a clear and melodious voice, and she could easily overcome the slightest deviation with her skillful expressions. She also sang two songs from the drama, Bishbrikha, “Srimukha Pankaj dekhbo bole” and “Ami aaj malanche te jai”. She held on to the mood of the music by singing songs from a well known 18th-century drama which were originally sung by Nati Binodini.
The baithaki ambience was created with Ganguly’s rendition of a noted song by Gauhar Jaan. The singer’s mode of presentation was perfect; it kept the audience absorbed in a cozy atmosphere, and she aptly chose a Nazrulgeeti, “Saki dilo dola prane”, and a Gyanprakash Ghosh composition, “Asi bole keno elo na”, to enhance the essence. There were some exceptional choices of song: Ganguly sang “Ogo hriday ratan” which was written by Chittaranjan Das and set to tune by Hemanta Mukhopadhyay. She also sang some unused songs by Salil Chowdhury from the cult movie, Ek Din Ratre. At the end, Ganguly returned to the prayer songs, “Brindabone Shyam nai” and “Sadanande rakhis ma tui”, composed by Tapas Gan Chowdhury.
The compositions of Swami Vivekananda and his favourite songs were the highlight of Ganguly’s second performance. Along with “Hara hara Bhootnath” and “Tathaiya tathaiya nache Bhola”, she sang a thumri, “Mujhe bari banwari saiyan”. This was a pleasant gift to her listeners. Her presentation of some of Shri Ramakrishna’s favourite songs, with a recitation of excerpts from Kathamrita, was praiseworthy.
The texture of Ganguly’s voice aptly portrayed the inherent feeling of Girish Ghosh’s composition, “Keshava kuru karuna deene”, a renowned bhajan by Kabir, “Prabhu main ghulam”, and “Bipada bhoy baran”, a creation of Pandit Yadu Bhatta. She concluded with a bhajan, “Prabhu more avgun chit na dharo”, which touched the audience. The accompaniments of Ratan Bhattacharya, Amalendu Bhattacharya, Gourishankar Das Adhikari, Ratnankur Mitra, Sadhan Basu Majumder and Samaresh Bhattacharya were perfect.