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Celebration of life in maiden outing

His Tomake Chai broke all records, was on the lips of every person who knew Bengali and hailed even by critics as one of the finest compositions of the jibonmukhi movement or one that celebrates life.

Kabir Suman aka Suman Chattopadhyay sang that path-breaking song and 24 more during his maiden live performance in Guwahati on December 29. The function was organised by Bengali little magazine Eka Ebong Koyekjon as part of its annual function. The venue, ITA-Pragjyoti Centre for Performing Arts, was packed when Suman took the stage.

Sitting on a chair with a nylon-string classical guitar slung from his left shoulder and a keyboard to his right, Suman, in all, presented around 25 numbers which included 17 of his own compositions, five of Tagore’s, one each of Himangshu Dutta, Abanindranath Tagore and Hemanta Mukherjee.

Beginning in his signature style, a two-minute passionate monologue about his 23-year-old musical journey, he broke into O Ganwalla before the audience could exhale and followed it up with Mon Khaaraap Koraa Bikel Maanei, Anek Din Por Aabaar Chena Mukh and Dorojai Ache Nombor Lekha without a break.

He then switched to Himangshu Dutt and Tagore. The Dutt number, Chand Kohe Chaameli Go, was a pleasant surprise. Suman presented five Tagore songs: Godhuli Lagane Meghe, Bodhu Miche Raag Koronaa, Tumi Sandhyaar Megha Mala, Dekonaa Aamaare Dekonaa and Purano Sei Diner Kotha. Of these, mention must be made of Tumi Sandhyaar Megha Mala in which Suman’s immaculate rendition took the touching lyrics to a rare height.

His concern for Nandigram came out in three numbers: Suno Graham Stewart Staines, Saal Bollar Beraai Aagun and Nandigram, Nandigram.

Suman’s adaptation of two immortal Bob Dylan numbers, How Many Roads Must Man Walk Down and Farewell Angelina spoke volumes about his knowledge of Western music. The audience had its fill of his Bengali transcreations of these two numbers — Kototaa Poth Perole Tobe Pothik Bolaa Jaai and Biday Porichitaa.

Some of his own compositions that enthralled the audience were Surjyodoyer Raage, Dekho Phulmoni, Tomaake Chai and Basuriya Baajaao.

The evening began with Tarun Kalita’s short sarod recital in which he presented a Rabindrasangeet, Eso Shyamala Sundara, in Raga Desh, followed by a bandish in the same raga. The organisers also felicitated veteran writer and social activist Anjali Lahiri and talented writer Mousumi Kandali.

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