The Telegraph
Sunday , June 29 , 2014
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Music the great leveller


Folk musicians and Bangla bands rocked the stage at Rabindra Sadan, venue for the fifth Sahajiya Utsav, last week. This year’s festival was dedicated to the memory of musician and filmmaker Gautam Chattopadhyay of Moheener Ghoraguli.

Chattopadhyay had worked tirelessly to promote baul and folk music and brought singers like Gaur Khyapa, Paban Das and Nimai Goswami to Calcutta to sing in his films. From anecdotes to evergreen numbers, Moni Chhara Shunyo Lage was a trip down memory lane for the original band members as well as the audience.

The evening began with Chattopadhyay’s wife felicitating the members of Moheener Ghoraguli, including Abraham Mazumdar, Pradip Chatterjee and Tapas Das, and some folk singers. For the next four hours, artistes like Debdas Baul, Biswanath Das, Kanai Das, Sidhu of Cactus, Rupam Islam, Malabika and Sanjay (Brahma Khyapa) and Surajit and Soumitra of Bhoomi had the audience engaged.

Ratul Shankar performs at ICCR. Picture by B. Halder

Tuned in

It was a celebration of folk music from Bengal and beyond on the eve of World Music Day. The concert hosted by Mukulesh Chattopadhyay Music Foundation and Music Beyond Boundaries saw a blend of American and Celtic songs blended with the folk songs of Bengal.

Deb Das Baul sings at the Sahajiya festival. Picture by Arnab Mondal

Apart from Prabuddha Banerjee and Upali Chattopadhyay, both founder members of Music Beyond Boundaries, percussionist Ratul Shankar was also part of the band of musicians on stage. The members of Mukulesh Chattopadhyay Music Foundation performed portions of Baishnab Padaboli fused with lokgaan from different regions of Bengal and narration by Urmimala Basu.

The chief guest of the programme, filmmaker Goutam Ghose, described baul fakiri as a religion, a “sadhana” that can “teach us a lot about life”. Biswanath Das Baul was felicitated on the occasion.

Young artists

Thirty students of the department of visual arts, University of Kalyani, presented Contours 2014, an exhibition of painting, new media and sculpture at the North Gallery of Academy of Fine Arts.

Young artist Jayasree Dutta’s print-on-canvas artwork, Call Me, is an expression of feminism. It shows the back of a human torso with phone numbers scribbled all over in black and red. Sankha Brata Paul’s Soft Sculpture was one of the first to catch the eye as one entered the gallery. He used white rubber gloves and cotton to create his elaborate artwork. Other interesting exhibits included Sayantan Ghosh’s charcoal on canvas, Memory, Paromita Pal’s Pain and Nripen Kirttania’s untitled wool-cloth-and-canvas work.

Chief guest Suvaprasanna noted the professionalism in most displays. “The exhibits show the hard work that has gone behind it,” he said, touching on the beautiful ambience of the Kalyani campus. “We plan to open a gallery on the campus in future and take this exhibition to other cities,” said Rattan Lal Hangloo, the vice-chancellor of the university.

Caste away

KK Sarachandra Bose. (A.S. Ray)

Dubai-based lawyer K.K. Sarachandra Bose was in Calcutta on Thursday as part of his 40-day Bharat Yathra that began in Thiruvananthapuram on June 9.

The philanthropist, who grew up in Kerala and has been living in Dubai for the last 37 years, has been fighting for the eradication of caste system in India. Bose and his 30-member team plan to visit several cities, towns and villages in every state of the country to make people aware of the ills of caste system.

Bose has also written a book Caste Away. “It is my way of serving a legal notice to the government. I have two demands — declare every Indian a Brahmin and remove words like Dalit, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes from the Constitution,” he said.

The lawyer said he had seen discrimination in his own household since childhood and that is what motivated him to study the caste system and fight for its eradication.

The Bharat Yathra will end in Delhi on July 18.

Sankha Brata Paul’s Soft Sculpture. Picture by Arnab Mondal

Compiled by Chandreyee Ghose and Samabrita Sen