Friends music festival

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By Text by Madhurima Chatterjee and Malini Banerjee. Pictures by Pabitra Das and Bishwarup Dutta
  • Published 9.12.11

Snapshots from The 91.9 FM Friends Music Festival, in association with The Telegraph and Anandabazar Patrika, held at Nazrul Mancha from december 2-4


TAGORE WITH A TWIST: The first day of the 5th Uro 91.9 FM Friends Music Festival, in association with The Telegraph and Anandabazar Patrika, started on a Rabindrik note as singers Samantak Sinha and Sharmistha Paul recreated the magic of Gaaner Oparey. Better known as the voices of Gora and Pupe, the duo had the audience singing along to their new-age brand of Rabindrasangeet made famous by the STAR Jalsha serial. From the popular Ebar tor mora gangey to Sakhi bhabona kahare boley, the song set was a mix of peppy and soulful. “I have a long association with Nazrul Mancha since my school and college days. It feels so great to be here professionally with other great performers,” said Samantak.


BIRTHDAY BOY: When Rupankar took the stage, despite running a temperature, the crowd greeted him with strains of “Happy Birthday”. “I’m so moved. This is the best gift I could have got on my birthday,” said the singer before lighting up the stage with hits like Priyotoma, Aaj sraboney and Gobhirey jao (22shey Srabon). An encore brought him back for a quick rendition of Na jaane kyun from Chalo Let’s Go....


TAAL SE TAAL: The last and most revved-up act of the evening was by Tanmoy Bose and his team comprising son Shiladitya, Ratul Shankar, Mainak Nag Chowdhury, Bodhisattwa Ghosh and several Bauls. Tanmoy, who had composed a signature tune for Friends FM, mesmerised the audience with his brand of fusion and instrumental. Starting with a percussion-based track, Invocation, the band followed it up with unique renditions of Lalan Fakir songs and Bengali qawwalis. Purbayan Chatterjee and his String Struck troupe then joined in to add a jazzy, peppy yet lyrical note to the fusion. The sitarist started with an elaborate piece called Pace of Mind, which had Tanmoy Bose ad-libbing and followed it up with a melodic vocal piece Yun dil se dil milein.


VOX POP: Day Two began with Lopamudra belting out popular adhunik as well as folk songs, her voice almost drowned out by song requests for Benimadhab (which she ultimately didn’t oblige with). “It used to be my dream to sing in a large auditorium with people asking for songs. It feels so wonderful to have that dream come true,” said the singer. For her last song she gave the audience a choice — Chhaata dhora or Jao pakhi — and launched into the former, cheered on by the audience.


FAST FUSION: Fingerprints, the six-member fusion band, performed a blend of their raga-based compositions. The fusion music ensemble used a range of instruments — pakhwaj, tabla, dhak, dhol, darbuka, keyboards, saxophone, guitars.... Pieces were based on ragas like Brindabani Sarang, Ahir Bhairav and Hamsadhwani.



BOLLY-TOLLY GIRL: Monali Thakur wrapped up Day Two with her chartbusters. “I love performing in Calcutta as I get to sing my Bengali numbers. I don’t get too many opportunities to sing Bengali songs live,” said the PYT. Her set list included a mix of It’s only pyaar from Dui Prithibi, Badhua and Khudaya khair (from Billu).




THE ROCKSTAR: Usha Uthup got the crowd moving to her magic as she rocked the house with her unique brand of music. Yesteryear hits like Aami shilpi and Shaan se mingled with recent chart-topppers like Darrrling, and even a Bengali version of Senorita. “Ki, taali kothay Kolkata?” demanded ‘Didi’ and the crowd responded with a roar.


SONGS SUNG TRUE: Subhamita started the evening with Tagore’s Tomar khola hawa moving on to songs from her albums like Ichhe Pari, Moner hodish, Phire dekha and Brishti paye paye. “Today we have given the RJs and the machines a rest to entertain you, I hope you all liked it,” she smiled.



SMASH HIT: Raghab Chatterjee got the audience whistling, singing and dancing to tunes like Chand keno, Tumi nei bole, Khuda jaane and of course the World Cup anthem De ghumaa ke.