Darbeshi singer dies
Jalpaiguri: Kalachand Darbesh, who is presumed to be the last Darbeshi singer of Bengal, passed away at his home in Gobindapally of Dhupguri on Sunday morning.
The 84-year-old singer, who has earned several national and international accolades for his songs, was suffering from breathing problems and renal complications.
Family members said he had fallen ill on Saturday and was taken to the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital in Siliguri.
Later, doctors advised that he could be taken back home but around 6.45am on Sunday, he breathed his last. He is survived by his wife, son, daughter-in-law and a granddaughter.
"He was the last Darbeshi singer in Bengal," Rup Das, his son, said.
In his lifetime, Kalachand had worked with maestros like Pandit Ravishankar.
In 1990, at London Bharat Mela, he had performed with Zakir Hussain and sung Darbeshi songs in Scotland, France and Africa.
In 2013, he was awarded the Nazrul Puraskar by the state government. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee had handed over the award to him.
The same year, he was conferred the Sahajiya Samman by Sahajiya Foundation. The foundation had also made a documentary on his music and life named In Search of Darbeshi Songs.
"He was one of the few persons who had kept the Darbeshi style of singing alive and had worked on it in a consistent manner for decades. His demise is a loss for the state and all Darbeshi song lovers," north Bengal development minister Rabindranath Ghosh said.
Ghosh, who visited Dhupguri to attend some government functions, said they would mull over a proposal of setting up a statue of Kalachand.
"His contribution and works on music should be remembered," the minister said.