The music of

Rabindranath Tagore ( 1861 - 1941 )

Compositions on my repertoire:

click on underlined titles for listening..

Aaj bare jhare
Ekhani ki holo
Hridoyo mandrilo
Jhare jai joare
Jharo jharo
Ogo shono
Oke dharile
Ora okarone
Ore bokul
Phagoon hawai
Joditor dak sune
Ebar tor mora
Gram chhara
Nai nai bhoy
Summer- Ore bhai
Monsoon - Badol baul
Harvest - Amra bendhechi
Autumn - Ei shorot
Winter - Himer rate
Spring - Aji boshonto
Hemor cittho
Tumi kaemon
Shongkocer bibholota
Alo amar alo
Ekti nomoskare

Timire mayo

Amar shonar Bangla
Amra nuton joubonery
Tobu mone

Through his own words

" I have introduced, some new elements in our music, I know. I have composed 500 new tunes, perhaps more.
This is a parallel growth to my poetry. Anyhow, I love this aspect of my activity.
I get lost in my songs and then I think that those are my best work; I get quite intoxicated.
I often think that, if all my poetry is forgotten,
my songs will live with my country men and have a permanent place.... All the same, I know the artistic value of my songs. They have a great beauty.
Though they will not be known outside my province, and much of my work will gradually be lost,
I leave them as a legacy "

Through: A.H. Fox Strangways
( In his book on the music of Hindostan 1914 )
The note(s) of the song are no longer their mere selves, but the vehicle of a personality, and as such they go behind this or that system of music to that beauty of sound which all systems put out their hands to seize. These melodies are such as would have satisfied Plato. " I do not know the modes," said Socrates, " but leave me one that will imitate the tones and accents of a brave man enduring danger or distress, fighting with constancy against (mis)fortune; and also one fitted for the work of peace, for prayer heard by the gods, and for the successful persuasion or exhortation of men."

In Bengal, India around 1932
There is in Bengal no cultured home where Rabindranath's songs are not sung or at least attempted to be sung
..even illiterate villagers sing his songs...

Through: Krishna Dutta:
(Tagore scholar and author  of the 2003 book "Calcutta A cultural and literary history"  )
Yet it has to be admitted that if one does not know Bengali, Rabindrasangit may sound plaintive and monotonous......
But as someone who has lived in the West for a long time, I also realize that there is
no hope of  fully sharing these feelings with non-Bengalis.
But so much of the success of its rendition depends on an exquisite balance between
intelligence, emotion, restraint and spontaneity - not to speak of sensitive instrumental accompaniment.

Through: Geoffery Moorhouse
Author: in his 1971-1988 book "Calcutta the city revealed" )
...Gitanjali was intended to be heard with ( Tagore's ) music that few Westerners have ever appreciated.....

Through: N.M. Mustapha
( author of 1975 "Our Music a historical study" )
..His music has much color, truth and intimacy of expression and the abstract tune in his hand
has become fully saturated with feeling and emotional fervor....

Through: Robinson Andrew
( author : e.g.  "Rabindranath Tagore the myriad minded man" 1995 )
The truth is that unless one can understand the words of  Tagore songs, they quickly begin to sound monotonous
- though a small selection, carefully made, is usually convincing of his melodic gift and its range.

Through: Hans Vermeersch
( artistic leader RHO, translator & arranger of Indian music )
Tagore was one of the very few to cross the barrier between Indian and European music.
By traveling all over the world he witnessed the music of the country where he was and
substantially composed his music with the said music still in his ears. This is a major
difficulty with Tagore: how to recognize, in the swaralipi, the music composed under influence of a Western country and how to
recognize the music with a pure Indian touch.
To say whether the music is monotonous is depending on the cultural background and musical experience of the listener.

Hans ans Stephan performing in the International Tagore Festival Urbana

The music of

Qazi Nazrul Islam ( 1899 - 1976 )

Through: Vermeersch Hans
What is said about Tagore is certainly true about Nazrul.
Being a more or less contemporary of Tagore he had not the benefit of traveling the world and also not of the
Western contacts Tagore could afford. In this way it is highly interesting to meet the music of this Indian maestro.
Unfortunately where the music of Tagore is unknown to the world so is the music of Nazrul.
It is truly beautiful to perform Nazruls music next to Tagores. That is a real treat. The joining of two great maestros of Bengal in
one concert. Even if a westerner does not know the meaning of the lyrics, if skillfully arranged the music is timeless in beauty.

Kazi Nazrul Islam: Known as "The Bidrohi Kobi," "The rebel Poet" for his astonishing masterpiece "The Bidrohi."
A furious manifesto of self-conscious against immorality. Sajid Kamal describes the poem as,
 "A universal proclamation, an affirmation, an inspiration, an invocation, of 'The Rebel' within the hearts of each 'I' of the
 common humanity which lay oppressed, subjugated, exploited, resigned and powerless."
It is said that Nazrul would have been Nazrul even if he hadn't written anything else but " The Bidrohi."

The national poet of Bangladesh, Kazi Nazrul Islam was born in Churulia, Burdhaman district, West Bengal in 1899 (1306 Bengali year.)
He didn't grow up with the luxury of enjoying his boyhood, rather lost his father in his early life. For financial hardship,
he worked as a teacher in a lower "Islamic school," at the age of 9. His education went up to 10th grade but
continued learning Arabic and Persian languages. As a boy, he translated Persian ghazals and Arabic writings in Bengali.
 He also educated himself enough to enjoy the writings of Keats, Shelly and Whitman.

The British rule of India influenced Nazrul to take an active part through his writings in the Swadishi and Khilafat movement.
He was imprisoned by the British government for one year of hard labor for his writing "Andamoyeer Agamaney," which appeared in Dhumketu.

Rabindranath Tagore called him "Dhumketu," "The Comet," Mahatma Gandhi described his poetry as, "The song of the spinning wheel"
and "Nazrul is the ultimate spirit of the spinning wheel and freedom runs through his vein."

Nazrul wrote 50 books of poetry and songs, 6 books of stories and novels, 3 books of translations, 53 plays, verse plays and operas,
2 movie scripts, 5 books of essays and 4000 songs and ghazals. (Source: Nazrul Institute, Bangladesh.)

Nazrul holds the world record of recorded songs, most of which, the music were composed by Nazrul himself. (Source: Nazrul Institute.) 
His first son Krishna Mohammed died in less than a year of his birth; his second son Bulbul also died in his childhood.
 Broken-hearted Nazrul wrote his first Bengali ghazal...

His wife Pramila became paralyzed from her waist down in 1938. Nazrul found himself more hopeless and depressed.
Starting in 1942, he felt loss of speeches and finally became mentally dysfunctional and lost his speech completely in a short time.

As his final wish, in 29th of August in1976, The national poet of Bangladesh Kazi Nazrul Islam was laid to eternal rest by the mosque of Dhaka University