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The 5th and last night of the Bengal Classical Music Festival 2016 started with fascinating renditions

The 5th night of the Bengal Classical Music Festival 2016 opened on 28th November at Army Stadium, Dhaka.

The first performance of the night was a mesmeric vocal rendition by the students of the Music Department of Dhaka University. The students performed Raga Bhupali. Swarop Hossain and Zakir Hossain accompanied them on tabla. On behalf of the students, Dr. Leena Taposhi, the Chairman of the department received the festival memento from the former Indian Ambassador to Bangladesh Deb Mukherjee.

The 2nd performance of the night was another aural delight. Students of the Bengal Parampara Sangeetalay performed Raga Charukeshi on sitar. The students who performed were Proshanjit Mondal, Shamya Dey, Jyoti Banerjee, Ahmed Imtiaz Humayun, Nisith Dey, Khandkar Nazmus Sakib, Ringko Chondra das, Mohammad Kausar, Jahangir Alam Shraban, TM Selim Reza, Ashis Narayan Sarker, Mehreen Alam. Prashanta Bhowmik and Supantho Majumdar were on tabla. On behalf of the artistes, Mehreen Alam received the festival memento from Ruby Ghuznavi, founder of National Craft Council.

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, KCMG, Founder & Chairperson of BRAC, was present as the Chief Guest at the closing. Distinguished academician and Professor Emeritus Anisuzzamn presided over the closing ceremony. Annisul Huq, the Honorable Mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation and Mohammad Sayeed Khokon, the Honorable Mayor of Dhaka South City Corporation were the special guests. Anjan Chowdhury, Managing Director of Square Group was also among the special guests.

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed remembered versatile author Syed Shamsul Haq to whom the festival is dedicated. He remarked, “Classical music is imbedded in us. Artistes like Ustad Ali Akbar, Ustad Allauddin Khan and Pandit Ravi Shankar had roots in this country. The continuity of this festival will encourage the emergence of more world class artistes in this field.”

Professor Emeritus Anisuzzamn greeted everyone and expressed his gratitude towards the artistes. He said, “The practice of classical music was fading in our country. However, this festival has rejuvenated interests in the genre.”

Anjan Chowdhury, Managing Director of Square Group Ltd, expressed his pride at being involved with the festival and said, “Hopefully, we will present grander festival in the future.”

Mohammad Sayeed Khokon, the Honorable Mayor of Dhaka South City Corporation, requested Abul Khair to take responsibility for all the twelve music schools in Old Dhaka. He assured cooperation from the City Corporation to develop cultural institutes in that part of Dhaka. He expressed that the festival has proved to be a prominent initiative against recent militant activities. He said, “Bangladesh is moving forward under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Nothing can impede this momentum.”

Annisul Huq, Honorable Mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation expressed his gratitude towards the organizers of this event. He urged the producers to pay the dues of the singers of the country. “Artistes can shape people’s mentalities, therefore, we should always pay our due respects to them.”

Abul Khair, Chairman of Bengal Foundation, requested a minute of silence in memory of recently deceased poet Syed Shamsul Huq and the people who had given their lives during the recent militant attacks. He expressed his gratitude towards the sponsors and partners of the event. According to him, this festival has become a platform to uplift the image of Bangladesh in front of the entire world. For the success of the festival he expressed his gratitude and thanks towards the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister, the Cultural Affairs Minister, the Bangladesh Army, the Bangladesh Police and the journalist friends from print and electronic media. He pleaded with the Prime Minister for the construction of at least three thousand cinema halls around the country. He also requested the construction of sports and cultural facilities in remote areas of the country.  He said, “We would like to develop a large cultural institute in the country.” After his speech he declared a three day Sufi Festival in January. At the end of the closing ceremony he handed over the crests to the chief guest and special guests of the night.

The next performances of the night was santoor by Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma. He performed Raga Jog. Sir Fazle Hasan Abed handed over the festival memento to this santoor exponent.

Following that, Kumar Mardur came on stage with a Khayal. At first, he performed Raga Puriya Kalyan. After that he rendered bhajan on Raga Kirwani. Renowned writer Anisul Hoque handed over the festival memento to the artiste.

The three other performance of the night are Sitar by Pandit Kushal Das; Khayal by Arati Ankalikar; Flute by Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia.

Stalls at the festival include both book stalls as well as vendor stalls offering food and beverage.  The stalls are offering ICE Media magazines and books published by Bengal Publications, Daily Star Books and Prothom Alo. The food stalls include North End Coffee Roasters, Lucknow, Chaap Station, Bistro E and Paturi.  Aranya, Bengal Café, the Bengal Film Development Forum and BRAC Bank ATMs are also present on the festival grounds. Journalists should be pleased to find access to free WiFi.

Square Group is presenting the Bengal Classical Music Festival as the title sponsor. BRAC Bank is supporting the event as the main sponsor. Maasranga TV is the broadcast partner, while ICE Business Times is the media partner. Radisson Hotel Dhaka is the hospitality partner of the event, and Square Hospital is the medical partner. Blues Communications is in-charge of the event management. The festival is being presented in association with Bengal Digital, Mango and Bengal Parampara Sangeetalay. Perfect Harmony of Singapore is the strategic partner.

For the last four years, the Bengal Classical Music Festival has been the largest classical music event in the subcontinent showcasing performances from over two hundred classically trained singers and dancers. With the goal to popularize and perpetuate the practice of classical music, this festival will go on till November 28th. The event this year is dedicated to the memory of versatile author and poet Syed Shamsul Haq (1935-2016).

Photo Courtesy: Bengal Foundation

Some of the Photos on Display