Bengal Classical Music Festival 2017 kicked off on Dec 26

Staff Correspondent
Thursday, December 28th, 2017


After five years of massive success and more-than-favourable reactions, Bengal Foundation has brought the musical soiree back in Dhaka for its sixth occasion. Titled Bengal Classical Music Festival, it is a repeat of last year’s 5-day format and is more in touch with the demands of classical music lovers from the subcontinent.


The event began at Abahani Grounds on December 26, starting every day from 7PM till 5 in the morning, and is expected to be held till Saturday. The opening day kicked off with the performances of Dr L Subramaniam & the Astana Symphony Philharmonic Orchestra.


More classical music maestros will grace the audience with their presence at this festival. From festival veterans such as Ustad Rashid Khan, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma to new attractions such as Pandit Jasraj (khyal vocals) and much more, there is something in store from classical vocal renditions to the tabla or the flute. The congregation of such globally-renowned classical music legends and music aficionados is unlike any other musical concert in the world.


The festival also hosted the late virtuoso South Indian octogenarian singers Balamuralikrishna and Vidushi Girija Devi who will be missed greatly at the festival this year.


Eradicating popular belief that only classical music listeners will be filling up the audience seats, the festival has been witness to over thousands of music lovers, who can proudly claim this festival as Dhaka’s must-attend event of the year. It has attained cult status among the public to such an extent that non-resident Bangladeshis readjust their yearly visits just to attend the festival.


Another noteworthy feature this year will be the substantial balance between Indian and Bangladeshi artists. Unlike previous years, there will be a significant amount of local artists who will be given the grand platform to prove their mettle. This year, the number of Bangladeshi artists is comparatively more than their Indian counterparts, according to the Director General of Bengal Foundation, Luva Nahid Choudhury.


Chairman of Bengal Foundation Abul Khair appears content with what he has achieved so far by single-handedly organising the festival from its inception. “I dream that my young students at Parampara would one day perform at the same platform with stalwarts such as Rashid Khan and more.” True to his vision, the youngest performer at the Bengal Classical Music Festival ‘16 was a mere seven year old — the prodigious Ishrat Fuljhuri Khan. She happens to be the granddaughter of esraj maestro Ustad Fuljhuri Khan who was also an accomplished Sehnai, Pakhwaj and Sitar player. Originally known as Yaar Md Khan, he was rechristened in Shantiniketan by none other than Rabindranath Tagore who was impressed by his fluidity and proficiency in Esraj and endearingly called him “Ful-jhuri”– symbolising the soft showering of flower petals.


Plenty of reasons persist why this is the most sought-after festival among the cultural-minded. For one thing, the overwhelming sense of security is unlike any other event Dhakaites have ever been to. Visitors this time will not be able to bring any sort of cameras, bags beyond a certain dimension (6 by 10 inches), any tobacco/alcohol items and such. Only after a thorough security check can one enter the premises. There goes the fear of getting mugged out of the window. The entry gates will close at midnight from this time onwards.


Not only that, but a significant range of food stalls ensures that your gastronomical requirements will met from every possible genre, be it local, continental, fast food, even something for the sweet tooth – all while ensuring that it does not put a dent in your wallet. Good food along with complete security is something that is always left desired for in other events in the city. Another point of addition is the transportation service, where Bengal will provide multiple double-decker buses for different routes, so that everyone is able to attend conveniently.


The amalgamation of people is what construes the backbone of this festival. Everyone from the after-work executive to families with children all come under one shed-less roof to enjoy music and spend some quality with friends. People are bound to encounter friends or acquaintances, given the high turnout rates.


Sadly there will be no registration process in the venue like earlier. Those who registered previously will be the fortunate ones, who will be able to attend the programme. Nevertheless, with coverage from Maasrangaa Television, some solace will be found as respite.

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