‘Kaveri Nodi Jole ke Go Balika’, a sweet melodious voice was first asking this question to its listeners. She claimed to be rebel poet Kazi Nazrul Islam’s student who in turn was singing his songs. The country knows this student by the name of Feroza Begum.
Born on July 28, 1930, to lawyer Mohammad Ismail and Begum Kowkabunnesa, this Nazrul Geeti singer has entertained people with her voice for decades. Her mother was a classical singer and that is how she was kept very close to music since her infant years. From school until college, Feroza hardly ever slipped into the second position from first. Her academic journey was very promising. However, this singer had never received any formal classical training in music.
Her first performance was aired on All India radio which was applauded by many listeners, along with Music composer Sunil Bose who was taken over by her sweet and melodious voice and appreciated her talent. She was only a student studying in class six at that time, and for a mere child, she was excellent.
She met poet Nazrul at the age of ten and started to take music lessons from him. Being one of the very few students who had the opportunity to take lessons from the rebel poet himself, Feroza then decided to start singing his songs. She schooled under him for the next two years and finally got the biggest break as a singer. After Nazrul, Feroza only has composed Nazrul Geeti songs until now.
Firoza was born in Gopalganj on July 28, 1930 to the zamindars of Ratail Ghonaparha. Her father was Khan Bahadur Mohammad Ismail, mother Begum Kaokabunnesa. She became drawn to music in her childhood. The singer started her career in 1940s. She first sang in All India Radio while studying in class six. She met with poet Kazi Nazrul Islam at the age of 10. Nazrul was impressed by her vocal talent. She was also a direct student of poet Nazrul. Poet Nazrul was then the chief trainer of HMV.
Feroza set her place in the hearts of Bengali audience by singing two Nazrul songs in the All India Radio. Her first record was published in 1942 from HMV when she was 12. Since than 12 LP, 4 EP, 6 CD and more than 20 audio records were released.
The artiste lived in Calcutta (now Kolkata) from 1954 until she moved to Dhaka in 1967. In the illustrious career that followed, Feroza sang modern Bangla songs, Gazhal, Kawali, Bhajan and varied genres of music. She performed around 300 solo concerts. In 1949, Firoza and Talat Mahmud were the voices that inaugurated the Dhaka Shortwave Radio. She was also the first chairman of Nazrul Institute.
In 1956, Firoza married to Kamal Dasgupta, a singer, composer and lyricist. Her sons Hamin Ahmed and Shafin Ahmed are also musicians. They are currently the members of rock band Miles. In recognition of her contribution, Feroza Begum was honoured with many awards included Independence Day Award, Netaji Shuvash Chandra Award, Satyajit Ray Award, Nasiruddin Gold Medal, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy Gold Medal, Best Nazrul Sangeet Singer Award, Nazrul Academy Award, Churulia Gold Medal, D.Lit from Bordwan University, Gold Disk from CBS, Japan Lifetime honorary award, Meril-Prothom Alo Award, Bongo Shomman, Sheltech Award and more.
July 28 marked the 90th birth anniversary of Firoza Begum.