CELEBRATING THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF BANGLADESH INDEPENDENCE on Victory Day 16th December at British Library 2021, with stories, song and music booking now available on https://www.bl.uk/events/songs-of-freedom-celebrating-fifty-years-of-bangladesh.
PRESENTED BY THE SWADHINATA TRUST
On December 16th 1971 the nation of Bangladesh was born after a war of liberation from the rule of West Pakistan.
On this day we are pleased to launch the Swadhinata Trust archive of our oral history project, Bengali Music and Musicians in the UK, now available on the British Library Sound Archive website on this link cadensa.bl.uk.
Tonight’s Programme includes:
Mahmudur Rahman Benu-bhai who led the Bangladesh Mukti Shangrami Shilpi Shangstha Liberation Team of Artists in 1971, touring the war zone and refugee camps in India singing Songs of Freedom.
Moushumi Bhowmik, an Indian Bengali singer, writer and music archivist. She composed and sang the iconic ”Joshor Road’ for Tareque Masud’s documentary, ‘Muktir Kotha’, which has become an anthem of the 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh. Her research and collection of field recordings from Bangladesh may be found in The Travelling Archive
Budhaditya Bhattacharyya, an Indian musician and music researcher based in London, UK. Trained in Hindustani classical music and modern Bengali songs currently under the tutelage of Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty. As a DDS-funded doctoral researcher at Durham University, Budhaditya is working on musical histories of migration and citizenship between Bengal and Britain.
The Grand Union Orchestra, led by composer Tony Haynes, has an long history of collaboration with artists from Bangladesh. Tonight he and three members of GUO are joined by Yousuf Ali Khan on tabla and singer Lucy Rahman performing songs by Lucy’s father Sheikh Luthfur Rahman, celebrated singer/songwriter and activist in the cause of Independence.
The event will be hosted by Julie Begum, chair of Swadhinata Trust, and Valentine Harding, a member of Swadhinata Trust and volunteer researcher for the Bengali Music and Musicians in the UK project.
Concert held at the British Library Knowledge Centre on December 16th 2021 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh Victory Day and launch of the Bengali Music and Musicians in the UK Oral History Project.
Hosted by Julie Begum and Val Harding.
Introduction to the Swadhinata Trust and history of December 16th 1971 given by Julie Begum.
Film clip shown from Sheik Mujibar Rahman March 7th 1971 speech in Dhaka
Introduction to the Bengali Music and Musicians in the UK Project given by Val Harding.
Film clip shown from the film Muktir Gaan to introduce Mahmuder Rahman Benubhai.
Mahmuder Rahman Benubhai: vocals and harmonium.
Yamin Chowdery: tabla.
- Deshey deshey bromi tobo dukho gangahiye (travel from country to country singing your sad songs). Traditional folksong.
- Pakposhuder martey hobey cholorenao dhaiya, nouka ebar choley moder juddher shaman loiya, heia re heia (3) (to kill all the Pakistani animals, ride all the boats, our boats now carry firearms). Freedom fighting song (Muktir Gaan)
- Jessore, Khulna, Bogura, Pabna, Dhaka, Borishal, Noakali; tara Hindu o noy, Muslim noy, shudhu Bangali (J,K,B,P,D,B,N, they are neither Hindu or Muslim, only Bengali). Freedom fighting song (Muktir Gaan).
Moushumi Bhowmik: vocals
Ben Heartland: double bass
Ros Acton: Cello
- Joshor Road: written and composed by Moushumi Bhowmik, based on Allen GInsberg’s ‘September on Jessore Road’.
- Aay Go Uma: traditional
- Pranonath Bondhu Re (one verse): written and composed by Pir Mojiruddin (early 20th century) of Syedpur, Sylhet
Sung A capella (unaccompanied voice)
- Batash Tomay Dakchhe: written by Moushumi Bhowmik,
Composed by Moushumi Bhowmik and Oliver Weeks
Budhaditya Bhattacharyya: vocals and harmonium
Harjodh Singh: esraj
- Jwale pran durnitir chitay (Lives burn in the pyres of anarchy): a Bengali song based around Raga Bilasi Todi— a blend of two traditional ragas, Miyan ki Todi and Bilaskhani Todi—created by Jnan Prakash Ghosh. Composer and lyricist: Budhaditya Bhattacharyya. Co-artiste: Harjodh Singh (esraj).
- Ganer tarani beye (Rowing the song-boat): a Bengali khayal in Raga Bhupali set to teentaal (16 beats). Lyricist: Syed Shamsul Huda. Composer: Munshi Raisuddin. Co-artistes: Harjodh Singh (esraj), Yamin Chowdhury (tabla).
- Laye badhava jag siraj (Sun, the harbinger of good tidings): a Hindi khayal in Raga Bhupali set to rupaktaal (7 beats). Composer and lyricist: Budhaditya Bhattacharyya. Co-artistes: Harjodh Singh (esraj), Yamin Chowdhury (tabla).
- Sakalbelar aloy baje biday byathar Bhairabi (Tagore’s English translation: “The morning-light aches | With the pain of parting”): Rabindranath Tagore wrote this song based on Raga Bhairavi during his stay in Stuttgart on 26 September, 1926. Co-artiste: Harjodh Singh.
- Shanti mantra (Prayer for peace). Co-artiste: Harjodh Singh
Grand Union Orchestra
Tony Haynes: Director, Composer, keyboard. Lucy Rahman: vocals. Yousuf Ali Khan: tabla. Shanti Jayasinha: trumpet, cello. Louise Elliot: tenor sax, flute. Gerry Hunt: bass guitar.
- Rokte Aamar Aabar Proloy Dola (composer Sheikh Luthfur Rahman). Tenor sax solo: Louise Elliott
- Ami Apar Hoye (composer Lalon Shah). Flute solo: Louise Elliott; cello solo: Shanti Jayasinha
- Lanchito Nipirito Janatar Joy (composer Sheikh Luthfur Rahman). Trumpet solo: Shanti Jayasinha
- Churir Tale (composer Kobi Nasrul Islam). Tenor sax solo: Louise Elliott
- Milon Hobe (composer Lalon Shah). Trumpet solo: Shanti Jayasinha; tabla solo: Yousuf Ali Khan
Note: interviews with Mahmuder Rahman Benubhai, Moushumi Bhowmik, Tony Haynes and Yousuf Ali Khan, Julie Begum and Val Harding are available on this website.