A Living Legend of Bengali Folk Music

 

 

I thought, I’d move up to Assam
Work in the plantation, and be rich
Eat, drink, and be merry…
But alas, now I’m broke
Beaten by the broker
and cheated by the owner
He threatens, “I’ll skin you alive…”
They tricked me…they tricked me big
and sent off to Assam

[…]

 

Yesterday, legendary folk singer Abhijit Basu from Calcutta visited us in Brooklyn, and with his beautiful, unassuming, inimitable style, sang a few songs, playing on our home harmonium. This is an illustrious artist, and a scholar on folk songs. An encyclopedia on the rich, diverse Bengali folk music, full of history and fables.

 

He has built a new genre of music, and a school of thousands of students worldwide. A wonderful friend, and also a man whose company makes you happy. No ego, no arrogance, no snobbery. Very uncharacteristic of today’s profit-driven, fame-driven cultural world. Listen, and enjoy.

 

I will translate (or summarize) the songs later. Major film makers such Buddhadev Dasgupta used his songs. And he is singing at our home, at ease, relaxed, smiling.

 

The song Abhijit sang yesterday at home. This is the sequence from Buddhadev Dasgupta’s hair-raising movie Uttara (a girl named Uttara). Watch the choreography. Absolutely fascinating, I think. What do you think? Link at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4vdic5YrPM

 

An abosolutely unforgettable day of music.

 

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York