Pablo Picasso, 1937
Last evening, I went to a concert of rabindro songeet at Chowdiah Memorial. The publicity brochure promised 20 chosen Tagore songs that bring out the various facets of crisis…both personal and otherwise. The concert theme was Crisis and Tagore. There were a few celebrated voices from Kolkata but what appealed to me was the innovative attempt to fuse robindro songeet with a symphony orchestra. This brought in a diverse flavour to the much-celebrated songs. Particularly the closing song “sonkochero biubholotaye nijere opoman…”, which Tagore wrote to encourage the women students at Shantiniketan to learn jiu jitsu from the Japanese master whom he had invited to stay in Shatiniketan, adapts well to the symphonic style. A few others were memorable too like “eki labonno purno praan…”sung by Poroma Banerjee, which Satyajit Ray used widely in many of his films (Ghare Baire to name one). Though the attempt to give robindro songeet a different dimension, succeeded just partly, I am enthused to know that we are opening up what we consider an integral part of our identity, to these kinds of experimentation. For this alone I am glad. I am aware that many dislike and trivialize such attempts (I heard someone say "Rubbish! This is Tagore in Crisis!") but I strongly believe that experimentation is one way of keeping culture alive.
Ohhh! I must mention that the concert stage backdrop was Picasso’s Guernica.