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Playing the Harmonium Part-2

I have been in the writing field since 2015. I love to write and share short stories, memoirs and personal essays here.

Introduction

In this article, I talk about the parts of some more songs composed by the renowned Bengali poets, Kazi Nazrul Islam and Rabindranath Tagore that I like to play on my harmonium to this day. I also reveal some mystery about both the poets and how and when Bangladeshis like me enjoy and listen to their songs. This piece is in continuation of my article, “Playing the Harmonium Part-1.”

I remember a few Nazrul songs from my teenage life. Here are two of the ones I still remember playing on my harmonium.

Reshmi Churir Tale (Bright Bangles’ Beat in part shown below)

To bright bangles’ beat

On the branch of a Flame tree

A Nightingale calls “Peu Kaha Peu Kaha”

Butterflies dance in the flowerbed courtyard

Going around near them to feel their caress.


Shukno Pater Nupur Paye (My favorite part is shown below.)

I have referred to the first stanza of this song, “Dried Leaves of the Anklets on the Feet” in Part-1. Here I present my favorite verse of the song.

The Iranian girl roamed about the desert

She won the hearts of the forest in the rural desert

All of a sudden, the twilight came down

The sand formed her freely flying piece of gauze scarf

She went with the waves glistening in the water

A Video With Myself Singing My Favorite Part of “Shukno Pater Nupur Paye”

Pic: Bengali National Poet, Kazi Nazrul Islam

Pic: Bengali National Poet, Kazi Nazrul Islam

Revealing the Mystery about Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam

Who is actually Kazi Nazrul Islam? What mystery surrounds him?

He is formally the National Poet of Bangladesh. He transformed archaic music into modern ones and also composed revolutionary poetry, songs and music. No other previous poet in Bangladesh crafted Bangla poetry and songs in such a fashion earlier.

He was friends with Rabindranath Tagore, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, and Persian poet, Hafiz. Too many a time, Nazrul’s songs talk about Persian girls.

When his mother died, and later his son Bulbul passed away owing to smallpox, he abandoned building modern and revolutionary poetry and songs and crafted devotional music with a touch of Islamic meters. Even this part of Nazrul was innovative for Muslim Bengalis.

When Rabindranath Tagore passed on, Nazrul was quick to write a Bangla poem about "Let the tired Rabi sleep." Within a year of his passing, Nazrul lost his memory and voice. His family tried, in vain, to cure him by medical treatment at home and abroad. He stayed and suffered in that still world until the end of his life in 1976.

Nazrul's poems and songs are referred to in Bangla as “Nazrul Sangeet.” And until this day, I love to play and sing his songs.

About Tagore’s Outstanding Compositions That I Like to Sing

As I have mentioned in my previous article, "Playing the Harmonium Part-1", Nazrul's songs are fast-paced and quickly rhythmic, while Tagore's songs flow melodiously at a slow pace.

Our National Anthem was composed by Tagore. Here is my favorite part of the anthem:

Amer Shonar Bangla (My Golden Bangla- my favorite part shortened and shown below)

Beauty, shadow, love, and empathy

Envelope the shade of a banyan tree

Golden Bangla, I love you

My Golden Bangla, I love you


I now refer to a part of Rabindra’s renowned song, “Alo Amer Alo.” I mention that song here in a much abridged form. I want to show what it tunes like when I sing a part of the song on my harmonium.

Alo Amer Alo (Light My Light in part shown below)

Light, my light, O, light fills up the world

Light washes over my eyes

Light gets lost in my heart.

The sky awakes, the wind blows, and the whole world smiles.

A Video With Myself Singing A Part of “Alo Amer Alo”

Pic: Famous Bengali Poet, Rabindranath Tagore

Pic: Famous Bengali Poet, Rabindranath Tagore

Revealing the Mystery about Poet Rabindranath Tagore

Now you may have heard about this poet. What is his mystery that makes him so famous?

Tagore had not only framed the national anthem of Bangladesh but also contributed a song, which had been selected as the national anthem by India, and built up music, which had been chosen for the national anthem by Sri Lanka. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. He translated about 100 songs to English that enhanced the song series "Gitanjali" or "Song Offerings" in England. That is how he rose to fame.

His Bengali songs are named "Rabindra Sangeet.” I love listening to his flowing musical songs during my leisure.

Conclusion

Bangladeshis like me love to listen to both Nazrul and Rabindra Sangeet. When they are in elevated and excited moods, they turn their ears to Nazrul's songs, while when they want to relax or take a nap, they gear themselves to Rabindra's songs. I follow the same pattern.

However, some of us only listen to Nazrul’s songs while others follow Rabindra’s songs only. Both the poets have contributed significantly to Bangla culture and music. I am indeed a great fan of both, loving their high-quality songs, listening to them, singing, and playing along.

References

  1. Kazi Nazrul Islam. (2021, June 18). Banglapedia. Retrieved January 31, 2022, from: https://en.banglapedia.org/index.php/Islam,_Kazi_Nazrul
  2. Rabindranath Tagore. (2021, August 3). Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved February 7, 2022, from: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Rabindranath-Tagore

Related Previous Article

Playing the Harmonium Part-1

Do you often listen to songs? Or do you rather sing them? This article presents the parts of some of the songs I love to sing and play on my special native musical instrument, the harmonium. Click the above link to read the article.



© 2022 Rosina S Khan