Living Encyclopedia of Old Bengali Music Biman-da died today!!!

The Living Encyclopedia of Old and Traditional Bengali Music BIMAN MKHOPADHYAY is quiet forever... he died today, the 16th of March, suffering from old-age related problems for a long time now. This BLACK year- the  2011, the world of Bengali music has lost yet another 'Nakshatra' (after the sad demise of Suchitra Mitra, Pintu Bhattacharya, Utpalendu Chowdhury etc.)...I don't know what's in store for us in the coming months???

Born in September 1930, Biman Mukhopadhyay , though recorded some songs and gave performances, he was everyone's "Biman-da" and a remarkable TRAINER, at least where Traditional Bengali Song details were to be reached, especially to the 'tee'. An experienced Music-man, Biman Mukhopadhyay could very well be termed as a Living Brittanica of Bengali Music, especially the Old and Traditional genre.

Biman Da recorded his first song in HMV in the year 1955. He received many awards in his lifetime, like:

The "Harmonica Sangeet Samman" given by Innovative Systems Ltd. On 25th December, 2007 for his Life Time's Achievement in the field of Music.
"Sara jibaner samman" given by H.M.V in 2000.
"Uttam Kumar Award" given by Shilpi Sansad on 3rd September,2008.

During his long career spanning he came in touch with many stalwarts and some of them recorded whole albums under his training and tutelage. Namely:

* Late Manabendra Mukhopadhyay.
    * Late Robin Majumdar.
    * Late Suprobha Sarkar.
    * Late Jaganmoy Mitra.

    *Late Batuk Nandy
    * Late Hemanta Mukhopadhyay.
    * Sri Mrinal Chakrabarty.
    * Sri Paran Bandhopadhyay.
    * Smt. Madhuri Mukhopadhyay.

 He loved reading books related to Literature and History. An avid football buff, Biman-da played intense football and was a fast runner as far as I know, and also took part as an active member of the school's football team.

Sri Biman Mukhopaddhyay, a  person who had dedicated his life for Bengali songs, was born in September 1930. His actual date of birth is not known but it was one day before or after 'RADHASTAMI' as per the Bengali calendar i.e. "panjika".

As he used to say, there was no custom in his family lo celebrate  a  'Birth Day'. His Mother and his Grand Mother used to mention different dates of his birth, which literally confused him.

My dad, Late Batuk Nandy, the legendary guitarist, was very close to him, and took needful advice before he went onto record 2 whole albums (L.P. Records)of Nazrul geeti in the years 1977 and 1979, I still remember sitting with Biman-Jethu in his old house in Sovabazar, with my father playing the Lap Steel Guitar, plugged to his favorite Gibson Minute-man Amp, and accompanying him was Radhakanta Nandy, the famous Table exponent, who played as a recording artiste in most of my dad's albums. The hot singaras (small ones, a typical delicacy of North Kolkata) served with sweetened tea brings back Biman Da's memories and his hearty laughter that rings in my ears. "Biman-da where ever you are... be in Peace. Accept my Pronaam!" The rehearsals used to stretch from early afternoon till late at night, and while coming back, in our good-old Amby, while driving my father used to tell me about Biman-da and his deep knowledge about Music and it's other branches. Those were the days... I still remember them often with most eyes!

The 300 year old house where Sri Mukhopadhyay lived, is on Tarak Chatterjee Lane. Kolkata-7OOO06. His neighbor Ramkumar Chatterjee, the lengend of Tappa, Puratoni and Traditional Music was a good friend of his. By the by, Ramkumar Babu too passed away in March, 2009.

His ancestral residence was at Khardah in the District of 24 Parganas(North). His father was Late Subol Chandra Mukhopadhyay and mother late Nivanani Mukhopadhyay.

Formal practice of music started in his family from the time of his great grand father Late Bhola Nath Mukhopadhyay. Before that, his great-great grand father Ramhari Mukhopadhyay was a regular singer at 'Madon Mohon Temple' at Bishnupur, Bankura,West Bengal.

Sri Biman Mukhopadhyay's academic education started at the local primary school. After completing Higher Primary Standard he was admitted in A V School. Shyambazar, Kolkata. In 1949 he passed the Matriculation Examination and was admitted in Scottish Church College. Simultaneously he also started learning vocal music from his father. Later on, he started taking lessons from Subol Dasgupta and Kamal Dasgupta. However, formal and routine practice of Classical Songs started under Satyen Ghosal.

In All India Radio the first song of Sri Mukhopadhyay '"Oi Sab Jyotsna Hase Akase" was on-air in the year 1954. It was written and composed by Sri Mukhopadhyay himself. Late Subol Dasgupta composed his first recorded song. In one side of the record was a 'Geet' and in the other side was a 'Ghazal'!

However,his second record came out in the year 1967, just a few days before the death of his father. The lyricist of these songs was Utsab Babu(Late Dhirendra Nath Chartopadhyay). On one side of the vinyl record  was "Ja Cheyechhi Mago Dao dao Bole, Tar Cheye Besi Diyechho. Ami Sudhu Tomay Dekhite Cheyechhi. Deke Tumi Kachhe Niyechho". On the reverse side of the vinyl was "Krishn Rupe Darao Kali amar Hriday Singhasane".
In the year 1954-55 Sri. Mukhopadhyay joined HMV as a Trainer to primarily train the legendary vocalist Angur Bala Debi for her ongoing album recording.

To sum it up, I  must say that Biman-da will be remembered for his musicality and his sound knowledge with deep emotions regarding Bengali Music, and will be remembered by all very fondly.

Many of his students are leading singers of the industry today.