Noted Bengali Nazrulgeeti Singer LIPIKA DAS from Kolkata: WBRi Interview-Feature

Video: Lipika Das chats with WBRi

Lipika DasKolkata, April 14, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations) Dedicated practitioners of Nazrulgeeti are somewhat rare in Bengal. Which is why meeting Lipika Das at her Kolkata residence turned out to be a revealing experience. After a warm welcome, the questions came forth naturally and the interview was candid.

Lipika Das began her music lessons at the age of seven under Dwijen Ghosh, an eminent music personality from Bangladesh. Under him, she learned several forms of music including classical and semi-classical. In fact she also began performing on stage under him at various local music programs and was soon able to free herself of the inhibitions of public performances. Although she learned the singing practices across various genres, she chose to specialize in Nazrulgeeti. However, owing to audience demands, she often has to switch to other musical forms such as Rabindrasangeet, folk and contemporary music.

Speaking about the popularity of Nazrulgeeti in Bengal, Lipika is of the opinion that although the songs of Nazrul have not attained the same measure of popularity in West Bengal as compared to Rabindrasangeet, yet there is considerable demand for his songs, but only amongst certain groups of people. She attributes it to the lack of awareness and proper presentation of Nazrulgeeti. Talking about the differences between the two forms, Lipika believes that apart from the obvious disparities in terms of the rhythmic and tonal qualities, Nazrulgeeti has a far greater impact amongst the common masses because of the simplicity of its lyrics, whereas Rabindrasangeet has greater appeal amongst the educated classes. She realizes that there needs to be much more awareness in West Bengal about Nazrul songs before it attains the scale of popularity as in Bangladesh. The reason for this, she believes, is that the pattern of music preferred in Bengal is very different from that in Bangladesh. As such, an introduction of varied musical patterns can help in a greater acceptance of Nazrul songs here in Bengal.

Lipika has her hands full, juggling office work with her singing. In fact she has been part of several cultural events at her workplace and has won awards at national level competitions singing Nazrul songs amongst others. Being part of such cultural meets has given her the necessary boost to continue with her singing and also facilitated future invitations to perform in several places. On the top of her wish list is to have the opportunity to perform in Bangladesh, where the reception to Nazrulgeeti is like nowhere else. Recently she has independently produced a music CD with songs sung by her. The songs are an eclectic mixture of Nazrulgeeti, Rabindrasangeet and several other contemporary songs with Lipika lending her voice. The CD’s have been well received by many and she is encouraged to bring out songs of Nazrul in the days to come. She also runs a music school from home named ‘Oikotaan’ where she teaches music to many aspirants. In the future, she has plans to widen the awareness and scope of new music forms as she continues to successfully dabble with work and pleasure.