Banga Sangeet Mela 2011 - A special report from the event popularly known as GAANMELA

By Bhargav Lahiri
Vocalist, Bangla Band “Dasamik” 

Calcutta, May 15, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) Music is the language of our heart. And no doubt it has been the only media by which we can share and express nearly all aspects of human existence. Even being a true Bengali rather a Bengali performer there is no doubt the word ‘Music’ becomes more poignant and valuable and rich when it meets with the word ‘Bengali’.

Bengal has given birth to Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Atul Prasad and countless more who took Bengali music and moreover Bengali culture in front of the world.  And from the very beginning the Bengalees have been pioneers of different types of Gharanas.

The acceptance of  Bengali music has always given courage to Bengali composers from folk to rock. Bengali songs have been promoted at international platforms to a very short social gatherings in different times at different venues."Bangla Sangeet Mela" (BSM) is one of them that is carrying the rich heritage from a long time back.

I, as a contemporary Bengali performer, could not stop myself from penning down a few words on Bengal’s culture and Bengali music when it’s a matter of “Bangla Sangeet Mela”. So let us discuss a few aspects of significance of BSM in today’s Bengali culture.

Like prior years, Bengali Sangeet Mela was organized with its usual glory, commencing on “Pohela Boisakh” (the new year in Bengali calendar) in different auditoriums of Kolkata, mainly in Nandan, Rabindra Sadan, Nazrul Manch, Girish Manch, Sisir Manch and others. The event is organized under government stewardship with involvement of the Government of the State of West Bengal.

Before saying few words on that I would like to look back to the beginning. “Bangla Sangeet mela” was started mainly with the motivation of promoting new talented artists of Bengal. It had a huge impact on cultured Bengali people and moreover on upcoming talented singers to prove themselves before the generation. It was maintained and regulated by talented personalities of Bengal. Today's many renowned  artists have come under the spotlight through BSM. In fact the champion or the runner up or talented performer of  “Sangeet Academy” were given a chance to perform.

Today's contemporary singers Monomoy Bhattacharya, Shampa Kundu, Swagatalaxmi Dasgupta, Jayati and many others have been introduced via this platform. Awards like MOHOR KONIKA PUROSKAR commemorating the legendary Rabindrasangeet singer Kanika Bandopadhyay used to be given to the experts. Now Bangla Sangeet Mela is trying to take steps to recognize modern trends in Bengali music - Bangla Band Performances, Bengali Jibanmukhi songs and modern songs and even Recitations are being performed besides Thumri, Ghazal, Classical and Light Classical music.

But in spite of having all the glories I am very sorry to say that Bangla Sangeet Mela is losing its impact day by day. With an unknown reason the mass involvement and the gathering of the people are becoming less. Bengalis are busy eating junk food on Nandan Campus or may be gossiping about newly released Hindi movies rather than listening to the music performances on the outside stage of the campus. To be very frank it is hard to find even in the news papers the advertisement of BSM these days.

It is an important matter to think about. I, Bhargav Lahiri, being a vocalist of a Bengali Band (Dasamik) don’t want BSM to get wiped out from people's minds in this way. As we Bengali belong to a rich heritage, we have to be much more conscious and  responsible on our culture and customs.

Disclaimer: Opinions in this post are purely of the author and not necessarily of WBRi.