Interview: Music Director Debashish Raychaudhuri on AMAR JABAR BELATE Audio CD Release on Tagore's 70th Death Anniversary

By Arijit Chakraborty

Click on Play to listen to Debashish Raychaudhuri on "Amar Jabar Belate" Rabindrasangeet & narration album
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Editor's Notes: The Bengali Rabindrasangeet and Narration audio CD release "Amar Jabar Belatey" is a collage that traces the final few days of the life of Rabindranath Tagore, his endurance of the agony and his passing out of existance on baishe srabon by juxtaposing it with his death-defying creations in the forms of poems, songs, words and images. The CD was released on the 70th death anniversary of Tagore by Sravasti ( Concept, script, narration and direction are by Chaitali Dasgupta - you have already heard our interview with Chaitali in this post. Actgor, Director, Singer and Theater Personality Debashish Raychaudhuri is the music director of the remarkable album - in this audio interview that you can listen to online by pressing the Play button in the player above, Arijit Chakraborty chats with Debashish about the album and about Tagore and his works.

You can also listen to clips from the album "Amar Jabar Belate" in this post.

Washington, DC, Aug 14, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) Debashish Raychaudhuri, a professor of English language in University of Kolkata, is a very well known personality in the world of Rabindra Sangeet in Kolkata and is engaged in various research work regarding Rabindranath Tagore, whose 150th birth anniversary is being celebrated all over the world. Debashish was at the helm of the music direction in the production AMAR JABAR BELATE regarding the concept of death expressed by Rabindranath in his creations and its contrast with the pain and agony the poet himself faced during his last days.

Amar Jabar Belaye

The music and recitation CD was released in Kolkata on August 8, 2011, coinciding with "Baishe Shrabon" as per the Bengali calender, the day Rabindranath passed away. 2011 marks the 70th anniversary of the bard's death.

In his informal discussion in the studio of Washington Bangla Radio, Debashish explained that his newest project AMAR JABAR BELATE is not created with Rabindranath's 70th death anniversary in mind. The same production is being performed live by him and his team with a different name HEY MAHAJIBON for the last few years and they consider the production something similar to their "Pitri Tarpon" towards Rabindranath. They decided to release the music and elocution album on the 70th death anniversary of the poet with a slightly modified script in which the last few days of Rabinbdranath were highlighted, leading to the creation of AMAR JABAR BELATE.

The common people in Bengal may be of the opinion that only the songs written by the poet during the last few days were used in this production, but actually it is not so, as Debashish explains. Rabindranath had faced death all through his life, which started when he was in his pre-teens with the death of his mother. Thereafter, the poet went through a series of bereavements including his son, his daughter and other close relatives, and every time the poet had tried to overcome his sorrow with his creations. And that is why songs and poems related to death were written by him all through his life.

Rabindranath had always talked about life in his writings and thats why he was regarded as "Jiboner Kobi". But at the same time he regarded death as the beginning of another phase - he never regarded death as something final, thus also earning him the title of "Mrityu-r theke uttoron-er kobi".

During the course of this candid and very informative discussion, Debashish Raychaudhuri also expressed his concern about the lack of knowledge regarding Rabindranath among common Bengalees, among whom knowledge about Rabindranath is limited to a few songs, a few poems and a couple of dance-dramas. As explained by Debashish, 2/3rd of the creations of Rabindranath are essays on subjects of various nature, which were initially written in English for lectures which were read in Europe. But the common people of India, especially of Bengal, have little knowledge regarding these remarkable writings, which Debashish feels results from the lack of basic education in India even after so many years of independence.

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