It was a grand of display of Bangladeshi cultural and its diversity that Bengal Foundation hosted in a 10-day (February 22-March 3) Bengal Sangskriti Utshab Sylhet 2017 at Abul Maal Abdul Muhith Sports Complex.

The festival, dedicating to Gyantapas Abdur Razzaq, concluded on March 3 on a high note. Young artistes of “Geetobitan Bangladesh” set off the day’s programme with presenting Tagore songs and poems like “Neel Digantey”, “Hridoy Amar Nacherey”, “Orey Grihabashi” and “Esho Hey Baishakh”.

Promising Nazrul Sangeet artiste Anindita Chowdhury came next, beautifully rendering several solos including “Gunjamala Gol-e”, “Dola Lagilo Dokhinar”, “Bulbuli Nirob” and Abar Bhalobashar Sadh Jagey”.

A concluding ceremony was followed where civil aviation and tourism minister Rashed Khan Menon attended as chief guest while         Dr. Nazmanara Khanum, noted educationist Syed Manzoorul Islam, managing director of Channel i Faridur Reza Sagar and founder and president of Samdani Art Trust Rajib Samdani spoke as special guests.

In his welcome address, Abul Khair, chairman of Bengal Foundation, said, “Political and economic advancement won’t be meaningful if cultural practice and development does not go hand in hand.” He also sincerely thanked all concerned to make the festival a grand success.

Tagore exponent Rezwana Chowdhury Bannya serenades the audience with her performance.

“We have already included the timing of Bengal Classical Music Festival in our tourism calendar so that the grandest festival attracts both foreign and local tourists to Bangladesh at that time. The holding of more festivals will help shape a better society,” said Rashed Khan Menon.

Shedding light on the importance of art, literature and culture, Syed Manzoorul Islam thanked Bengal Foundation to bring the festival to his hometown. He also echoed Rajib Samdani’s proposal of continuing the festival in Sylhet annually.

Artistes of Bengal Parampara Sangeetalay offered group sitar recital at the event. Renowned Tagore singer Rezwana Chowdhury Bannya entertained the audience with popular songs like “Amar Hiar Majhey”, “Tomar Khola Hawa,” “Amar Poran Jaha Chaye”, “Jadi Tor Daak Shune Keu”, “Kotobaro Bhebechhinu” and ”Sakhi Bhabona Kaharey Bol-e”. She also rendered a Radharaman song “Amar Bondhu Doyamoy”.

Seasoned Baul singer Shafi Mondal gave mesmerising performances, starting off with Lalon songs “Elahi Almin”, “Chatok Banchey Kemoney”, “Kanar Haat Bazaar”, “Chander Gaye,” “Anander Bajarey” and “Mon Mondirey”. Shafi Mondal also performed songs on request. He sent the crowd into auditory joy when he started singing Paban Das Baul’s “Dil Ki Doya Hoyna”. He also performed Shah Abdul Karim songs and several other folk songs composed by the mystic bards of Sylhet region.

The largest number of audience (around 45,000) attended the concluding day’s festival. At one point, security personnel were bound to open up the entry gate to the enthusiastic crowd. The audience of Sylhet has a natural inclination to folk music and the festival truly delivered. Cultural aficionados thoroughly enjoyed performances of varied songs, instrumental recitals, dance, recitation, theatre and film. Besides, the grand scale festival has an art camp participated by prominent and promising Bangladeshi artists, a craft fair displaying the traditional crafts of Bangladesh, a literary conference, a symposium on architecture titled “Agamir Sylhet” and a display of traditional musical instruments and architectural designs and maps of Sylhet and Dhaka.

Source: The Daily Star