In the past two years, the world of music has lost several luminaries, some from our native Bangladesh and some from beyond the border. Jamini pays tribute to honour these musicians for their immense contribution.
Lucky Akhand (1956-2017)
Lucky Akhand was an eminent Bangladeshi singer-composer who passed away aged 60. Akhand’s journey with music began at the tender age of 5, with him later enlisting as a music composer of HMV Pakistan aged 14 and a musician of HMV India, aged 16. In 1971, he joined the Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra, helping inspire and boost the morale of freedom fighters with his rendition of patriotic songs. Lucky Akhand, his first album was released in 1984, with hit singles Agey Jodi Jantam, Amay Dekona and Ei Neel Monihar making him an immensely popular musician. Akhand served as the Music Director for Bangladesh Betar, and has several albums to his name.
Kishori Amonkar (1931-2017)
The grand legend of the Jaipur gharana, Hindustani classical vocalist Kishori Amonkar passed away this year, aged 84. An innovative exponent of the gharana, Amonkar was known as one of the foremost singers in the Hindustani tradition. In recognition of her contribution to the arts, she received numerous awards, including the Padma Bhushan in 1987 and Padma Vibhushan in 2002, two of India’s most prestigious civilian honours. She became a fellow of the Sangeet Natak Akademi in 2010, a lifetime appointment held by just a few dozen individuals, and was also awarded the first Pandit Bhimsen Joshi Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.
Sudhin Das (1930-2017)
Sudhin Das was a revered Guru who dedicated his life to the practice of Nazrul Sangeet, passing away at the age of 87. Das documented original notations of Nazrul’s music after the death of the poet. Initially he worked with the Nazrul Academy, and later with the Nazrul Institute, completing 50 volumes of work. His foundational years saw him delve into the world of Rabindra Sangeet, Nazrul Sangeet and adhunik songs. As an enlisted artist for the national radio station Bangladesh Betar, Das not only explored these genres but also composed modern renditions of these tunes. Das was awarded the Ekushey Padak by the Government of Bangladesh.
Girija Devi (1929 –2017)
Iconic Indian classical vocalist Girija Devi passed away this year, aged 88. Performing classical and light classical music she helped elevate the profile of thumri, her repertoire including kajri, chaiti, and holi. Devi’s public debut was made in All India Radio Allahabad in the year 1949 and it wasn’t until 1951 when she made her first public performance in Bihar. Ever since, she has performed at international festivals and concerts, garnering widespread acclaim. Besides for the Padma Shri (1972), Padma Bhushan (1989) and Padma Vibhushan (2016), she was awarded with the Tansen Samman by the Madhya Pradesh government, as well as the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1977).
Dr Karunamaya Goswami (1942-2017)
Dr Karunamaya Goswami was a Bangladeshi musicologist, litterateur, researcher, educationist, translator, editor and columnist who passed away aged 74. Despite being widely recognised as a Nazrul exponent, he also published several extensively acclaimed research-based work on Tagore and Bengali music. Sangeet Kosh (1985), published by Bangla Academy is one of his best known work. He also has novels Lahorer Rahim Kher and Bharat Bhager Ashrukana, written on the partition of the subcontinent to his name. Goswami was honoured with the Nazrul Memorial Gold Medal Award (1987), Bangla Academy Literary Award (2008), Ekushey Padak (2012) and the Tagore Award (2013).
Mohammed Abdul Jabbar (1938-2017)
Mohammed Abdul Jabbar was a Bangladeshi singer and one of the artistes of Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra, the 1971 war-time radio station that played an important part in broadcasting the role of independence. He passed away this year, aged 78. Tumi Ki Dekhechho Kobhu Jiboner Porajoy, Salam Salam Hazar Salam and Joy Bangla, Banglar Joy—three of his songs were part of the top 20 all-time Bangla songs in a 2006 survey by BBC Bangla. After independence, he became well-known as a playback singer. The song O Re Neel Daria from the 1978 move Shareng Bou shot him to fame. For his monumental contribution to the Bangladeshi music realm, he was awarded the Ekushey Padak in 1980 and the Swadhinata Padak in 1996.
Rais Khan (1939-2017)
Rais Khan, regarded as ‘one of the greatest sitar players of all times’ passed away on May 6, 2017, aged 77. A descendant of great sitarists of the Etawah gharana, his mother was the elder sister of Vilayat Khan, one of India’s well-known sitar maestros. Khan was influenced by his maternal uncle’s style, playing the ‘Gandhar-Pancham’ sitar: an instrument standardised and designed by Vilayat Khan himself. The first Pakistani artiste to perform in the Indian Parliament in 2012, Rais Khan was awarded Pakistan’s third highest civilian honour, the Sitara-i-Imtiaz, by the Government of Pakistan in 2017. He was last seen performing a piece in raag Hamsadhwani on Coke Studio Pakistan’s Season 7 in 2014.
Bari Siddiqui (1954-2017)
Bangladesh’s eminent folk singer-songwriter, flutist and musician passed away aged 63. Siddiqui was best known for his songs Shua Chan Pakhi and Amar Gaye Joto Dukkho Shoy. He formally trained under Ustad Gopal Dutt of Netrokona at the age of 12. Ever since 1981, he trained under the tutelage of Ustad Aminur Rahman for six years and then V G Karnaad, notedclassical flautist from Pune, India. Although his music career began around the 70s, he rose to fame in 2000 with the release of Humayun Ahmed’s film Shrabon Megher Din, later being honoured with the Bachsas Award.
In the past two years, the world of music has lost several luminaries, some from our native Bangladesh and some from beyond the border. Jamini pays tribute to honour these musicians for their immense contribution. Lucky Akhand (1956-2017) Lucky Akhand was an eminent Bangladeshi singer-composer who passed away aged 60. Akhand’s journey with music began…