Friday, August 05, 2005

lost bengali melodies

The other day, the Bengali ETV news capsule showed a gentleman operating an old model gramophone where you have to physically wind the machine and replace the stylus like pin after one side of the record is played. He collects vintage Bengali records and preserves them for posterity. The records are mostly of the 78 rpm variety, heavy, brittle stuff. Once the grooves of the record get spoiled due to continuous usage, the unserviceable records are painted in contrasting colors or molded into wall pieces to decorate the drawing rooms.

I traveled back in time and remembered singers of yore who had melodious voices, of lyricists who penned wonderful words and of the time when singers like Sanat Singha, Alpana Bandopadhaya, Aparesh Lahiri, Bansari Lahiri, Amal Mukhopadhaya and Subir Sen were the craze. Of course front liners were always there like Hemanta Mukherji, Sandhya Mukherji, Talat Mahmood and Lata Mangeshkar to name a few. But the offerings of the others singers were something special. They added variety to festive seasons because, in those days, release of new recordings was devoid of fanfare and usually during Durga Puja time. A week before the start of the festive season, selected Puja special songs were played over the All India Radio.
It is a sad state of affairs that very little effort is made to highlight these talents to the modern generation. The presence on the net of these persons is negligible, as good as not being there at all. Whatever little is available does not attract attention. I append below a few links where some information is available –

Sanat Singha, Alpana Bandopadhaya

Subir Sen

Amal Mukhopadhaya

Aparesh and Bansari Lahiri

It would be worthwhile for enthusiasts to carry out a study on this subject. In case anyone is able to add to the existing information (especially their profiles with photographs), it will help spread the message that melodies of Bengal are unique and deserve to be located and preserved. In this connection, some work has been undertaken.

Please see the following link -