Saudha’s International Jibanananda Festival on 17 & 18 February

Saudha Society of Poetry and Indian music, a Leeds based UK’s leading Indian classical music promoters is hosting an International Jibanananda Festival (online). The festival of literature, music and dance aims predominately to introduce the works of an iconic post-Tagorian Bengali poet of 20th century, Jibanananda Das, and it is going to be streaming live from Saudha’s Facebook and Youtube page on 17th and 18th February 2021 from 3pm to 8pm each day. Many prominent academicians, writers, spoken-word artists from all across the globe are joining to render profound re-interpretation of some of his major works for global audiences.

Being presided over by the vice-chancellor of Barisal university in Bangladesh Prof Md Sadequl Arefin, the inauguration session on Wednesday 17th February will feature a series of talks by the minister of education of Bangladesh Dr Dipu Moni, an acclaimed poet, essayist and professor of Bengali department at Kazi Nazrul University in India Jahar Sen Majumdar, a nephew of Jibanananda das and an author Amitananda Das, an award-winning poet, versatile writer and the director of Bangabandhu institute of comparative literature and culture of Jahangirnagar university, Prof Shamim Reza, the director of Jibanananda Das Research Centre of Barisal university Prof Muhasin Uddin.


The first-day of the festival will also bring a few more talks shedding a new light on Jibanananda’s works by an author and the director of Nazrul Centre of Kazi Nazrul university in India Prof Swati Guha, a prominent Bangladeshi critic, writer and a former professor of Dhaka university Dr Syed Manzoorul Islam, an award-winning poet and professor of Leeds Trinity university Oz Hardwick, a prominent theorist, poet and the former vice-chancellor of Assam University Prof Tapodhir Bhattacharjee, a versatile writer, critic and associate professor at Grand Valley State university in USA Azfar Hussain as well as an award-winning fiction-writer and a medical anthropologist at Sussex university in the UK Dr Shahaduz Zaman.

The first day of the festival will also witness a musical interpretation of Jibananada’s poetry by a classical vocalist from India Koyel Bhattacharya, Sarod player Subhaasish Banerjee, a talented semi-classical vocalist Amith Dey along with visual interpretation of Jibanananda’s poetry through dance by a Columbian Kathak dancer Jessica Correa, an Indian Kathak exponent Nayanika Ghosh Chowdhury. This also includes spoken-word performances by Schubert vocalist Erick Schelander, Poppy Shahnaz and Manash Chowdhury. An award-winning photographer Pablo Khaled and Nishat Afza will produce photographic interpretations of a few visually-rich poems.

The second day of the festival is opening up with a visual interpretation of poetry by an Indian Kathak exponent Sangita Chatterjee. An Indian Kathak dancer Ameera Patankar, a French-Indian Bharatnatyam Alissa Alibay will produce a few more visual dimensions through dance with the recitation of Jibanananda’s poetry by Erik Schelander. A leading Bengali painter Hiran Mitra will join and create an improvised interpretation in painting while Prof Jinia Roy will read a selection of Jibanananda’s haunting verses. A Leeds based poet and fiction writer Shree Ganguly, an Indian spoken-word artist Swapna Dey, a London-based poet Tanjina Nur-E Siddique and a South-end based elocutionist Manash Chowdhury will read a selection of Jibanananda’s major works.

A panel discussion on re-interpreting Jibanananda’s works will be presented by a notable academic and author Sumita Chakraborty, poet and playwright John Farndon, Peruvian poet and associate professor at University of Northern Colorado in the USA Enrique Bernales Albites, an acclaimed researcher and film-maker Gautam Mitra as well as a Bangladeshi poet and essayist Asma Chowdhury.

One of the leading Tagore singers and composer Sanjoy Dey as well as a popular versatile singer Laboni Barua will bring a few new musical compositions based on Jibanananda’s poetry.
The festival, shaping as one of the largest international events on Jibanananda’s literary works is coming live in collaboration with Leeds Trinity University, Jibanananda Das Research Centre of Barisal University, Bangabandhu Institute of Comparative Literature and Culture of Jahangirnagar University in Bangladesh Bengali department of Jadavpur University in India, the Gronthee and RadhaRaman Society.

The director of Saudha poet Ahmed Kaysher said “Saudha has introduced many revolutionary ideas and new perceptions of arts and music here in the West. The Jibananada festival will bring the works of, not only a major poet of Bengal but also one of the leading poets of the world, of 20th century for the global audiences.”

Poet Shamim Shahan, the editor of the Gronthee, said “The Gronthee is honoured to collaborate with Saudha for this unique and one of the largest festival that is devoted to research, re-read, re-interpret Jibanananda’s phenomenal works”

Saudha is a UK based leading platform for the promotion of Indian classical and global music as well world-literature and other art forms. Founded by poet Ahmed Kaysher and Indian classical vocalist Chandra Chakraborty, this organisation has been hosting ground-breaking sessions of music through seamless amalgamation with other art forms in major art venues around the UK that includes SouthBank centre, Rich Mix, Nehru Centre, Queen Mary university, Space theatre, Morden Assembly Hall, Merton Arts Space, London city university, the house of commons in London, Mac theatre in Birmingham, Carriagework theatre, Seven Arts centre, Edinburgh Fringe for last ten years.

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