Sahana Bajpaie and Samantak Sinha, two leading interpreters of contemporary Bengali music made a sold out show last Sunday at the Film and Drama Studio of the Queen Mary University in East London. The session was part of Saudha Bangla Music Festival hosted by a leading promoter of South Asian Arts in the UK Saudha Society of Poetry and Indian Music
The director of Saudha poet Ahmed Kaysher said “It was the finale of Saudha Bangla Music Festival that kicked off at Rich Mix Centre last September and then toured Keats House Museum early this month and then at the Attlee Room of the House of Commons before the session at Queen Mary University”. 

Photo credit: Nasirul Islam

Kaysher continued “It was amazing to see how the pure art-loving audience from a diverse cultural heritage, from different corners of the city are getting addicted to the beauty of Bengali Music, too, as well as all other works we do. They love the vision of our arts and they love the movement we have started to bring the world under one umbrella through arts and they spread the words to an unexplored network of audiences. We had house-packed sessions one after another and a flood of feedback after each event saying how they love the ideas and our unique way of presentation.”

“The session at the Queen Mary University was sold out well before the event and the audience who attended were dancing with joy with Sahana and Samantak duo while they were performing there. The duo received standing ovation soon after they finish their last song.” Mr Kaysher said.

The manager of arts and culture of Queen Mary University Dr Molly Mcphee said “Hypnotic was the every first word I was thinking of while witnessing this magical moment” 

Natalie Thorpe, a student of English literature at QMUL and an assistant producer of FADS said “This was first time I was listening to Bengali music and what a great introduction! These wonderful singers tempted me to listen and explore more about Bengali music”.

Ph Nasirul Islam
Photo credit: Nasirul Islam

The festival started with a house-packed session of children performances at Rich Mix in East London and then a session at Keats House featured Bengali semi-classical music by two emerging maestros of Indian classical music Koyel Bhattacharya and Kuntal Das along with a London based musician  Amith Dey as well as complementing verses from John Keats by a Leads based spoken-word artist Shree Ganguly. 

The session at House of Commons, then, brought a historic interpretation of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Partito for Solo violin number 2 performed by a Greek born violinist Dimitra Ananiadou with the poems of love, loss, pains and nostalgia written by poet Ahmed Kaysher and a performance poet as well as a fictionist Shree Ganguly. The session also featured haunting a visual interpretation of poetry by a leading ambassador of Indian classical dance Sohini Roychowdhury Dasgupta, in addition to a brief book launch of her new book Indian Stage Stories. 

Photo credit: Nasirul Islam

While talking about the future events, Ahmed Kaysher, the director of Saudha said ” A fresh new production called Taste of Twilight is being premiered at the British High Commission in Dhaka next month and this will tour to India, Nepal, UK and a few cities in Europe next year. Taste of Twilight is actually a philosophical take on twilight as a theme through Sylvia Plath, Marcel Proust, Cavafy,  Cesare Pavese and a few of my own poems along with the presentation of Raag Marwa and the music of Nazrul and Tagore. This also includes a visual interpretation through a set of poetic photography by Pablo Khaled. And off course we will have Jibanananda Festival at Rich Mix and Nazrul Festival at Queen Mary University in addition to a range of new productions next year.”

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