Friday Review

Echoing Tagore’s monsoon love

CELEBRATING RICH LEGACY Sailajaranjan Majumdar

CELEBRATING RICH LEGACY Sailajaranjan Majumdar  

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Enakshi Chattopadhyay regaled listeners with the bard’s favourite songs on the occasion of Sangeetacharya Sailajaranjan Majumdar’s birth anniversary.

The circumstances that brought Sailajaranjan Majumdar to become the Sangeetacharya of Rabindranath Tagore’s Santiniketan is fascinating. Possessed with a good singing voice, he started singing on his grandmother’s knee from his lisping days.

Good in academics, he went on to get a Masters in chemistry but had to do law to graduate to his father’s profession. However, to his father’s dismay, he joined Rabindranath Tagore’s Santiniketan to teach chemistry, soon to become song-maker Tagore’s right hand, as a singer; as a teacher of his songs and as a notation writer of many of his songs.

Acharya Sailajaranjan Majumdar, was greatly assisted by Rabindranath Tagore in his pet theme of holding festivals such as “Varsha Mangal –The Monsoon Festival”. Like all other festivals of different seasons, Varsha Mangal was a unique and rich affair and Sangeetacharya Sailajaranjan Majumdar was deeply involved in it.

In his later years, he had shifted to Calcutta, where hordes of talented students collected around him to learn Rabindra Sangeet.

On the 116th birth anniversary of Sangeetacharya Sailajaranjan Majumdar, Sunanadan celebrated a musical evening “Sraboner Gaan” to celebrate the monsoon, organised by his most talented disciple Enakshi Chattopadhayay. Some of the songs were accompanied by Rabindranritya choreographed by septuagenarian Purnima Ghosh assisted by Esha Goswami.

Of all the seasons, Varsha or the rainy season was a great favourite with Tagore. Varsha was his lover and that is how he saw Varsha. His outpourings of the season captured myriads of its mood and beauty. In some songs, he yearned for it waiting anxiously for its arrival, while in some poems and songs he revelled in her beauty. Pitter-patter rains made his heart flutter and sang “my heart dances like a peacock” , some songs describe the sky filled with cloud, before he goes into stating his philosophy deeply felt philosophy.

In her sonorous voice, Enakshi Chattopadhyay sang “Aaji jharer rate tomar abhisar”. She did justice to the song, which the poet had himself sung on request at Jorasanko in Calcutta, with a thunderous applause. The penultimate song of the evening “Sakhi andhare akela ghare” in raga Khambaj and taal Kaharba –also sung by Enakshi left a deep impression on the minds of the listeners and perhaps they were not ready to accept that the beautiful evening had come to a close. But yes, the group song “Trishnaro Shanti sundoro kanti” in Behag raga and taal Trital was the grand finale which brought everyone back to the real and very prosaic everyday life.

Talking about the use of ragas by Tagore, who received intense taalim in Bishnupur Gharana, he had made use of Misra Malhar and the rare Sashti taal in “tomar moner ekti katha amay bolo” (tell me the reason why this sadness) sung solo by Enakshi Chattopadhyay was a gem among gems.

A lover of beauty, he had visions of dance movements that would complement his lyrics. He did not want to showcase any classical dance forms with the accompaniments of his lyrics. In fact, it was the other way round, he wanted the dances to be a fitting accompaniment to his songs – a very difficult proposition. Unless a person’s vision is aesthetic, one should refrain from choreographing dance to his lyrics.

Many of the monsoon songs were a combination of raga Desh and raga Malhar- “Aami ki gaan gabo je bheve na pai” sung by Ayushi Kundu is a prime example of the composite use of these ragas.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 3:01:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/Echoing-Tagore%E2%80%99s-monsoon-love/article14628598.ece

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