Vol. 4 Num 318 Wed. April 21, 2004  

Samina Chowdhury: Prolific singer

Meet Samina Chowdhury. Her recently released album Phul phote phul jhare, a compilation of her most popular songs, has had a tremendous feedback from the audience. Her most popular tracks, recorded with new arrangements and instruments, such as Ekbar jodi keu bhalobashto, Tomar bhanga garite ami jabo na, Amar buker modhye khane and of course her debut hit Phul phote phul jhare are included in this latest collection. Says Samina: 'After the favourable audience reaction, I felt that the songs were really good and the audience were well versed in music. Actually they have changed their taste from cheap to quality music'

Samina believes that the media is reluctant to promote two people from the same family. Fahmida and Samina are the burning examples of this trend. As Samina has a reputation as a celebrated singer, her sister Fahmida did not get the break she deserved as a singer. 'But Fahmida has a truly melodious voice,' said Samina. 'Sometimes she even sings like Arati Mukhopaddhaya. My father Mahmudun Nabi used to say that she has a rich voice.'

According to Samina, she was inspired to sing by her father. She recalls: 'My father considered music as an art form. He never politicised himself in the industry. He was an artiste not only in his voice, but also in his work, behaviour, thoughts and emotions. So I think I have gone in my father's footsteps in singing without compromising with the contemporary cheap trend.'

When asked why she is popular, Samina smiled amiably, 'I think I have chosen a simple yet honest way to lead my life. I avoid hypocrisy. May be the audience likes me for this reason. Actually an artiste must primarily win respect from the audience and the other qualities come later.'

Samina's interest initially lay in dancing and acting. But in the late 1970s , inspired by her mother, she took part in the Natun Kuri competition and rendered a patriotic song Prothom Bangladesh. She won the first prize. This is how her journey began. When she was a student of class VIII, celebrated music director Alauddin Ali came to her house and took her to the recording studio for a playback song. The playbacks of the film Janmo Theke Jwalchhi> she performed the title track and Ekbar jodi keu bhalobashto. Both of the songs were massive hits.

Later she got an offer to perform a song on television, which was a romantic track titled Phul phote phul jhare. Again she had a new feather in her crown as it was a big hit too.. But according to Samina, she is fortunate that she has had a break in the music industry. Not everybody is so lucky to have a break in the initial period of one's career.

The singers Samina admires most are Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle, Ghulam Ali and Jagjit Singh. She said, 'I try to follow their singing style, particularly their clear pronunciation and the melody of their voices.'

About the new trend of music, which is widely known as fusion music, blending contemporary with the classical ones, she appreciates this effort of the younger generation. To quote her, 'If the folk songs are improvised and accepted widely when sung with modern instruments then it is okay. But "remaking" classics is like distorting the melody. I clearly detest it. The digital effect is simply irritating.'

Samina is a bit disappointed with the new artistes who give emphasis to the visual rather than the musical aspect. In her view, there are many trash performances of new artistes in the promotional programmes on the television, because the makers of the programmes have to fulfill the demands of the sponsors. In Samina's view visual is important but it is obviously secondary to music. She urged the audience to listen and promote good music and to eliminate the cheap and vulgar songs.

Her latest venture is a new album Dui Chokhe Dui Nodi. This album will contain about 10 songs, including six old and four new tracks. She is optimistic about the album and hopes that it will attract the music lovers.

Samina Chowdhury