Vol. 4 Num 336 Tue. May 11, 2004  

Gitabitan Live-2: a new CD brings Tagore to the public

With a view to making Indians across the globe aware of the creative genius of Rabindranath Tagore, a Kolkata-based organisation recently unveiled a collection of his musical creations in a compact disc format. The Gitabitan-Live-2, compiled by Dakshinee, comprises 683 Tagore songs, dance dramas like Chitrangada., Shyama and Chandalika and operas like Balmiki Pratibha and Mayar Khela. These creations of Tagore, one of modern India's greatest poets and a Nobel laureate, are in a set of compact discs with original notations. The text of the lyrics is available in both Bangla and English. The CD was launched in Delhi recently.

Sudeb Guha Thakurta, general secretary of Dakshinee, said that the organisation, in collaboration with some US-based IT professionals of Indian origin, had brought out Gitabitan-Live-1 comprising 1,100 songs of Tagore in 2002. "The production of the next series got delayed due to lack of funds. US-based ex-students of Dakshinee then came forward to complete the project by extending technological and financial help," Guha Thakurta informed a press conference in Delhi recently. He said Gitabitan-Live-2 had songs sung by artistes from India and abroad. As he pointed out, 'This is specially aimed at those who do not have easy access to Bengali works in general and Rabindra Sangeet (the collection of Tagore's songs) in particular.

The compact disc features non-resident Indian singers from the US, Britain, Australia, Canada and Middle East countries like the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Unveiling the disc, eminent journalist Hiranmoy Karlekar said the expiry of the copyright restrictions on Tagore's creations had left the songs open to intepretation and different styles of rendering. "This is a step in the right direction in preserving and propagating the purity of Tagore's original writings and notations," he said. For many years, Visva Bharati University in SHantiniketan, West Bengal, enjoyed sole copyright on all his works. This included all of the volume of his poetry, novels short stories, songs and plays. Tagore set up the university with funds from the Nobel Prize, which he won in 1913 for his anthology Geetanjali, and contributions from family and friends. Unfortunately the medal and citation were stolen last month from the Tagore museum in Shantiniketan.

Karlekar said modern technologies like compact discs would help in passing on the legend of Tagore to the new generation all across the world while maintaining the pristine quality of the genre.