Vol. 5 Num 125 Mon. September 27, 2004  

Rich tributes paid to music maestro Samar Das

Listening to the song Purba digontey shurjo uthechhe, one is transported to the melodious renderings of the great musician and composer Samar Das (1925--2001). There are many more songs--Nongor tolo tolo, Kando Banglar manush, Jaglo golaap oi lajuk lajuk--which gave solace to the people during the Liberation War as well as other times of turmoil.

Most of Samar Das' life centred around music --as the chief music director at the Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra during the war of Liberation; as the composer of the magnificent orchestration of the country's National Anthem Aamar Shonar Bangla; as the music director of the first feature talkie of the country Mukh O Mukhosh; and as the creator of more than 2,000 songs broadcast over the radio and television.

September 25 was the third death anniversary of this great musician. Samar Das Smriti Sangsad observed the day by giving awards to five eminent musical personalities in different categories.

The programme, at the VIP Lounge of the National Press Club, also featured a discussion session and a musical soiree on Samar Das' compositions. Editor of The Daily Jugantar ABM Musa was the chief guest while popular folk singer Rathindranath Roy presided over the programme. Noted singer Ferdousi Rahman and music director Subal Das were the special guests.

Nirmal Rozario, the member secretary of the Samar Das Smriti Sangsad said, 'We demand an auditorium and the road beside Samar Das' home to be named after the great musician.'

'Like many other renowned artistes, the name of Samar Das has also gone into oblivion and the new generation has a scant knowledge about him,' says an anxious Deepika Das, the wife of Samar Das. As she said, 'We shouldn't drift away from the priceless ethics and values that the people like Samar Das tried hard to spread.'

Musician Sheikh Sadi Khan said, 'Samar Da has left behind a wealth of highly creative and original works but there has been little research on his contributions. In fact, these works need to be properly evaluated for the following generation.'

The producer of the then Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra, Ashfaqur Rahman Khan reminisced, 'With just a single lead harmonium, Samar Das created the immortal tune of the song Purba digonte surja uthechhey in a room of the radio centre and the song has become a part of our history. An archive is the need of the hour to save these timeless creations.'

Popular singer Hasina Momtaz recalled her experience with Samar Das and said, 'His orchestration had a timeless appeal for music lovers.'

Shafayat Khoiyam, an eminent lyricist, recollected his 12-year relationship with Samar Das, 'I was so attached to him that everyone called me his assistant. And I was lucky that many of my songs had his magnificent orchestrations.'

A nostalgic ABM Musa, threw light on a less known aspect facet of the musical maestro. As he said, 'Apart from his great music talent, Samar was a great gourmet.'

Ferdousi Rahman said, 'He had a rare talent of orchestration which varied from western flavours to our own folk songs. I still remember the marvellous friendship and constructive jealousy between the two geniuses--Samar Das and Abdul Ahad.' She emphasised on the need of documentation on such great people.

'People like Samar Das, are the pillar of inspiration of the nation and sometimes we forgot to pay their due homage,' said Rothindranath Ray, the spokesperson of Samar Das Smriti Sangsad.

Shaheen Samad, Fakir Alamgir, Shamsul Huda Chowdhury, Subal Das and others also spoke on the occasion. All the artistes agreed on the need for proper documentation of the artistes as well as a proper musical archive. This was the only way, in their view, for the younger generation to learn about the musical giants of Bangladesh.

After the discussion, the Samar Das Sangeet Padak 2004 were given to spiritual singer Torab Ali Shah for his contrinution to the Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra, Satyen Saha for Gano Sangeet (people's song), Baul singer Abdur Rahaman Boyati, modern singer Mahbuba Rahman for her songs in Mukh O Mukhosh, and the posthumous award was given to Haralal Ray for folk songs.

A pleasant musical evening of some of Samar Das' famous songs delighted the audience. It was a befitting tribute to the legacy of Samar Das.

(Sitting R-L): Ferdousi Rahman, ABM Musa, Rathindranath Ray, Subol Das and Nirmal Rozario; (standing R-L): Abdur Rahman Boyati, wife of late Haralal Ray, Satyen Saha, Torab Ali Shah