Vol. 5 Num 448 Mon. August 29, 2005  

Rowshan Ara Mustafiz
Affinity to Nazrul songs

Acclaimed Nazrul singer Rowshan Ara Mustafiz is a well-known name for her classical presentation of Nazrul Islam's ghazals. Besides ghazals, Rowshan also renders Nazrul's Kabyageeti.

Rowshan Ara shot to fame with her presentation of modern songs O madhobi thako mor ontorey and later Brihoshpoti amar ekhon tunggey aired on BTV. However, as early as the 70s she has focussed on Nazrul songs as well as classical music on Bangladesh Betar and Bangladesh Television. She has trained under renowned Ustad Yusuf Khan Koraishi, Ustad Gul Mohammed Khan and others. For her kaleidoscopic journey in music, Rowshan Ara was accorded a reception by the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy and Nazrul Sangeet Parishad.

On the current scenario of Nazrul songs, Rowshan Ara, a trustee member of Nazrul Institute, says, "Nowadays, the production companies are reluctant to release albums on Nazrul songs. Except for a few occasions, not many musical soirees on the genre are staged. Resulting from the lack of quality singers as well as a discerning audience, Nazrul sangeet is fast losing its appeal. For many years, Nazrul Institute has published documentation and notation of authentic Nazrul sangeet. It should simultaneously release the CDs with authentic tunes so that the performers as well as the audience can get the essence of the songs. However, in the absence of logistic support the Institute has failed to do that.

"Moreover, I think, both the electronic and printing media should bolster new talent. A few programmes aired on TV have very limited impact. Thoughtful criticism by the print media will boost the upcoming talents in this genre," adds Rowshan.

How can the situation improve? To quote Rowshan, "Proper training and the art of presentation is a prerequisite for Nazrul singers. Nazrul has successfully introduced ghazals in Bangla music. Besides North Indian ragas, Nazrul has also used South Indian ragas. Moreover, he has created 17 new ragas. Unless a singer has that potential to perform, the rendition would become mediocre."

The duplication of tune of the same Nazrul song is a hurdle. As Rowshan says, "A ghazal singer has limited freedom. By this I mean that one can incorporate one's own style in the presentation of a raga, while preserving its authenticity. However, in Kabyageeti a singer must follow the authentic tune. Following the distorted tunes by a few artistes should be avoided. Nazrul Institute has published the authentic notations of all Nazrul songs, which should be the only source of Nazrul songs."

Rowshan Ara Mustafiz