Vol. 5 Num 998 Thu. March 22, 2007  

Remembering Abdul Latif
Music and discussion by Bangladesh Loko Sangeet Parishad

Bangladesh Loko Sangeet Parishad (BLSP) organised a discussion and folk evening in memory of revered folk singer, lyricist and music composer Abdul Latif recently. The event took place at the Bishwa Shahitya Kendra auditorium.

Titled Bhashar Gaan O Swadhinotar Gaan, the programme featured an insight in the life of the folk maestro as the invited guests shared memories of Abdul Latif.

The programme was divided in three sessions.

The event opened with a group song Emon shilpi kobi dorodi aar kotha gele pai, jemon chhilo moder priyo Abdul Latif bhai -- written by Indra Mohon Rajbongshi.

A discussion followed. Veteran cultural personality Kamal Lohani, Ashfaque ur Rahman Khan (of Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra), Nawazish Ali Khan (senior vice president of ATN Bangla) and Indra Mohon Rajbongshi (noted folk artist and president of BLSP) spoke at the programme presided over by Akramul Islam (senior vice president of BLSP).

Abdul Latif breathed his last on February 26, 2005. He was born in 1927 at a small village in Raipasha, about four miles from the Barisal town. After his primary education, he moved to Kolkata. In early 1948, he came back to Dhaka and started working for Radio Pakistan as a staff artiste. It was during this period when Abdul Latif started writing songs. His first written song, Shymal baran meyeti -- featured in Zahir Raihan's much acclaimed film Kancher Deyal -- became very popular for its simplicity and addictive melody.

His musical talent flourished during the '50s and '60s, an era that saw the rise of Bengali nationalism. He simultaneously performed, wrote and composed folk songs and gano sangeet (songs of the masses). He wrote over 1500 songs, some of which attained the status of classics.

Abdul Latif's name is especially linked with the Language Movement of 1952. He set tune to Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury's Amar bhai-er roktey rangano Ekushey February in 1953. However, later the song adopted Altaf Mahmud's tune. Abdul Latif's songs like Ora amar mukher kotha kaira nitey chaye, Daam diye kinechhi Bangla, Shona shona shona lokey boley shona and many more, generated immense inspiration to the nation at different times, especially during the Liberation War.

His publications include Duare Aishachhe Palki from Bangladesh Folklore Parishad, Bhashar Gaan, Desher Gaan from Bangla Academy and Dilrobab from Islamic Foundation.

Latif received highest national awards -- Ekushey Padak (in 1979) and Swadhinota Padak (in 2002).

After the discussion artistes of BLSP rendered folk songs. A total of 21 songs were performed throughout the evening.

Abdul Latif