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(L-R) Sunil Chandra Das, Bikash Kishore Das, Samsuzzaman Khan and Golam Kuddus at the programme. Photo: Mumit M.
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Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) organised a programme in memory of folk maestro Ustad Momtaz Ali Khan, at the Music and Dance Centre, BSA on June 24.

The programme included a discussion and a cultural programme.

Folklorist Samsuzzaman Khan was present as the chief guest and Golam Kuddus, general secretary, Sammilito Shangskritik Jote was the special guest at the programme.

Sunil Chandra Das, director, Department of Music and Dance, BSA gave the welcome speech.

Golam Kuddus said, "Ustad Momtaz Ali Khan's contribution to our folk music is immense. He was a master music composer."

"Momtaz Ali Khan played a lead role in popularising Lalon songs. During the '60s, upon request from Professor Mansur Uddin Ahmed, Mumtaz Ali started setting Lalon's verses to tune. Barir kachhey aarshinnagar, Tora dekhbi jodi aay, Shob lokey koy Lalon ki jaat are some of his memorable creations. Before that, Lalon songs were mostly akhra oriented, general people had very little idea of the songs." Kuddus added.

In his lifetime he mentored many artistes, who later went on to become popular. Referring to an article by Abdul Latif published in Ajker Kagoj in 1998, Kuddus pointed out that Momtaz Ali mentored a young Abdul Alim, who later became "folk maestro Abdul Alim".

Talking about his contributions during the Liberation War, Kuddus said "In March, 1971 Momtaz Ali left Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), and came back to Dhaka. After March 25, he moved to his village home in Manikganj. He used to go from camp to camp and sang to boost the morale of the freedom fighters. He used to take his daughters along with him and cared very little about their safety; such patriotism is very rare."

"Despite his immense contribution to our folk music, after his death no initiative has been taken yet to preserve his works," Kuddus concluded.

Samsuzzaman Khan said, "Momtaz Ali was a great artiste. He was not only a great singer but also a master lyricist, a good teacher and a collector.

"He was able to master the tunes of many regions, in particular the south-western region which was a great achievement."

Bikash Kishore Roy, secretary. BSA presided over the session.

A cultural programme followed. The programme began with a group performance by the students of Ustad Momtaz Ali Khan Sangeet Academy. They performed two Momtaz Ali Khan compositions -- Bangladesh-er mati and Agun jalaishna amar gaye.

Rupu Khan rendered Tora dekhbi jodi aay, a Lalon song, set to tune by Momtaz Ali Khan.

Next was Azgar Alim, son of Abdul Alim. Azgar sang Ei jey duniya and Premer mora joley dobeyna written and composed by Momtaz Ali Khan and Jarey chherey (written by 'Pallikabi' Jasim Uddin and set to tune by Momtaz Ali Khan).

The last performance of the programme was by Mina Barua. the artiste performed two Momtaz Ali Khan songs -- Chara gachhey phool fuitachhey and Gun gun gun gaan.

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