Vol. 5 Num 851 Mon. October 16, 2006  

In conversation
Samina talks about our musical identity

Last year Samina Chowdhury was one of the judges for the talent hunt show Closeup 1. While she is not a judge this year she follows the show closely whenever she gets a chance. Commenting on last year's competition, Samina feels that people are being too critical of the winners. While she agrees that they need further grooming, she adds that it takes years of hard work, practice and experience to be a first rate singer. In her own words, "Why be so judgmental? It has just been a few months since the competition. Give them time."

After a long break Samina is back as a playback singer for movies. Talking about the difference between film songs and songs in an album, she says, "For movies there has to be character realisation. Sometimes the character is a troubled adolescent, sometimes a married housewife, sometimes a girl just in love. So the emotions are different. I have to sing keeping the character in mind. Moreover it is not me, the audience will be seeing. They will be seeing the actress and hence I try my best to make sure we match one other, that our emotions are similar."

"On the other hand in an album it's just me. So it's simpler. There aren't all these role plays and I can just play the emotion I think is right. Overall the scope is limited in albums whereas in movies the horizon is much larger.

With this generation highly influenced by foreign music, especially Indian music, Samina opines that the younger generation might end up being confused. "There is a saying in Hindi- Na gharka na ghatka which in plain English means neither this way nor that. That could be the situation for the youngsters of our country. While it is good to appreciate other cultures and listen to their songs it is not healthy to become dependent on them. One should not forget one's identity."

Samina herself enjoys remixes. "If they can uphold the sentiments that were originally intended in the old song then why not," she questions. "However there are plenty of remixes which strangles the original song and that is so painful to see."

A popular modern singer not just in the country, Samina is in demand abroad also. Last month she was in the States and on October 19 she is going to perform at a conference in Germany. Asked about the response she receives in these foreign lands, Samina marvels at their passion for Bengali music. "These are die hard fans we are talking about. I am very lucky in the sense that wherever I have performed I have got adulation from the audience. Nonetheless I still enjoy singing most in Bangladesh. The feeling is just different."

Samina along with a few others is releasing a mixed album this Eid. One of Samina's all time hits Chiquitita has been added. The song Chiquitita is based on an Abba song- Chiquitita tell me what's wrong which Samina had sung in the Bengali version in 1982 for a magazine programme. "It was a sensational hit. Since then I have been requested time and again to add it in one of my albums. Finally the song has been added and the album itself is titled Chiquitita, " says Samina. The song will be sung by the two sisters', Samina and Fahmida Nabi. Sadi Muhammad, Subir Nandi, Bappa Majumdar, Jewel, Nipo, Tarun and SI Tutul have sung solos for the album.