Srabani Takes Rabindra Sangeet to New Heights with Soulful Renditions

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Swapan Adhikary is the tabla player and Sourabh Chakraborty is on the synthesizer

By Sanchali Basu

HOUSTON: It was a chance stopover en route to the west coast that Houstonians got to capitalize on. Houston was not a designated stop on Srabani Sen’s well chalked out America tour. Thanks to the valiant effort of a few die hard ardent Rabindra Sangeet lovers namely Arna and Uttam Dasgupta and Amit De, the cozy Rabindra Sangeet soiree was made possible on May 3 at the Harman Center in Sugar Land.

And oh, what a delightful evening it was indeed! Srabani in fact, was in for a surprise herself, to see her mentor and advisor Bulbul Sengupta in the front row of the audience. She paid her respects to her teacher and set the mood for the evening with Srabaner dharar moto doing justice to her name. As the afternoon drifted into dusk, she sang Aamar bela je jai. The mood then just kept on building as she flowed from one song to the next like a soothing river in motion. She earned her mentor’s compliments with the song Tumi kemon kore gaan koro he guni which literally means, “Oh talented one, how dost thou sing your song, I am mesmerized and keep listening in awe.”

Every one of the 20 odd songs that she sang was a huge hit with the Rabindra Sangeet connoisseurs who were all very happy to sing along. She acknowledged the fact that she was glad to be here during Rabi paksha (the fortnight of Rabinranath Tagore’s birthday celebrations). Each one of the songs she sang was a huge hit with the audience as they threw all their cares away to be transported to their days in the homeland (Bengal). Ore grihabashi was an apt tribute to the spring season which is sung at the Basanta Utsab celebrations in Shantiniketan.

What really got the crowd going was the request brought to her by youngsters for the song Haare re re and she very sweetly obliged. The mastery of musicians Sourabh Chakraborty on the synthesizer and  Swapan Adhikary on percussion brought an entirely different dimension to the music and added depth to the songs. Khoro bayu boy bege from the dance drama Tasher Deshe brought out the child in everyone from the child to the child at heart.

During a short break Srabani interacted with her fans over cookies and tea and kindly agreed to take photos with them. The young and the old all told her how nostalgic it was to listen to her songs.

Madhuro dhwani baaje brought back childhood memories of Saraswati Puja in everyone. Oi ashono tole resonated with the essence that the only way for mortals to realize the eternal truth is through humility and total surrender at the feet of the Supreme Power. She ended her program with Tobu mone rekho which brought tears to many a person’s eyes and brought us all face to face with the reality that nothing is permanent  in life and all we leave behind are fond memories.Ina private moment Srabani got to share her feelings about the American Bengalis. She was very impressed with the cultured audiences who still took so much interest in Rabindra Sangeet. She felt honored and very encouraged as the enthusiasm was evident in everyone singing along with her. The warmth of specially the Houstonians was very touching and she was reminiscing about her last visit nine years back with her mother. Srabani hails from a family of singers and is the daughter of noted singer Sumitra Sen, and is the younger sister of another Rabindra Sangeet exponent Indrani Sen. Srabani is one of the foremost female Rabindra Sangeet singers currently and her humility, down to earthness and capability to capture and engage the audience in her own special way is really praiseworthy.