Bengali tunes in Tamil land
Swati has represented Chennai in several programmes in different parts of the country organised by Probashi Bangali Shommelon — an association for Bengalis settled in places outside West Bengal.
“I am bringing together a team of singers from Chennai to take part in a programme that will be held in Delhi in November to celebrate the 100th year of the conferring of Nobel Prize to Rabindranath Tagore. The event will see more than 1,000 artistes singing 22 select compositions,” says Swati, who did her masters in Rabindra Sangeet from Rabindra Bharati University.
She has been teaching Hindustani, classical and Bengali music in Chennai for 20 years, and has brought out her own album Hridoyer Kotha.
A senior teacher of music in Chennai, Moitree Ghoshal is a known face among the Bengali musical fraternity. Her talent was spotted by renowned Rabindra Sangeet artiste Maya Sen. A double graduate from Rabindra Bharati University, Moitree was at the threshold of achieving a special niche as an artiste in Kolkata when she had to leave it behind and migrate to Chennai 22 years ago. “In the initial years, I would literally go from door to door to identify people with a good voice and organise shows with them. Unlike in Kolkata, where there are numerous artistes here and there is tough competition,” says Moitree, who also runs the Bengali food outlet Atithi. Her students include both Bengalis and non-Bengalis. She is now gathering a group of music lovers for the concert OikoTaan, which will be held this month end. Contact: 9841020147
Tanusree’s Hindustani classical students include popular singers like Benny Dayal, Anupama, Sreelekha and Vandana Srinivasan. Tanusree, who was trained at Rabindra Bharati University, organises Baaje Go Beena, a concert of semi-classical Bengali and Hindi melodies, which is a hit among Bengalis here.
For the past six years, Rinku has been in the forefront of organising programmes at the T Nagar Bengali Association.
“I have sensed that Chennai Bengalis stay connected with their cultural roots. A good part of the year is spent in planning, rehearsing and performing in shows. We get so busy with these that we don’t miss Kolkata and there is always a huge rush of participants,” says Rinku, who has trained under the famous Rabindra Sangeet artiste Sumitra Sen. Contact: 9840806798
Monali Bala, who runs a school in Adyar, gives lessons in hindustani, carnatic, sufi, light music and voice culture, odissi dance, besides instruments such as guitar, piano and veena. She learnt Bengali music under teachers of Shantiniketan. “Lots of people have had exposure to works of Rabindranath Tagore and want to learn more. Initially, there will be problems in picking up the correct pronunciation but I make them understand by writing the phonetics clearly,” says Monali, who left her IT job five years ago to devote all her time to music.
Contact: 9944596145, email@example.com
Trained by tabla maestro Pandit Kumar Bose, Ashis Chatterjee, who is also a singer, is a sought after name for programmes all over Chennai. Staying in Chennai for the past 15 years, he has been giving lessons both in tabla and Bengali music such as Rabindra Sangeet, Nazrul Geeti and contemporary songs. His teaches all age groups — from second standard students to office goers. “I am particular that kids first develop a strong base before they begin to perform on stage. My efforts are directed at making them technically sound and instilling a sense of discipline in them,” says Chatterjee. Contact: 9840953164