Veteran music composer late Upendra Kumar had scored music for more than 25 Oriya films that includes Mana Akasha, Dharitri, Punarmilana and Alibha Daga. But it is an irony that most of his fans believe him to be a south Indian musician. The reason – he was quite familiar in the Madras music scene during his times and had scored music for Telugu, Tamil and Kannad films. He belonged to Orissa and hailed from Digapahandi.
In his memory, eminent lyricist Narayan Prasad Singh and music critic, researcher and archivist Surya Deo teamed up to commemorate Kumar’s birth anniversary every year and the first celebration was hosted by Geetikunja, a forum for Oriya lyricists founded and led by Singh, in Bhubaneswar on Saturday. “Sapanara pathepathe sandhyare dine gali” was one of the most popular film songs that Upendra Kumar had composed and Sikandar Alam had sung. A musical album in the same name containing several hits of the musician was released on the occasion while Alam pushed everyone into nostalgia by singing the song. A book titled Sajala Smruti (memories of Upendra Kumar) penned by Singh was also released. Several singers sang Upendra Kumar’s compositions on the occasion as a mark of respect to him.
Celebrating monsoon with music
City-based Bengali cultural association Pragati in association with the Department of Culture of Orissa Government hosted a music concert aptly titled “Aya sawan jhumke” on Saturday at Rabindra Mandap to celebrate the arrival of monsoon. Four budding singers of Bhubaneswar – Pratyasha, Abhishek, Lobha and Naresh - entertained the audience with melodious rendition of several popular Hindi film numbers from the olden days. The songs, mostly belonging to the 70’s and 80’s, were based on rains like “rim jhim gire sawan”.
Prominent cultural forum Bhubaneswar Music Circle in collaboration with the Department of Culture of Government of Orissa staged Sangeetayana, a monthly concert series, at Rabindra Mandap on Sunday. It featured an electrifying group presentation of tala-vadya kacheri, an ensemble of 10 percussion instruments, by the students of Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya, Orissa’s premiere college of performing arts. Mardal exponent and veteran rhythm composer Dhaneswar Swain and tabla exponent Rankanidhi Pradhan conceived and directed the concert. The instruments used in the concert included mardal, mridanga, dhemsa, jodi nagara, tabla, khanjani, dhol, dholak and cymbals.
The concert further featured young sitar player Mita Mukherjee of Kolkata who is currently based in Cuttack. Accompanied on tabla by Sukant Pradhan, she presented raga Desh followed by Bhairavi.