Art, Culture and Aesthetics

American Alumni Association presents: Tagore and the West

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The program covered an aspect of Rabindranath Tagore that is generally confined to scholarly books and articles – Tagore and his relationship with the West. Probably the very first of its kind, it covered Tagore’s deep impact in the west at a particular point in time, his rather ambivalent relationship with the west and his continuing and increasing relevance in the contemporary world. The program was produced by the American Alumni Association (AAA), Bangladesh as a special tribute to Tagore on his 150th birth anniversary.

The theme was presented in six segments, through a rich and dynamic combination of songs (solos and choruses), dances, orchestral representations, narrations, poetry and visuals. Starting with the Gitanjali and its reception in the west, the Nobel Prize and Tagore’s soaring global popularity, the program went on to cover Tagore’s travels in the West; the influence of western music on Tagore’s own music; his Paintings which he had declared were his gift to the west and finally the relevance of Tagore in the contemporary world.

Based on extensive research, the presentation was conceived and directed by Mr. Shumon Sengupta (from India but then serving as the Country Director of Save the Children –UK in Bangladesh), with support and guidance from renowned Rabindrasngeet Artist Mrs Nandita Yasmin and Dance Pioneer and Cultural Activist – Mrs. Lubna Marium. Support was provided on the narrations by Iffat Nawaz and Karim Waheed who demonstrated excellent rapport and helped hold the entire program together by their sensitive narrations and poetry readings.

The highlight of the evening were the choruses, particularly the ones (Bisshobina robe and Akash bhora) presented with western orchestral arrangement and outstanding solos by Nandity Yasmin, Ananya Banerjee, Abhaya Dutta, Avik Deb and Farheen Khan Joyeta.

Five young and talented dancers from Shadhona, under the direction of Lubna Marium, performed well choreographed dances, using various dancing styles, costumes and props.

The was a first of its kind – innovative, lively and immaculately presented and received spontaneous and overwhelming appreciation from the audience, which had representatives from many nationalities. The program presented a different aspect of Tagore and in a format that is international in character, transcending national and linguistic boundaries.

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Production: Tahsin Aman
Conception: Shumon Sengupta
Direction: Shumon Sengupta and Nandita Yasmin
Vocals: Nandita Yasmin, Shumon Sengupta, Abhaya Dutta, Ananya Banerjee, Farhin Khan Joyeeta, Avik Deb, Ashikur Rahman, Mustafizur Rahman Turjo, Samia Ahsan
Narration: Iffat Nawaz, Karim Wahid
Dancers: Tahmina Anwar Anika, Maleeha M Khan, Shammy Akter, Amit Chowdhury, Arpita Shome, Shabbir Ahmed Khan Biju (Courtesy Shadhona); Samina Husain Prema
Accompanying Aerists: Iftekar Alam Dollar, Asit Biswas, Iftekar Hossain Sohel, Md. Nasiruddin, Prodip Kumar Ray
Sets: Rehana Haque Poly (courtesy Shadhona)
Visuals: Oniket Alam
Sound: Shihab, Soundstorm
Program Sponsor: Mercantile Bank Limited
Photo Credit: Arif Hafiz

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