Vijaya Laxmi Tripura
According to her Facebook Page, Poushali Bannerjee is described as a folk singer who belongs from Santiniketan, the world-known institution founded by Rabindra Nath Tagore. She was blessed to have her mother beside her to usher that passion being the first and foremost Sangeet Guru [Musical mentor] in her life from the tender age of four. In her later age, Poushali was privileged getting enriched by many proficient singing personalities. Guinness Book of World Record has awarded her for her continuous 29-hour performance. She received National scholarship in 2009 in Rabindra Sangeet.
Poushali Bannerjee got a break through a musical reality show named Saregamapa in 2017. Onwards, she has been regularly performing on stages all over Poshchim Banga and around India. She also appears on Indian television channels.
Well, that’s not enough to introduce a singer to our international readers, unfortunately though, there isn’t enough exposure in the English press about this most promising singer from Bengal, who mesmerizes her audience through platinum voice. In my personal views, Poushali Bannerjee is a complete performer. She not only gives life to each of the songs she sings, but she always holds her signature smile thus building a connection with her audience.
As our readers are aware, we do not cover anyone unless s/he is very special or extraordinary. In past 16 years of our publication, we have hardly featured 10-12 individuals from different walks of life. Before featuring someone, our team spends hours on doing some research on that person. Being assigned, I also had to surf on the net to find as much as information I could on Poushali Bannerjee.
Let me first take a flashback. As our readers are aware, editor of this newspaper, Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is an internationally acclaimed journalist. He has millions of friends and admirers around the world – starting from Western policymakers to famous producers and directors in the Hollywood. But he also is known in the cultural arena as being one of the finest lyricists, tuners and movie directors. In Bangladesh, legendary singer like Runa Laila has sung his song. Also, celebrated singers like Syed Abdul Hadi, Andrew Kishore, Shakila, Abida Sultana, Monir Khan, SI Tutul, Fakir Shahabuddin, Agoon or this generation’s Rinku – all of them has voiced into songs written and tuned by Mr. Choudhury. In the entertainment world, he is better known as Shoaib Choudhury.
Although he writes Bangla modern songs, English and Urdu songs – his specialty possibly is in Bangla folk songs, because those are extreme deep in philosophy and his tunes are magnificent. Since childhood, he has learnt classical music and that possibly now helps him in giving life to his lyrics with tunes that can easily hypnotize any music lover.
As our readers know, Mr. Choudhury has served rigorous imprisonment for many years in trumped-up charges for the “crime” of promoting peace. Even sitting in jail, he did not stop writing songs or thinking of a better world for our next generation. One day in prison, he listened to a song by Poushali Bannerjee and instantly realized she has a glorious future as a singer. As all of us know, Mr. Choudhury got released from the prison on July 29, 2018.
My bit in this newspaper mainly is writing on local, regional and global affairs. Those are serious issues indeed. But, when it comes to featuring a singer from another country, about whom I have very little knowledge and even resources on the web, it is challenging in perfectedly portraying that individual. Still I took the assignment of featuring Poushali Bannerjee.
As we know by now, Poushali is a student of Santiniketan and had scholarship in Rabindra Sangeet [Tagore songs] it is again a great curiosity as to how she has made her position as a folk singer. People may argue, but fact is – pattern of Tagore and folk songs are distinctively different. People say folk is the mother of all music. I do believe in that. If we look into the songs of Lalon Fakir, we can find the fragrance of deep philosophical thoughts combined with tunes that represent the very original Bengaliness. Many of the contemporary folk lyricists follow the philosophy of Lalon Fakir. So, for a Santiniketan students having mastered in Tagore songs, it was possibly a great challenge for Poushali Bannerjee in establishing her position in the world of folk music. It requires special zeal and qualities, and certainly she has proved herself to be superbly succeeding in it. Another specialty in Poushali is her art of delivering each of the words. It seems as if she spends time in experimenting on the lyrics and tune thus finally inhaling the entire theme before delivering it to her audience. Her voice is melodious and powerful – may be a bit husky, which again is like an ornament to folk songs.
Possibly because of her Santiniketan background, Poushali puts special emphasis on pronunciation. That is again very much essential. But of course, pronunciation of Tagore and folk songs are distinctively different. In folk, it requires the pronunciation mixed with the very fragrance of the soil. Here again, she has mastered the art.
What else? I think for a feature this is not enough. Still I had to write with my very limited knowledge about the person I am featuring. Hopefully in near future, we can have more about her. Until then, please listen to good music – listen to Poushali Bannerjee!
An old video of Poushali: