Santali Life in Music and Dance

December 29, 2010

Rajshahi Theatre’s Folk Festival kicks off
Though most in audience were not familiar with the Santali language, the sheer spirit of the indigenous men and women demonstrated through their soulful songs and dance at Kumarpara Mukta Mancha, in Rajshahi town, last Monday night won over hearts.
Artistes of Jug Shirijol Adibashi Shilpi Gosthi enthralled the audience as they performed six songs along with dances at the opening of the five-day Folk Festival, organised by Rajshahi Theatre.
Leaders of the indigenous cultural group, Sujon Hasda and Sonamoni Tudu, told this correspondent that the first song they performed, “Hi Hi Ri Pi Pi Ri Khoj Kamanu Jonom Nena” talks about their inseparable bond with nature.
Later they performed the song “Daka Chonda Wakap Chondapuri” — about the whole Santali harvesting process.
The artistes also rendered “Marang Bura Chotre” that further explains the Santali way of life and traditions.
Nripendra Saha, a cultural critic from West Bengal (India) commented that the indigenous artistes deserve appreciation and encouragement for their efforts to uphold their traditions in original form.
Following the Santali performers, young artistes of Spondon Nrityaloy performed dances. Spondon’s director Kaberi Debnath said that she has been teaching dance (mainly folk) at the school, located at Kumarpara in the city, since 1990.
Theme and Thoughts, a cultural organisation from Kustia, rendered mystic songs of Lalon Shah.
The first day’s programme ended at around 11pm through performance of a Gambhira song by artistes of Mathal, a Rajshahi organisation.
Prior to the cultural event, eminent litterateur Hasan Azizul Haque inaugurated the festival and gave away prizes among winners of different cultural competitions held throughout the year 2010.
Bangladesh Gram Theatre’s general secretary Humayun Kabir; a local newspaper editor Fazlul Haque; Rajshahi City Corporation’s councillor Shariful Islam Babu and Rajshahi Theatre’s founding president Tajul Islam attended the inaugural function.
Rajshahi Theatre is holding the festival to mark the end of its yearlong silver jubilee celebrations. Kamarullah Sarker, the group’s president said that the organisation is working to promote local traditions and heritage since its inception in 1985.


Courtesy of The Daily Star

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