Concept

Music of Bengal

Summary
Bengali music (বাংলা সংগীত) comprises a long tradition of religious and secular song-writing over a period of almost a millennium. Composed with lyrics in the Bengali language, Bengali music spans a wide variety of styles. The Bengal region of the Indian subcontinent is currently split between the Indian state of West Bengal and the country of Bangladesh. West Bengal is still referred to as Bengal in the rest of India. The earliest music in Bengal was influenced by Sanskrit chants, and evolved under the influence of Vaishnav poetry such as the 13th-century Gitagovindam by Jayadeva, whose work continues to be sung in many eastern Hindu temples. The Middle Ages saw a mixture of Hindu and Islamic trends when the musical tradition was formalized under the patronage of Sultan and Nawabs and the powerful landlords baro bhuiyans. Much of the early canon is devotional, as in the Hindu devotional songs of Ramprasad Sen a bhakta who captures the Bengali ethos in his poetic, rustic, and ecstatic vision of the Hindu goddess of time and destruction in her motherly incarnation, Ma Kali. Another writer of the time was Vidyapati. Notable in this devotional poetry is an earthiness that does not distinguish between love in its carnal and devotional forms; some see connections between this and Tantra, which originated sometime in the middle of the first millennium CE. Kotalipara in the Faridpur Zilla of East Bengal (presently Bangladesh) owes its origin to “Chandraburmankot” erected there, circa 315 AD, the remains of which are still extant. “Kot” stands for fort, “Ali” signifies “wall and area surrounding the fort”, and “para” means a settlement or “a neighbourhood”. KotaliPara had been a hotbed of intellectual excellence for ages, especially in music, art and scholarship. Sangeetacharya Tarapada Chakraborty (1909-1975), was the first Pan-Indian Khayaliya from Bengal and the pioneer of Kotali Gharana. He had a journey similar to Ustad Allauddin Khan’s, coming to Kolkata penniless from Kotalipara ( currently in Bangladesh ) to learn classical music.
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