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Bharat Sevashram Sangha presents

An evening of Rabindra Sangeet

by

REZWANA BANYA CHOWDHURY

 

Date: Nov 18th, 2018

Time: 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Donation: $20 / person

Sponsor Donor $100 / family (Max three)

Food will be available for purchase. Tickets are available now.

Please call Ashram at 732 422 8880.

 

Biography:

Rezwana Choudhury Bannya (Bengali: রেজওয়ানা চৌধুরী বন্যা) is a Bangladeshi Rabindrasangeet singer. She is often referred by her nickname Bannya. She is one of the protégés of Kanika Banerjee.

Banya has been singing from a very early age and was born into a bengali and influental aristocratic family. According to an autobiographical account published in an online journal in 2001, as long as she remembered she dreamt of learning Rabindrasangeet at Visva-Bharati University, the university set up by Rabindranath Tagore on his ancestral property using money awarded for his Nobel Prize. Visva Bharati, to this day, remains a major center for learning Rabindra Sangeet in West Bengal, the other major university in India for this genre being Rabindra Bharati University. Over the years, both universities have developed distinctive styles of singing in this genre. Until the Visva Bharati's copyright of all of Tagore's songs expired, it was mandatory in India for any singer to obtain permission of the Music Board before cutting a record with songs composed by him. It was no wonder that after Banya completed her initial training from Chhayanot in Bangladesh, she wanted to study at Visva Bharati. However, she recounts that she had no intention of making a career out of music, and rather thought she would return to Bangladesh to get a degree in Economics. In the interim she had been admitted to the Bulbul Academy but her training there was cut short in 1971 by the Bangladesh Liberation War. Prior to and during the war, Pakistan suppressed aspects of Bangla language and culture. It was only after Independence that Bangladeshi singers were free to pursue this art form with renewed gusto. At Visva Bharati, renowned exponents such as Kanika Banerjee, Nilima Sen, Ashesh Bandopadhyay and Santideb Ghosh were her mentors. In her autobiographical account she mentors the respect she had for her mentors at Viswa Bharati, particularly Kanika Banerjee. In addition, she learned other forms of Bangla music such as the folk kirtan and the classical tappa. Among instruments, she can play the harmonium and the esraj.

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