Homage to folk maestro Abbasuddin

Rich tributes go to late Abbasuddin Ahmed, a pioneer in Bangla folk music, whose birth anniversary is being observed today, 27 October. The singing talent was born in 1901 in an aristocratic family at Balarampur village under Tufanganj subdivision in Cooch Behar district, currently in West Bengal. Late Zafar Ali Ahmed, the father of Abbasuddin, was a practising lawyer at the Tufanganj sub-divisional court.

Abbasuddin earned laurels during his schooling period through participations in musical soirees and cultural events. Brief tutelage from Ustad Jamiruddin Khan in Kolkata and later from Ustad Kader Buksh in Murshidabad helped the folk maestro boost his gifted flair. Vocal disciplines like Bhawaiyya, Chatka and Ksirol from greater Rangpur and Cooch Behar were some of Abbasuddin’s specialties. The endowed singer had equal capabilities in other types of songs belonging to modern, patriotic and Islamic genres.

Folk types like jaari, saari, bhatiyali, murshidi, bicchedi, marsiya, dehatattwa and pala gan were too rendered by Abbasuddin with tremendous acclaim from fans. “Young Abbas, being a sincere devotee of folk music, often used to skip evening study assignments to attend open air village concerts of pala gaan, locally known as Kushaan gaan”, recollects a close relative of the late singer.

Appraised compositions of poets Kazi Nazrul Islam, Jashimuddin and Ghulam Mustafa were sung by Abbasuddin including ‘Ramzan-er oi roza-r sheshey…’., ‘Ashibey tumi jani priyo…’, ‘Snigdha shyam beni borno….’.

A well-known folk song “Allah megh de….” points towards the scorching sun as peasants sing awaiting rain. Some other numbers vocalised by Abbasuddin include “Amay bhashaili re…..”, “Nadir kul nai kinar nai….”, “Prana shakhire oi shon kadambatalay ……” and “Amar har kala karlam rey …..”.

Recording companies including His Master’s Voice (HMV), Megaphone, Twin and Regal honoured the singer by releasing his gramophone records.

Singer Abbasuddin resided in Kolkata from 1931 to 1947. One of his noteworthy professional careers was joining the Department of Information and Broadcasting as a music organiser. Abbasuddin participated in international musical seminars and conference in the Philippines, Germany and erstwhile Burma.

Titled Amar Shilpi Jibaner Katha, a memoir-based autobiography of the singer was published in 1960. For his invaluable contribution to music, late Abbasuddin received Pride of Performance Award in 1960, Shilpakala Academy Award in 1979 and Independence Day Award in 1981, all in posthumous state.

Abbasuddin Ahmed passed away in December, 1959, of prolonged illness.

News Source: 
The Daily Sun