Music, Politics, News,

World mourns death of Girija Devi; last rites in Varanasi on Thursday

Indian classical music has lost a voice.  An era has come to end with the sudden demise of noted Indian classical singer, ‘Thumri Queen’, Girija Devi fondly called fondly known “Appa ji”.She was 88.



Born in a zamindar family at a village near Banaras on 8 May 1929, Girija Devi had taken up classical music in the very early age. An exponent of Thumri, Tappa, Chaiti, Kajri, Hori, Tarana, Sadra and other forms of Hindustani classical music,  Girija Devi was groomed in the tradition of the Benaras and Seniya gharanas. She had made her public debut on All India Radio Allahabad in 1949.

She was conferred with all three Padma awards. Girija Devi was conferred with Padma Shri in 1972, Padma Bhushan in 1989 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2016. She also received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship.


Girija Devi was not keeping well since long, she was suffering from various old age related ailments.  On Tuesday afternoon, Girija Devi was admitted to BM Birla Hospital in Kolkata in a critical condition after suffering a cardiac arrest. Girija Devi breathed her last around 9 pm.


Noted musician and vocalist Rashid Khan said, “She was so full of warmth, I always saw her like a mother. I am deeply shocked to hear the news. I recall the special moments I have shared with her on tours and at home”.


Eminent vocalist Pt. Ajoy Chakraborty recalled his association with Girija Devi and said, “I cannot believe the news, everybody called her ‘Appa ji” while I used call her ‘Amma’. I cannot believe that ffrom tomorrow I won’t be meeting her. I know she will fill with music where ever she is.  I am loss of words”. From musicians to her disciples and numerous admirers began reaching her residence to pay their last respects.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tweeted to mourn the demise of Girija Devi. West Bengal Chief Minister Banerjee has also paid her tributes to Girija Devi. She recalled that her government had conferred the Sangit Mahasamman and Bangabibhushan awards on the singer in 2012 and 2015 respectively.

The state government has made arrangements for people to pay their last respects. Her body will be kept at Academy on Wednesday.

Her mortal remains will be consigned to flames on the banks of River Ganges (Ganga) Thursday in Varanasi.





Kalika ‘Dohar’ Prasad’s untimely death has silenced Bengali Folk music

Noted Bengali ‘Folk Musician’ Kalika Prasad Bhattacharjee died in a car accident in Hooghly district’s Gurap town on Tuesday morning. Known for his immense research in the field of folk and tribal music, Kalika was often called as encyclopedia of music. His death has snathched away a significant voice which continued a relentless work in music. The void created by Kalika will never be filled. Kalika will live in the heats of music lovers. By Pallab Ghosh
Barely a week after iconic singer Banasree Sengupta had left for her heavenly abode, another iconic Bengali singer Kalika Prasad Bhattacharjee left this world at a prime age of 47 on Tuesday early morning. Kalika Prasad is a well known name among Bengali households for his immense contribution in the field of Bengali Folk Music. Kalika began his musical journey with Bengal Folk Music Band “Dohar” in early 90’s. Before that most of the bands would feature rock, acid rock and fusion music in Bengal. The only exception was Bengali band ‘Bhoomi’, which was a mix-bag of folk and modern Bengali music band. ‘Dohar’ was the first to infuse age old ‘nostalgic’ folk numbers (Procholito in Bengali) taking people by storm and soon large section of Bengali speaking people began to follow ‘Dohar’. The most popular number that had made waves was “Kun Gange…Kun gange ailo pani ..” All the songs sung by Kalika became huge success. Later Dohar had split and become ‘Mokam’. 
Kalika had immense research and had done extensive study in his subject. Infact,he was called an encyclopedia on folk and tribal music by his fellow musician friends. Well, not a bit of execration, since Kalika would explain and narrate the details of the songs from reason why it is sung to the region where it belongs to and even at time would add the attire or habitat of that particular region. Most recently Kalika was seen in the Bengali SaReGaMAPa on Zee Bangla channel. 
On Tuesday early morning, Kalika and three others were on their way to  hit by a truck. Following the collision, his car fell into a ditch on Durgapur expressway at Gurap, Hooghly. He was in the front seat beside the driver. According to preliminary reports, the Inova car in which they were travelling had hit a metal strip after which its presumed that the Inova car in which they were travelling had smashed into a series of fencing and had hit a culvert before failing into a 20 feet ditch from where the locals had recovered him and other. Others have survived though are still in critical condition but God was not so kind for Kalika who was taken to Burdwan Medical College and Hospital, where he was declared dead. The news of his death had spread like wild fire taking entire music fraternity and his fans crying and mourning his untimely death.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who shared a cordial relationship on personal level had tweeted that she has lost a friend. She also paid her tributes to the singer while his mortal remains were brought to Kolkata. Banerjee had come out of Nabanna (Secretariat) and waited for the hearse to arrive on the Kona Expressway.   His mortal remains were taken to his house and then to Rabindra Sadan where it was kept for people to pay their last respects. Around 6 PM his mortal remains were take to Keoratala Burning Ghat in Kolkata where his mortal remains were consigned to flames. On entering the crematorium, he was given 21 gun salutes. Twitter and Facebook was filled with messages and condolences. 
With that an era came to end, era of folk music. He will be missed by those who love and admire folk music.  Kalika Prasad will be missed more in the days and years to come since Folk and Tribal music has remained largely untouched. There are not many people who take the initiative to work in the the field of tribal and folk music. The new generation will always be benefited from the immense research work done by him. Kalika is survived by his wife and five-year old daughter. 
Kalika Prasad was full of life and infused energy in others with his music, he will be always remembered through his music…
Music, Politics, News,, Uncategorized

Miss you Nazia Hassan!

Recalling the ‘nostalgia’ that Nazia Hassan and Zoheb Hassan had created in early 80’s with their album “Disco Deewane”. Nazia brought in a new concept of Hindi pop and took the entire world by storm. As a musician, Nazia did not have a very long career. Just five albums, but withing this short span of her musical life Nazia had created a special place for her.


On 51st birth anniversary of Nazia Hassan, the lady who not only created a history in the world of Hindi Pop Music way back in early 80’s but was probably the first to introduce a new concept of ‘Hindi Pop Music’ with her ‘nostalgic’ album Disco Deewane’. This followed numerous pop icons who made their mark in Hindi pop-music but they are my focus today. It’s Nazia Hassan who is no more, but her music still mesmerise us. The story began with ‘Disco Diwanee’, the pop album of Nazia-Zoheb Hassan (the brother-sister duo which had by then created a name in music in London with Nazia Hassan-Zoheb Hasan Fan Club). The man who brought them on the platform is Biddu, the music composer who too needs no introduction. Some of the songs from the album like ‘Disco Deewane’, ‘Aaona Pyar Kerin’, ‘Lekin Mera Dil’ ‘Tere Kadmon Ko’, Mujhey Chahe Na Chahe’, ‘Komal Komal’ took the music world by storm, the album had registered a record sale all over the world.

Nazia Hassan - Disco Deewane

The album ‘Disco Deewane’ in those days was release Long Playing Records or LP and audio cassettes. The LP used to come with two major attractions – The lyrics printed in both Hindi and English. However, the biggest attraction was perhaps the centrefold (poster) of Nazia Hassan. By this time Nazia had become the ‘Diva’ of pop music and numerous people had fallen in love with her.


Nazia got the name, ‘Queen of Pop’ music in Asia, quite true she was beautiful and attractive young lady with a mesmerising voice. Born into a Muhajir family in Karachi, Pakistan and brought up in Karachi and London. She was the daughter of Basir Hassan, a businessman, and Muniza Basir, an active social worker.

Nazia took to music since her school days, when she began singing during the late 1970s, and even appeared on several television shows on Pakistan Television (PTV) as a child artist. Her professional career started at the age of fifteen when she provided the lead vocals for the song ‘Aap Jaise Koi Mere Jindagi Mein Aaye”, for beautiful and vivacious Zeenat Aman in Feroz Khan’s Bollywood flick ‘Qurbani’ (1980). The peppy number took entire India by storm and became so popular that the Nazia-Zoheb duo was offered to sing in another Bollywood flick ‘Star’ featuring Kumar Gaurav and Poonam Dhillon. Again the songs of Star broke all records.

In a heart to heart conversation with one and only Tabassum who used to host the popular television interview show in the 80’s, called “Phool Khile Hain Gulshan Gulshan”, Nazia had shared her love for music and plans to work in music but only after completion of her studies. Both brother and sister had expressed their gratitude to Indian listeners for the love and admiration.

Nazia Hassan received her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Economics at the Richmond American University in London. In 1991, she became an intern in the Women’s International Leadership program at the United Nations. Later, she went on to work for United Nations Security Council. She held a London University Law (LLB) degree.


Nazia-Zoheb’s third album, “Young Tarang” was released in 1984. It was the first album in Pakistan to feature music videos, which were made in London by David Rose and Kathy Rose. The album became one of the most popular in Asia. “Ankhien Milane Wale”. Some of the other lovely numbers – It was much later they came out with their album “Young Tarang” which again had some lovely numbers in the mesmerising voices of Nazia and Zoheb like -“Aag”, “Dum Dum Dede”, “Kya Howa”, “Dosti”, “Sunn”, not to forget the beautiful number “Ankhien Milane Wale”. It was during this time popular Doordarshan news-reader Shiela Chaman had flown down to London to interview the duo and we got the opportunity to see them composing, performing live in London. Also the private person Nazia, who take the television crew through her room and music”.


Their fourth album “Hotline” was released in 1987. Some of the popular numbers from the album – “Telephone”, “Hum Aurr Tum”, “Aan Haan”, “Teri Yaad”, “Ajnabi”, “Hamaisha”, not forget ‘Dosti”.

In 1991, Nazia and Zoheb Hassan recorded their fifth album, ‘Camera Camera’ which unlike all her previous albums could not create that ‘boom’ in the markets. With this album, Nazia and Zoheb announced that it would be their last album. The album was released in 1992. Nazia left singing career to focus on her personal life. Biddu composed a song, “Made in India” and had approached Nazia to sing the numebr but she refused fearing that might offend Pakistan. “Made In India” was sung by Alisha Chinai and turned out to be massive hit which made Chiani the pop diva who had conquered the hears of music lovers with the songs in the Bolywood flick “Tarzan” staring Hemant Birje and Kimi Katkar. Chinai’s “Babydoll” album too became a ‘big’ hit.


Nazia Hassan tied the nupital-knot on March 30, 1995 with businessman Mirza Ishtiaq Baig in an Islamic wedding ceremony held in Karachi. This took place after her being diagnosed with cancer. She gave birth to a son Arez Hassan born on April 7, 1997. Their marriage ended in a divorce. In an interview, Zoheb Hassan related that Nazia’s personal life was filled with turmoil and she fought personal battles incessantly.


Nazia Hassan fought a long battle with cancer during the last years of her life and died of lung cancer in London on 13 August 2000 at the age of 35. She had been admitted to North London Hospice in London. The sad news came, just ten days after their divorce, the “Queen of Pop”, Nazia Hassan bid adiew to this world.


Her Namaz-e-janaza took place at Golders Green Crematorium and she was buried at Hendon Cemetery (Muslim Section) in London per Islamic rites.

Nazia Hassan, will continue to live through her music in the hearts of million music lover…


Let’s take a glance at the list of the albums:

1980 Disco Deewane
1982 Boom Boom
1984 Young Tarang
1987 Hotline
1992 Camera