Dhaka, Nov 14 (UNB)- There is perhaps no debate that folk songs are one of the most vital cornerstones of Bengali music. Similarly every nation in the world has its own folk heritage, each different and unique on the basis of history, geography and experience.
Seeking to highlight its significance to the people and revitalise Bangla folk music, like every year, this year Dhaka International Folk Fest (DIFF) kicked off where artists from not only Bangladesh but from around the world are rocking the stage, while enchanting Dhakaites with the wealth of the musical heritage they carry with them.
The opening day of the Fifth edition of DIFF saw a huge crowd waiting patiently only to get lost in the music of roots at Bangladesh Army Stadium Thursday. Spanning three days, the fest will be entertaining the public till November 16.
Fifth edition of Dhaka International Folk Fest (DIFF) was dedicated to six lost legends of Bangla music ---Fakir Abdur Rob Shah, Subir Nandi, Bari Siddiqui, Shahnaz Rahmatullah, Ahmed Imtiaz Bulbul and Ayub Bachchu.
Bhabna Nritya Dol led by Prema had the honour of opening the fest with their mesmerising dance moves with beats of Bengal.
With their soothing tune, Georgian folk band Chveneburebi took the stage later but first they surprised the audience by speaking in Bangla --- “Swagotom Dhaka! Tomra kemon acho?” (‘Welcome Dhaka! How are you?’) and the response was an eruption of applause.
Founded in 2001, the group has gained popularity by playing different types of folk. In addition to touring , members of the group are contributing to revitalise Georgian folk culture by collecting folk songs from different regions of Georgia.
Following their performance consisting of the folk tunes of Georgia, the official inauguration took place where Planning Minister MA Mannan inaugurated the festival as the chief guest.
He remarked that it is essential to get the new generation introduced to the tune of folk culture and loft the spirit and love for people. The crowd large in number had some enthusiastic faces scattered all over.
Ehsan, a student of a private university said his love for folk music and rich history of rural Bangladesh drives him every year to this jolly and refreshing show.
The excitement of the audience reached another level when phenomenal Shah Alam Sarkar, the unique artist, songwriter and composer of Bangla Baul songs took the stage and captivated those in attendance.
The artist famous for his contribution to folk literature and song of the country sang epic tracks like, ‘Ami Jaare Bashi Bhalo’, ‘Kalar Bashir Shure Mon Udashi’ and many more.
After his enigmatic performance, a more electrifying one was put on by Daler Singh, popularly known as Daler Mehndi of India who is widely known for putting Bhangra folk songs on map.
Touted as ‘The King of Bhangra’, year after year he gifted the audience of subcontinent melodious and pumping tracks like ‘Bolo ta ra ra ra’ and ‘Tunak Tunak’. Daler was recently awarded ‘Best Live Performer’ by Global Indian Music Awards (GIMA).
The first day of DIFF had such a bang to it that it is of no doubt the music loving folks will surely flock Friday to enjoy another session with performances of Bauliana singers Kamruzzaman Rabbi and Shafikul Islam, legendary Bangladeshi folk bard Kajol Dewan, Pakistani sufi singer Hina Nasrullah, popular Bangladeshi folk singer Fakir Shabuddin and Malian singer Habib Koité and his band Bamada.
Arranged by Sun Foundation, the co-hosts of DIFF 2019 include Meril, Dhaka Bank Limited and Radhuni.
The Country Music Association Awards almost fully honored and highlighted the women of country music — whose songs have been heavily dismissed on country radio over the years — until two words were uttered when they named its entertainer of the year: Garth Brooks.
Wednesday night’s show kicked off with a performance featuring country female acts across generations, included three female hosts and had Maren Morris as its top nominee. But in the final moments, Brooks won the top prize over Carrie Underwood, who many had hoped would be the first female to win entertainer of the year since 2011.
Brooks did highlight female acts during his acceptance speech at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
“If they gave this award for this show tonight, I’d have to give it to Reba McEntire’s performance,” Brooks said, while also praising Kelsea Ballerini and Luke Combs, who won two honors.
All eyes seemed to be on Underwood, who had a successful year with her album “Cry Pretty” and an all-female tour, for an entertainer of the year win. The last woman to win the prize was Taylor Swift, and Underwood was this year’s sole female nominee.
Underwood hosted the show alongside McEntire and Dolly Parton, and though she didn’t win any awards, Underwood did win over the audience: She was a vocal beast, hitting all the right notes and more during a smoky performance of “Drinking Alone.”
Morris also marked the big night for female country acts by taking home album of the year for “GIRL.” The award also went to her producer busbee, who died in September at age 43 from brain cancer.
“I would be really remiss if I didn’t mention a huge facet of why this album sounds the way it does, and we miss him so dearly. He texted me the morning that we got the nomination for album of the year this year, and we were so excited, and that’s our friend busbee,” a teary-eyed Morris said onstage. “His wife Jess is here tonight and she looks so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your husband with us once a month, and my heart just goes out to you and your beautiful daughters. I hope when they listen to this record or any of the songs that he made that made us all better, they know how amazing their father was.”
Kacey Musgraves, who won four Grammys this year, picked up female vocalist of the year and music video of the year for “Rainbow.”
“The female creative spirit, the female energy is really needed right now, it’s really important and I feel like it’s something that Earth needs. So whether it’s me that’s up here or any of the other women in this category, I just think that it’s a beautiful thing and I’m very appreciative,” Musgraves said.
Other women who won Wednesday included Ashley McBryde, who won new artist of the year, and fiddle player Jenee Fleenor, named musician of the year.
Musgraves, joined by Willie Nelson, gave a wonderful performance of “Rainbow Connection” from “The Muppet Movie,” even weaving in some of her own song “Rainbow.” Pink also shined, with Chris Stapleton by her side, as she performed the song “Love Me Anyway.” And Dan + Shay, who won vocal duo of the year, gave a beautiful, heartwarming performance of the hit “Speechless.”
In a white dress and standing on a stage donned with white flowers, Morris — who is pregnant — performed her hit song “GIRL,” touching her belly as she hit a high note at the end of her performance.
“GIRL” was also nominated for single of the year and song of the year, but it lost in both categories (the winners were Blake Shelton’s “God’s Country” and Combs’ “Beautiful Crazy”). Morris also lost musical event of the year to Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus’ ubiquitous No. 1 hit, “Old Town Road.”
Combs, who has dominated the country charts and streaming services with his songs and albums, also won male vocalist of the year, beating out Stapleton, Keith Urban, Thomas Rhett and Dierks Bentley.
“I remember sitting on my parents’ porch as a little kid and watching Vince Gill win this same award,” he said. “Country music means everything to me.”
The three-hour CMA Awards kicked off with a dose of girl-power: Parton, Underwood and McEntire were joined by Tanya Tucker, Terri Clark, Crystal Gayle, Sara Evans, Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman, Maren Morris, Brandi Carlile, Gretchen Wilson, Martina McBride and more, singing classic country songs across two stages.
After the performance Parton asked, “What do you call three women hosting the CMAs?”
“Your lucky night,” she screamed.
McEntire added that they joined forces to host the show and perform the opening number to inspire young women watching the awards show from their TV screens.
Kris Kristofferson was also honored with a performance featuring Sheryl Crow, Bentley, John Osborne and Chris Janson. Other performers included Brooks & Dunn, Shelton, Combs, Urban, Rhett, and Lady Antebellum with Halsey.
The fifth edition of Dhaka International Folk Fest will begin Thursday evening at Bangladesh Army Stadium.
Two hundred artists from six countries will be performing everyday till 12am throughout the three-day festival till November 16.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen will inaugurate the festival as chief guest while Anjan Chowdhury, chairman of Sun Foundation and Sun Communications Limited, will be attending the ceremony.
Dhaka International Folk Fest is a celebration of sheer musical brilliance where myriads of folk artistes from home and abroad perform on a single platform, according to its website.
Shah Alam Sarkar, Fakir Shahabuddin, Chandana Majumdar, Kajol Dewan, Malek Kawal, Kamruzzaman Rabbi, Shafikul Islam and Bhabna Nritya Dol from Bangladesh will perform alongside Daler Mehndi from India, Junoon and Hina Nasrullah from Pakistan, Sattuma from Russia, Chveneburebi from Georgia, Habib Koité & Bamada from Mali to celebrate the spirit of folk music at the festival.
Sun Foundation started the festival. It will be broadcast live on Maasranga Television.
Female acts may be scarce on contemporary country radio and the country charts, but they brought girl power to the 2019 Country Music Association with a resilient performance featuring top women from the genre, from Dolly Parton to Carrie Underwood to Reba McEntire.
The three acts, who are hosting Wednesday’s show together, were joined by Tanya Tucker, Terri Clark, Crystal Gayle, Sara Evans, Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman, Maren Morris, Brandi Carlile, Gretchen Wilson, Martina McBride and more, singing classic country songs across two stages.
After the performance Parton asked, “What do you call three women hosting the CMAs?”
“Your lucky night,” she screamed.
McEntire added they joined forces to host the show and perform the opening number to inspire young women watching the awards show from their TV screens.
Morris is also representing women at the show: She’s the most nominated-act at the show, airing live on ABC from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. She will pay tribute to her producer busbee, who died in September at age 43 and shares two nominations with Morris for his work on her acclaimed project, “GIRL.” And Wednesday night’s show will mark the pregnant singer’s “kid’s first awards show” — as she put it.
“Dolly Parton touched my stomach earlier when we were rehearsing, so he's been touched by an angel,” Morris said in an interview with The Associated Press this week.
Morris, who won a Grammy for her debut hit “My Church” in 2017, has a chance to win up to multiple trophies at the CMAs thanks to her work as an artist, songwriter and producer. Her six nominations include female vocalist of the year and album of the year for “GIRL,” which she co-wrote and co-produced, while the title track is up for single of the year and song of the year. “GIRL” topped Billboard's country airplay chart this year, the first time a solo female had a No. 1 hit on that chart in well over a year.
Morris, 29, said winning album of the year would be a big deal, especially since busbee, who also produced her debut album “Hero,” worked on most of the songs on “GIRL.”
“It's bittersweet going into Wednesday because it just feels like he should be here,” she said of the producer, who also worked with Pink, Florida Georgia Line and Shakira. “He just had such an impact on this town, on me as an artist, as a friend, as a neighbor. So it just feels like we're going to be celebrating no matter what Wednesday. And we're also going to be like sad that our friend isn't here to celebrate with us because this record would not sound the way it does without him."
Busbee has a chance to posthumously win album of the year for “GIRL.”
“(Busbee) and I were freaking out when the nominations came in,” Morris said, “and I know that he would have worn the most badass tux and watch and probably sneakers, but now he'll be there in spirit.”
Busbee was also nominated for musical event of the year for Morris and Brothers Osborne’s collaboration, “All My Favorite People,” a song he produced, but lost to Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus’ ubiquitous No. 1 hit, “Old Town Road,” the CMAs announced on ABC’s “Good Morning America” early Wednesday. Another early winner was Kacey Musgraves’ “Rainbow” for music video of the year.
Morris isn’t the only women who could make history at the CMAs: Underwood could be the first female to win entertainer of the year since 2011, when Taylor Swift took home the honor. Underwood is the sole women competing for the top prize along with Garth Brooks, Chris Stapleton, Eric Church and last year’s winner, Keith Urban. No women were nominated in the top category in 2018 and 2017.
When asked about the CMAs deciding to honor women with an opening performance and having three female hosts, Urban said: “It’s crazy it has to come to that.”
“You would think it’s just a balanced, fair, here it is, here’s all the music that we make and a nice big mix of it. But high time this is happening. I mean, all you gotta do is play it, just play the records. That’s it. Not rocket science. There’s so much great music being made by girls in this town. Just play it,” he said.
Underwood’s other nominations include female vocalist of the year and album of the year for “Cry Pretty,” which marks the first time the singer co-produced and co-wrote each song on a project. Others competing for album of the year include Church’s “Desperate Man,” Thomas Rhett’s “Center Point Road” and Dan + Shay’s self-titled third album, which featured the hits “Speechless,” “All to Myself” and “Tequila,” which won the duo its first Grammy earlier this year.
Kris Kristofferson will be honored with a performance featuring Sheryl Crow, Dierks Bentley, John Osborne and Chris Janson. Other set to take the stage are Brooks & Dunn, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Kacey Musgraves with Willie Nelson, Stapleton with Pink, and Lady Antebellum with Halsey.
The 71st birth anniversary of legendary writer, author, screenwriter, playwright and filmmaker Humayun Ahmed was celebrated on Wednesday.
Meher Afroz Shaon, wife of the late author, along with their two sons, relatives and fans cut a birthday cake at Nuhash Palli in Gazipur in the morning.
They also paid homage to him placing wreaths at his grave.
Talking to reporters, Shaon said a museum will be built in Nuhash Palli in the name of Humayun Ahmed. “The site and design have already been finalised.”
She also said the plan to establish the Humayun Ahmed Cancer Hospital cannot be materialised for lack of entrepreneurship.
Meanwhile, fans paid respects to their beloved author at the Nuhash Palli throughout the day. Besides, different cultural organisations along with TV channels, radio stations and print media celebrated the birth anniversary through various events.
Humayun Ahmed (November 13, 1948–July 19, 2012) who was often regarded as the best writer in Bengali literature after Rabindranath Tagore and Kazi Nazrul Islam got his major breakthrough with debut novel Nondito Noroke published in 1972.
He wrote over 200 fiction and non-fiction books, all of which were bestsellers in Bangladesh and are still popular among his readers. His books were the top sellers at the Ekushey Book Fair during the 1990s and 2000s.
For his majestic writing, he won many prestigious awards, including country’s highest honor Ekushey Padak (1994) award, and Bangla Academy Literary Award (1981), for his contribution to Bengali literature.
As a prolific filmmaker, he went on to make a total of eight films - each based on his own novels and won seven Bangladesh National Film Awards in different categories for the films Daruchini Dwip, Aguner Poroshmoni and Ghetuputra Komola.
Often credited with revitalising Bengali literature, Humayun Ahmed is best known for his ‘magic-realism’ based writing.