Bangladesh Music Scene

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Joined: 12/17/2012 - 10:15
Bangladesh Music Scene

From ancient times, music in Bangladesh has served the purpose of documenting the lives of the people and was widely patronized by the rulers. Since the 20th century, music in Bangladesh has been increasingly influenced by western popular music.

The three main categories of Bangladeshi music are Classical, folk and Western-influenced pop

Bangladeshi classical music is based on modes called ragas (rag, in Bengali). All traditional Bengali music tend to be based on various variations of Hindustani Classical Music. Rabindra sangeet (based on the work of the Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore) is one of the best-known genres of Bengali music outside Bangladesh.

Bengali folk has become an important musical influences in the lives of Bengalis on both sides of the (West Bengal-Bangladesh) border. Among these are Lalon Fokir, Hason Raja, Ramesh Shill and Abbas Uddin. All folk songs are characterised by simple musical structure and words. Before the advent of radio, entertainment in the rural areas relied to a large extent on stage performances by folk singers. After the arrival of new communication and digital media, many folk songs were modernised and incorporated into modern songs (Adhunik songeet).

Folk music can be classified into several sub-genres:

  • Baul: mainly inspired by Lalon Fokir and almost exclusively performed by hermits
  • Bhandari: devotional music from the South (mainly Chittagong)
  • Bhatiali: music of fishermen and boatman, almost always tied by a common raga (mode), sung solo
  • Bhawaiya: song of bullock-cart drivers of the North (Rangpur)
  • Gombhira: song (originating in Chapai Nawabganj, in the Northwest) performed with a particular distinctive rhythm and dance with two performers, always personifying a man and his grand father, discussing a topic to raise social awareness
  • Hason Raja: devotional songs written by music composer Hason Raja (from Sylhet, northeastern side of Bangladesh near Assam) that was recently repopularised as dance music
  • Jaari: songs involving musical battle between two groups
  • Jatra Pala: songs associated exclusively with plays (performed on-stage). Usually involves colourful presentations of historical themes.
  • Kirtan: devotional song depicting love of Hindu god Krishno and his (best-known) wife, Radha
  • Kavigan: poems sung with simple music usually presented on stage as a musical battle between poets
  • Lalon: best known of all folk songs and the most import sub-genre of Baul songs, almost entirely attributed to spiritual writer and composer, Lalon Fokir of Kushtia. He is known to all in wast Bengal of India too.(Western Bangladesh, near the border with West Bengal)