For the first time, Kolkatans are going to experience music of unknown artists, who perform on city streets. Vocalists and musicians will unite at the Spices and Sauces of ICCR on January 4, 2020 to take part in the Kolkata Street Music Festival.
Mohammad Ibran, who sells flute, is a brilliant performer. He can play any tune on his flute. He will be a star attraction at the street music festival. Nilanjan Saha is a street food vendor with a difference. Saha a resident of Jadavpur who sells sandwich opposite Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Gol Park. He sings songs to attract people who end up buying his products.
Saha, who sings songs with the accompaniment of a guitar, maintains scale and musical score while presenting old and new Bengali and Hindi songs. Sourojyoti Chatterjee plays violin on the street and has formed a team called Third Stage. It is an experience to listen to him. National award winning Patachitra artiste Kalpana Chitrakar will present her songs at the festival.
The Patachitra of Nayagram in West Midnapore has earned global recognition. Earlier, artistes used to sing on occasions like marriages, naming ceremony in the houses of rich people and used to display their paintings.
Because of poverty many had joined other vocations. After coming to power in 2011, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee introduced Lokparasar Prakalpa where the folk artists are given Rs 2,000 stipend every month.
They are invited to perform in various functions and festivals organised by the state government. The state government has given the instruments such as dhamsa, madal, ektara, and flute at cost to the folk musicians. Subol Das Bairagya and his team will present Bohurupir gan along with the songs that were sung during various festivals like Gajon.
He will also present songs from Mansamangal and Chandimangal, which were very popular in rural Bengal. Anil Mahanto, who sells flute at Dum Dum metro station, will present Tagore’s songs on flute. Street musicians have played a major role in Kolkata’s cultural life.
There were street vendors called the pheriwallas, who used to sell various products, which were very popular among people. The vendors used to produce various sound to attract customers and were active till the mid 1970s. Noted scholar Radha Prasad Gupta has written a book titled Kolkatar Pheriwallader dak O rastar Awaz, which gives a graphic description of different types of pheriwallas and their uniqueness.