A gifted lyricist and composer Kazi Nazrul Islam, credited for composing 2,600 diverse songs in 35 styles, wrote and composed around 20 songs based on popular foreign music.
While working as the music director at the famous music label HMV, between 1928 and 1942, Nazrul wrote and composed these songs following traditional and popular songs of Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries.
Nazrul became fascinated with culture, literature and history of these countries during World War 1 when he was a soldier at the British Indian army, which fought against the central powers consisting of Austria-Hungary, Germany, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire.
‘The ever experimental musician Nazrul composed songs based on diverse music genres and styles. He often used folk tunes or classical ragas in his songs and composed songs based on popular foreign tunes’, said renowned Nazrul Sangeet singer Khairul Anam Shakil.
Thanks to Nazrul’s wonderful ability of incorporating the tunes of the foreign songs in his compositions many of his songs, influenced by foreign music genres, became very popular, said Shakil, also general secretary of Bangladesh Nazrul Sangeet Shangstha.
Nazrul wrote and composed Chamke Chamke Bhiru Bhiru Pay and Rum Jhum Jhum Jhum based on Arabic songs, Tribhuboner Priyo Mohammad and Shukno Patar Nupur Paye based on Turkish songs, Dur Dwipo Bashini based on a Cuban song, Momero Putul Momir Desher Meye based on an Egyptian song, Iraner Bulbuli, Anarkali Anarkali, Mamo Tanur Mayur Singhasan based on Persian songs, Phuler Jalsay Nirab Keno Kabi based on an Iranian folk song, Nazrul researchers said.
As for Nazrul’s interest in foreign music, there are different opinions and no verified source of information. ‘A possible source might be gramophone records those he listened to while working with HMV as a music director’, said Nazrul researcher Dr Karunamaya Goswami.
Nazrul researchers and musicians observe that through these songs Nazrul Sangeet has secured a special position in the hearts of generations of Bangla music lovers.
‘Besides enriching Bangla music, Nazrul’s songs prove how open and experimental Nazrul was when it came to composing songs’, veteran Nazrul singer Khalid Hossain said.
Nazrul was open-minded when it came to using musical instruments in his compositions, Khalid said.
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