Artist of the Month

Alla Megh De, the iconic folk song by Abbasuddin Ahmed, is perhaps one of the most well known compositions in its genre. Its rendition by the poet’s granddaughter Nashid Kamal, got a new meaning the other day before a packed Purbashree auditorium in Salt Lake. Abbasuddin is often considered as the undisputed king of folk compositions and Nashid has emerged as a worthy torchbearer of her grandfather. Nashid had come down to Kolkata from Dhaka to perform at an Abbasuddin memorial programme.

Nashid’s initiation to music was by attending various programmes, along with her family, organised to commemorate the folk legend. Her father, former chief justice Mustafa Kamal, encouraged Nishad to take up music. In fact, it was Mustafa who had introduced Nashid to songs of Nazrul Islam and her grandfather. She started performing regularly for Bangladesh Television from the age of six. Nashid took her harmonium along, when she went abroad for higher studies. She used to riyaz in weekends. She also took music lessons from Pandit Yashraj.

Nashid has toured various countries as a cultural ambassador of Bangladesh and is engaged in spreading Nazrulgeeti to all corners of the world. She has translated Abbasuddin’s autobiography and also Kazi Nazrul’s poems and songs to English. She is also the author of English novel, The Glass Bangles.

Nashid, at present, is a faculty at the BRAC Business School in Dhaka. She had earlier taught at the Dhaka University and Independent University. Besides her interest in singing, Nashid has worked tirelessly for social reforms in her country. Her PhD thesis was on the use of contraceptives for birth control in a developing country like Bangladesh. She has also worked as an adviser on safe motherhood and population control for the UN and the Bangladesh government. The musical heritage of the family is now into the third generation with Nashid’s elder daughter taking to singing, while the younger one is an accomplished dancer.

--- Prabuddha Neogi


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