Sunday, November 25, 2007

Minstrel's Evening

Minstrel's Evening used to be an annual event, where we celebrated Martinian musicality. This was first organised by the now defunct Minstrel's Club (hence the name), and later was taken on by Mr. Abraham Mazumdar and his boys. However, for various reasons, the event stopped occuring, and we went by 6 years without having a Minstrel's Evening take place.
This year, when my good friends Varun Kishore and Bhaskar Dutta took over the presidency and vice presidency of a very inactive Music Club (which had started off as a successor to the Minstrel's Club), they had made the Secretary of the club. The three of us were involved in this show presented by the Reader's Club celebrating 40 years of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band at the Seagull Bookstore. During the run-up to the show, we decided that we would be the ones to revive the Minstrel's Evening event, having a two part programme comprising the orchestra and the band which performed at Seagull.
We approached the Principal, Mr. Sunirmal Chakravarthi, with only a vague idea of what would take place. He gave us the go-ahead, and even gave us a few pointers as to what we should be working towards. Thus, we began planning Minstrel's Evening.
Varun and Bhaskar worked out the programme between them, and we had the posters designed and printed with a little help from Varun and his dad. Stephen and Steve, the mainstays of the school band, decided to present two acoustic renditions, while the orchestra were working out their own stuff. After a lot of pleading, I managed to persuade Bhaskar and Varun into playing a Bob Dylan song which would feature my vocals...initially we were set for All Along The Watchtower, which was changed last moment to Knockin' On Heaven's Door.
We planned Minstrel's Evening as a quiet, formal affair, much unlike any of our school fests, and so we kept it simple. That's exactly how it turned out. I had a very simple job as an Announcer, and the turnout was quite decent. I got to sing more than I thought I would, providing vocals on Knockin' On Heaven's Door and Time of Your Life with Bhaskar, being part of the Choral piece Glory to God and providing co-vocals on Prithibi. The Beatles were most prominent on the song list, thanks to Bhaskar's inherent bias for the same. Stephen and Steve did an amazing job of Tears in Heaven and More Than Words, and were very well received for their rendition. The evening was brought to a rocking conclusion with Gautam Chattopadhyay's Prithibi...featuring a collaboration between the orchestra and the band and with the vocals of 6 singers...yes, 6 voices belted out Prithibi. The song brought to an end a very successful revival of Minstrel's Evening for the Music Club of La Martiniere.
Music has an amazing power of it's own...otherwise, why would non-Bengalis like Kandoi and Gambhir etc, who didn't know even a word of the lyrics, be so moved by the song Prithibi? It is because music, when played from the heart, speaks its own language and communicates more than any meaningless phone conversation we can ever have.
"Prithibi-ta naki choto hote hote satellite ar cable-er hate
Drawing room rakha boka baksho te bondi...
Ghore boshe shara duniyar shathe jogajog aaj hater muthute
Guje gechhe desh kal shimanar gondi...
Bhebey dekhecho ki, tararao joto alo borsho dure, taro dure
Tumi ar aami jai krome shore shore..."


Anonymous Param said...

I wish, I could have come...totally forgot about guys probably played all my favourite you have any videos of the event ??? I would really like to see them..guess there's always next year...(hopefully)

7:07 PM  
Blogger Nupur58 said...

ayzanqydbug,as far as Prithibi is concerned,you don't need to understand the lyrics at all,because the melody itself is way too strong,way too beautiful to not be loved!!
and Minstrels' Evening wa sgreat....: )
for more reasons than one for me!!
: )

10:28 PM  

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