A unique concert of Tagore songs with the accompaniment of Indian and Western musical instruments is planned for Saturday, July the 18th, 2009, at 6-30 P.M. at the fabulous sanctuary of the futuristic Saint Peters Church in the heart of New York City at 619 Lexington Avenue (corner of 54th Street), New York City. Rezwana Choudhury Bannya, the famed Tagore singer, will be the solo vocalist. Among the instruments will be Piano, Violin, Saxophone, Harp, Cello, Veena, Sitar, Flute, Tabla, Mandira etc. The musicians who will play these instruments are all accomplished artistes in their respective areas. This is the first time that such a concert is being offered where so many Western instruments will be played with Tagore songs (or any other Bengali song genre, for that matter) at the same session. As planned, Ms. Bannya will sing an average of two songs with each instrument individually. At the end, two or more songs are expected to be offered with all the instruments playing together.
Suggested donations for the concert has been set at $100, $50 and $25, to defray the costs for the concert. Guests are requested to arrive on time and take their seats by 6-30 pm so that the session may start on time. The entrance is through the 54th Street south side doors, less than 50 feet from Lexington Avenue while walking towards Third Avenue. Discount parking is available at Metropolitan 51 Parking, 569 Lexington Avenue, south side of 51st Street, between Lexington and 3rd Avenue ($15 for upto five hours).. For getting the discount, the tickets have to be endorsed by a seal at the reception desk at the church entrance.
Those interested to attend the concert and collect tickets are requested to ontact: 347-570-7787, 917-770-0146, 718-414-9743 or send email at following adresses:
email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
As I entered the theatre the house was full and audibly expectant; as the play ended crowd was visibly appreciative and a few even ecstatic which was quite an achievement and cause for satisfaction for the group of people who presented Banaprasthaat Edison Valley Playhouse on May 31, 2009. The play was generally well produced. A full house helps to create an environment of connectivity between the performers and audience. Perception of a full house and ambience that it helps create encourage the players to be their best. Selection of this adequately equipped arena, small in size, reflects producers’ sensibility about the importance of interaction between the players and the viewers and economic prudence at the same time.
I’d like to express my sincere thanks to all those of you who came to watch our play “Banaprastha” (The Retirement). We had full houses on all the four days and it was a testament to the fact that New Jersey Bengalis like to watch quality theatre if we can offer them. However, it was not only Jerseyans who came to our show, people came from Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York city and even Buffalo New York. The overall feedback has been extremely positive, and people are asking for more shows. Such encouragement is what makes all this hard work worth it and drives us to our next venture. We hope that with your good wishes, we’ll be able to keep up with your expectations and put New Jersey on the map of serious and quality Bengali theatre for time to come.
ECTA’s latest production “Banaprastha” premiered at the Edison Valley Playhouse on May 16th in front of a full house. The play was very well received by the audience as you can see in the accompanying video. The second show was held on May 17th. Besides the video comments, here are some of the comments sent over the email.
“We thoroughly enjoyed Banaprasta. This is a very timely production. I wish this drama can be viewed by millions Indians in India in view of the fact that India is crazy about Bollywood. Once again congratulations for presenting a great drama.” – Aurobindo Mukherjee
Do you write in Bengali or any other Indian languages? Try quillpad! Its a great new online wordprocessor for Indian languages. The cool thing about this tool is its flexibility in transliteration. One does not need to follow any specific set of rules. The tool automatically tries to guess the word that you want to type in, and also offers multiple alternatives. This is an excellent feature because it can take care of several Bangla spelling issues. The documentation says that it works better on Internet Explorer, however I tried it on Firefox and Chrome and it works fine. One issue I encountered was the limitation of Bangla font availablility. Currently the font used is “Vrinda” and it’s not the best Bangla font available. The other issue is that this tool seems to have limited formatting capability. I am concerned about how effectively can this tool be used to write Bengali documents besides emails and small messages.
I plan to check this tool out in more details and write a regular article some time later.
After a long preparation phase, the end is now in sight. In two weeks time, ECTA will be launching their latest production, “Banaprastha” or “The Retirement”. ECTA’s play have always generated interest amongst the theater lover audience of this area and “Banaprastha” is no exception. People are eagerly waiting for the new play with lot of expectation. We hope this play will live up to that.
“Banaprastha” will feature some of the regular performers of ECTA along with few new faces. Shamyo Goswami, a newcomer to New Jersey will be appearing for the first time on NJ stage. Although Shamyo’s primary interest is in film direction (he has directed and produced a Banga Tele-serial featuring some of the top actors of Bengali screen), he is also an excellent actor. Subhodev Das, after a long hiatus, will be performing the role of the protagonist character – Dr. Parijat Sen. Another newcomer is Pradeep Ramdas. Although not a native Bengali speaker, his love for Bengali theater is no less than any Bengali. In India, Pradeep was involved with the street theater movement. Pradeep plays the role of Ashok Diwan, a young business man of Kolkata. Kaninika Dutta’s debut in New Jersey theater was with Pratham Alo, where she acted in the key role of Bhumisuta. Kaninika, after a long break, returns to the stage as Sudeshna. Gargi Mukherjee, the well known actress (you cannot miss her in Mira Nair’s film – The Namesake) also returns to an ECTA production after a long time. She performed in ECTA’s first production “Phera” (The Return) in 2004 as a guest artist. In Banaprastha, she performs in the role of Suranjana – a character that will touch the hearts of many. Kaushik Dutta, who won the hearts of many with his role of Nando in “Ron”, will also feature in an important character role.
The famous Joynagar moa, a confectionery prepared from date palm jaggery (nalen gur) and puffed, rice could be given a geographical indication (GI) patent. If awarded, the patent would be the second for a produce of Bengal, after Darjeeling tea. Also in the pipeline for a GI patent are Bardhamaner Sithabhog, Shaktigarer lyangcha and Mursidabad silk. Continue reading →
Bengali music found its new voice through band music that has recently proliferated across the land and one of the pioneers of this music is “Bhoomi” the legendary band from Kolkata. The key to Bhoomi’s success is their use of Bengali folk tunes and enrich them using modern musical arrangements. The six member team, with occasional guest artists, have been entrancing their audiences since 1999 with their captivating music. Folk musicals styles like baul, bhatiyali , moishaal, jhumur,saari gaan and qawaali constitutes the primary source of inspiration for Bhoomi’s music. Continue reading →
Ananda Mandir invites you on Friday, Nov.21st , 2008 at 8:00 PM to join Sahitya O Alochana for an evening of discussion on Ritwik Ghatak. ?????? (?????) ??? the brilliant & famous bengali scriptwriter & filmaker that is compared with Satyajit Ray & Mrinal Sen. The discussion would cover his life, sense, impact influences, and manner of reinventing cinema.
Many of us are strong believers in astrology and other similar practices like palmistry, tarot cards etc. etc. that claim to predict one’s future. A huge industry runs on servicing such people and also provides employment to millions. The television and other media advertisements of such sooth sayers and fortune tellers prove that they earn enough money to invest in these marketing campaigns. The precious and semi-precious gem stone market in India depends on the belief that the negative influence of the planets and stars can be countered by wearing a specific kind of gem stone that can cost thousands of rupees. Continue reading →