ARTICLE: Songs to Inspire
RichMix, Shoreditch. Freedom Week, March 2015
On March 21st Celebrate Life Events collaborated with events organiser CulturePot Global and arts venue RichMix as part of the Freedom Week celebrations for Bangladesh Independence Day. Named ‘Songs to Inspire’ it brought traditional, classical and contemporary music from Bangladesh and Nepal to the East London community. A rare chance to listen to music not covered by the mainstream media.
The event also highlighted the work of The Prem Rawat Foundation, specifically 'Food for People Nepal', and a children’s charity called ‘Music for Development’ based in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
The audience was a diverse mix of races, cultures and ages - a great reflection of what London has to offer.
After the MC welcomed guests, lights went down, and the event opened with a short film about Food for People Nepal showing the story of Rajendra – how he transformed from a young child struggling to get enough food to live on, to a teenager now attending college. This set a marvelous tone for the evening ahead. There was a wonderful atmosphere in the room; everyone was focused, watching and listening.
Following this, operatically trained Bengali sisters Sanchita and Tanaya took to the stage to sing a traditional English song combined with a song from Bangladesh. They were followed by Professor Imtiaz, a Tagore singing teacher, and Wendy Lewis, a Londoner trained in Classical Indian music, who sang another song from Tagore’s vast genre of music. The backing musicians were Ganga Thapa from Nepal and his band, Namlo. This gave the event a special feeling and colour, since the music of these two cultures is quite different and everyone had to work together as a team learning about each others' musical styles.
The main act of the first half was the world-renowned Rezwana Choudhary Bannya, who had traveled all the way from Bangladesh. She sat centre stage accompanying herself on a harmonium supported by Ganga and Namlo.
We were in the presence of an international star who, with her soothing vocals and careful delivery, had the audience captivated. After her set, Rezwana introduced a short film about the project, Music for Development which she set up in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 1993 to help children living in the slums of the city.
The interval followed but not before letting everyone know about the raffle and silent auction taking place.
Second half began with an outstanding solo song from Ganga Thapa which helped settle people down after the break, followed by wonderful clip of the TPRF film ‘Food for People’ showing how clean water, nourishing local food and the invaluable support from villagers can bring about lasting change to a community in many, many ways.
The final act followed: Ganga and his band Namlo, traditional sounds from Nepal fused with influences from many other places. It was fascinating to hear familiar Asian music to the ear but given a modern twist, tastefully so, with rhythm, swing and foot-tapping tempo. The full-house audience stayed to the end, there was a feeling in the room that kept them there, something soft, friendly and open - the magic supporting the work of Prem Rawat turns up, touches many hearts, and everyone looks so well, happy, at ease.
A great place to end but there is more to come from Celebrate life Events team.
Thanks to Nitesh Mistry for the photos.