Veterans shower fragrance of memories

Sudakshina Sarma and Lakshyahira Das perform during the concert at Rabindra Bhawan on Tuesday.
Pictures by Eastern Projections
An enchanting musical evening, Sowaran, organised by All India Radio, Guwahati, swept the audience in waves of nostalgia at the packed Rabindra Bhawan on March 24.
Those present had the privilege of listening to the first batch of veteran singers who had passed the audition of AIR Calcutta during the era of the weekly 30-minute-slot for Assamese music. Their talented successors, who performed regularly for AIR Guwahati during its early days (after it was established in 1948), also held the audience spellbound.
Rani Paul, an AIR singer in Assamese since 1946 who is now based in Shillong, was the first to unfurl the wave of nostalgia. The lady with shining grey hair expressed her emotions with a pair of moist eyes as she presented her evergreen number Jonbaair Deshote Saajim Gaon Ekhanee.
Another singing sensation of yesteryears, Sudakshina Sarma, the talented wife of music legend late Dilip Sarma and the sister of maestro Bhupen Hazarika — touched hearts by presenting the famous Maniram Dewan number, Sangraam Lagne Aaji. She also presented a medley of her haunting melodies, including Dhanbor Aaru Ratani.
Birendranath Dutta, eminent folklore scholar and an elite vocalist who was unquestionably one of the most illustrious contemporaries of Hazarika during the fifties and sixties, lent a rare flavour to the ambience with his scintillating number Borsha Tomaar Chokut Meghor Anjan. The magical tune of the number and its sensitive lyrics, penned by Navakanta Barua, continued to infuse the atmosphere with nostalgia.
Lakshyahira Das, renowned academician and a singer-lyricist in her own right, left no stone unturned to shower musical fragrance on the audience with a heartfelt rendition of her popular number Ethengiyaa Bogoli Hoi Naache.
All these much-admired, seasoned singers are now above 75 and, naturally, their pace of rendition differed from yesteryears. But the passion and clear resonance of their distinctive style was still intact.
Others who enthralled Rabindra Bhawan that evening included Tarulata Das (Chin Paabaa Taair Khojate), Amiya Mohan Das (Aajir Ei Madhur Raati), Jogesh Barua and Mihir Bordoloi (Mosgul Duniyaat Haaire Dil Aase) and Mridula Das (Dingir Saatesori), among others.
Designed and produced by Dinesh Das and Nayan Prasad respectively, the programme was flawlessly compered by Abani Bora and Rituparna Das.