Sunday, May 07, 2006

Top 20 Bangla songs

The BBC Bangla Service recently asked its listeners about their favourite songs. The results are available here. Some quick observations.

1. Of the 20 songs, 12 extol the motherland or commemorate the nation’s struggles for freedom. That is, according to the BBC listeners, good music is all, well mostly, about patriotism. These include classic paeans (Dhono dhanney pushpe bhora) as well as more recent ones (Ami Banglai gaan gaai).

2. Songs about the difficulties Bengalis had with Pakistan feature prominently (six of the dozen are from that era). There is, however, no song praising India in the dozen.

3. The other eight include four exhibiting internationalist/humanitarian ideas, including two revolutionary songs by Nazrul.

4. Coffee house, voted the top song of the 20th century six years ago, comes in at number 4. There are only four songs from post-partition West Bengal, and none recorded in the past four decades. Does it mean that West Bengalis don’t listen to the BBC? Or no good music has been made in Calcutta since the 1960s?

5. None of the 20 songs make it to the A-A-A list. And if you’re wondering, this Banglabandhu-dominated list is topped by, what else but, Amar sonar Bangla.