The three-day Dhaka International Folk Fest began with a bang but the second day of the event seemed slightly lacklustre compared to the first one. Although this day too had its usual mix of local and foreign artists, the performances failed to grab as much attention as it should have.
Certainly a combination of diverse genres is appreciable, but this year's folk fest fell limp in this area. As usual, the high, energetic songs were audience favourites but when the music fell flat, the audience became busy taking lazy strolls on the grass.
When it comes to large musical events such as the folk fest, it is normal to expect speakers fitted around the event area so that every audience can hear the songs. However, this time it felt as if the speakers were about to explode because he music was unreasonably loud. Folk music is of a soothing genre and the songs are more about meaning than about the background music. However, the blaring speakers were trying to prove otherwise.
Although artists Rabbi and Shafikul from Bauliana and Kajol Dewan put on brave performances, the line-up could have been arranged another way so that the pitch remained the same throughout the program. At some point, the songs lost track and balance. Performances by the Malian group Habib Koité and Bamada failed to impress in spite of their strong background music.
Nevertheless, being a holiday, the entire army stadium was swarming with eager audience and their enthusiastic participation brought colour to the festival. Families came with children and youngsters were seen dancing to their heart's content. The food stalls too were buzzing with enthusiastic eaters who wanted to grab a bite or sip on a hot drink.
We hold folk music very close to our hearts and essentially, it defines the root of our culture. The language of our folk music is enchanting yet simple, the words are enigmatic yet comprehensible and kudos to the folk fest organizers for arranging a festival where our younger generation get to appreciate glimpses of their origin.