Memorising 'Prajapati Prajapati' as a child to singing our hearts out to 'Durgom Giri Kantar Moru' at concerts when growing up, Nazrul's music has left an everlasting mark on our collective national psyche. His unparalleled talent in music, poetry and literature has immortalised the name Kazi Nazrul Islam in our hearts.
His timeless music spoke of spirituality, injustice, love, and embodied the rebellious nature of Bengal. Today we are celebrating this luminary's 123rd birthday by selecting five beguiling modern renditions of Nazrul Geeti, in no particular order, covered by various bands and artists.
1. Bulbuli by Coke Studio Bangla
This is the most recent cover of the romantic ghazal 'Bulbuli'. The song was a mashup of 'Bulbuli' – sung by Ritu Raj – and 'Dol Dol Dol Diyeche', written by Gousul Alam Shaon and sung by Sanzida Mahmood Nandita.
Arranged and composed by Shayan Chowdhury Arnob, the original tune was composed by Nazrul himself. The song is a very soothing experience and definitely worth checking out if you haven't already.
2. Alga Koro Go Khopar Badhan by Krakers
Although Kazi Nazrul Islam is our national poet, his music, literature and poetry is treasured by the entire Indian subcontinent. Krakers, a folk band based in Kolkata, in association with the Folk Studio Bangla, covered 'Alga Korogo Khopar Badhon'. The song is a modern reimagining of one of Nazrul's most popular songs with a hint of R&B and reggae.
The lyrics of 'Alga Korogo Khopar Badhon' expresses the bewilderment of a man in love with the beauty of his partner.
3. Jharnar Moto Chanchal by Dreek
The band Dreek first came into mainstream consciousness as the top 6 finalist of the show DRockstars in 2007. Despite their popularity, the band has a rather underrated cover of Nazrul's 'Jhornar Moto Chonchol'.
Although the song was uploaded over a decade ago, it still stood the test of time thanks to Dreek's perfect modernisation of an age-old classic. The song was a protest against the various forms of oppression and injustice committed throughout the history of the subcontinent. It remains a favourite among today's youth thanks to its inspiring lyrics and energetic music.
4. Kandari Hushiar by Artcell
Artcell is without a doubt one of the most popular bands in Bangladesh, and 'Kandari Hushiar' is another timeless classic that is considered to be one of the top Nazrul-Geetis of all time.
Lincoln's powerful vocals paid profound tribute to the legendary poet. The rebellious nature of the music composition in combination with its eloquent lyrics is a testament that revolutionary songs can be reimagined without destroying the original essence.
5. Jaago Nari by Shusmita Anis
Nazrul has been known to raise his voice against oppression and discrimination, and his songs have inspired people to fight for a better future. 'Jago Nari Jago Banhishikha' is one of those songs.
We discovered a wonderful rendition of 'Jago Nari Jago Banhishikha' by Shusmita Anis, a popular Nazrul Sangeet artist. The song was composed by Arnob and the music video for this cover features an empowering performance by Ridy Sheikh.