Ageing like fine wine, despite Kabir Suman's various health complications, one can argue his vocal prowess has only gotten more refined over time.
Long before the gates opened, the Engineer's Institute at Moulana Bhasani Road was crowded with people. However, every other detail became a blur as soon as Suman got up on stage. He was met with thunderous applause.
Kabir Suman is a legendary Indian vocalist, composer and music director. His music transcends the borders of Bengal, and is beloved throughout the entire Indian subcontinent.
Accompanied by instrumentalists Dhrubo Basu Roy, Indrajit Pradhan, and Biswajit Roy on stage, Suman's performance began with 'Ek Ekta Din', a song he had performed during the last time he was in Chattagram and Dhaka. He engaged the audience in brief conversation between his music, and his storytelling was equally captivating. However, an unexpected highlight was the emotional journey Suman took his audience on.
It was mesmerising to see him perform his classic, 'Purano Shei Diner Kotha'. The entire audience sang with him in unison.
"We Bangalees are quite fond of nostalgia. People associate so many memories with that song. I too have a lot of wonderful memories in Bangladesh. As I near the end of my life, I delve deeper into my memories. I see floating images of familiar faces. Many people are still alive, while some have left the world, like me. Can you really live like this? I am still here. I'm not sure how long I'll be here," said Suman.
He then performed 'Haal Cherona Bondhu' and 'Priyotoma, Tomake Obhibadon'.
Suman reminisced about the lyrics of 'Priyotoma, Tomake Obhibadon', which was originally written by poet Shaheed Qadri. As he explained, "This was originally written as a poem. I had composed music for it without informing Shahee. But he was quite delighted to see what I had done. Fans, throughout the years, have given me a lot of love for this song."
At his age Suman can no longer move around on his own without any assistance. He said he is no longer able to play the guitar as he pulled an inhaler out of his pocket. He showed it to the audience before leaving the stage for a break and said, "Don't you guys worry, I won't be departing any time soon. I don't believe I'm fortunate enough to die on Bangladeshi soil!"
Upon returning Suman performed a series of love songs. "I tell everyone the truth, except when it comes to women!", he said. The audience broke out in laughter. "I have been married more than once," he added.
Despite being renowned for Bangla pop music, Suman is a practitioner of various genres. This, however, is something widely known about him – only his family and close friends knew. He announced that he will be performing 'Kheyal' music on the 18th at the same venue and expects a big audience to show up for the concert.
The most special of the evening, however, was during the end of the show. Suman said he had a lot of friends in Dhaka, but somehow, over time, he had lost touch with some of his oldest and closest friends. Suman spoke of Shahjahan Faruq, and jokingly called out his name. To his surprise, Shahjahan responded! He was in the audience the entire time.
Suman called him up on stage in utter disbelief and they hugged each other. The moment was unbelievable and was met with a standing ovation from the crowd.
After Shahjahan left the stage, Suman concluded the show with the song 'Tomake Chai'.
Kabir Suman will perform live for two more scheduled shows in Dhaka at the same ven ue on 18 and 21 of October.