A permanent centre to house the complete archive of music legend Salil Chowdhury will come up in his hometown, said the late singer’s wife Sabita Chowdhury and daughter Antara.
“We wish to make the centre a pilgrimage for music researchers, scholars with all his songs in different languages, in which baba had sung, to be digitally stored in the archive,” Antara said.
The Salil Chowdhary Foundation of Music is behind the move which is aimed to carry forward the rich musical legacy among the present generation, “who doesn't know much about the decades-old music traditions of Bengal masters.”
“From children’s songs based on living creatures ‘O Sona Bang O Kola Bang’ to the ones of poet Sukanta Bhattacharya immortalised by Baba’s music ‘Runner cholechhe’, to Hindi playbacks like ‘Zindagi kyasi hai paheli’ and songs in other languages including Malayalam the archive will store every possible song of the maestro...,” Antara, foundation Chairperson, said.
Recalling how she was goaded into singing tracks like ‘O Maago Ma’ and 'Bulbul Pakhi Moyna Tiya' besides over 20 songs in the 70s by Salil.
Antara recalled, “I did not know he was such a doyen of music and at times revolted and it was amazing how he got the lyrics sung and recorded by a little child depending on her moods. He was more of a doting father than a sangeet guru then, I now think.”
Later on when she became well trained in Hindustani classical music and western music during her teens and considered it a privilege to be part of Salil Chowdhury gharana, the maestro used to tell her, “Tui Amar naam rakhbi Maa (My dear daughter you will keep my legacy alive).”
The foundation also plans to hold concerts in Mumbai, New Delhi, Singapore, UK and elsewhere with annual honours for “Living Legends” and “Signature Contribution in the world of music” with the corporate support of a prominent businessman Rupak Saha, Sabita said.
While the foundation had been conceived in 2002 with the limited effort by his family and handful of friends, the dream for an archive and other attendant projects did not fructify in all these years for want of sponsors, both of them said.
Rupak, who heads a leading eastern India jewellery chain headquartered here, said, “Apart from organising the concerts, we will be of active help to the foundation to carry forward the legacy of Salil Chowdhury who was the Mozart of Indian music.”
Singer-lyricist Joy Sarkar, lyricist-poet Srijato, actor Rituparna Sengupta among others also pledged all support to the initiative which has ambitious plans to hold film festival and bringing out full volumes of his compositions in book form in future.
Chowdhury, who died on September 5, 1995 at the age of 72, is survived by Sabita, Antara besides sons Sanjoy and Bobby.