Shimky: Return of the singing bird

Asjadul Kibria | Published: February 03, 2018 00:14:53


Shamshy Faruque Shimky is performing at DiponPur in Dhaka. — Collected

They all gathered there to welcome her back. Despite being a brilliant Nazrul Sangeet exponent, she had stayed out of the limelight for almost two decades. But the solo musical evening at a cosy corner at the DipanPur Book Cafe in Dhaka on Tuesday last (January 30) ended her long hibernation.

It was Shamshy Faruque Shimky who performed at the musical soiree and moved her peers, admirers and listeners. Though unfamiliar to the younger generation today, her beautiful singing voice enthralled the Nazrul Sangeet connoisseurs during the '80s and early '90s. Later she left the country for the United Kingdom.

During the last two decades, she performed occasionally in London, Manchester and at some other places in the UK. But those were limited public programmes, as she mostly concentrated on her family obligations. Nevertheless, she continued her deep attachment with music.

"How can I disengage myself from Nazrul Sangeet with which I have been in love since my childhood?" she says while talking to the audience. "I never gave up singing but abstained from public appearance."

Shimky was trained in classical music and Nazrul Sangeet at the Nazrul Academy in Dhaka, founded by eminent poet and Nazrul devotee Talim Hossain. Later she received advanced training from the maestros like Akhtar Sadmani and Sudhin Dash. 

Shimky became the top grade artiste of Bangladesh Radio during the mid-80s and also was an enlisted artiste of Bangladesh Television. She regularly performed at programmes organised by the Nazrul Institute, the Bangla Academy and the Shilpakala Academy in Dhaka. She had left Dhaka to start a new life in the United Kingdom. She now lives in Manchester with her husband and two daughters and is serving as a Human Resource Consultant at the National Health Service of the UK.

She returned to perform on a Dhaka dais on Tuesday and mesmerised the Nazrul song connoisseurs at her very first musical soiree after two decades.

Presence of the country's eminent Nazrul Sangeet exponents like Sadya Afreen Mallick, Sujit Mostafa and Yasmin Mushtari were very heartening for Shimky.

"I am really grateful to all of them," she said after the performance. "They are all my seniors but their gracious presence makes me proud."

Yasmin Mushtari, also youngest daughter of late poet Talim Hossain, recalled the days of Nazrul Academy when Shimky used to go there with her father AFM Shamshuddin to attend music classes.

"My father was very affectionate to Shimky and could foresee that one day she would shine brightly," she said. "He also liked Shimky's father very much for supporting her daughter in learning lessons on Nazrul Sangeet."

On request from Shimky, Sujit Mostafa sang a Nazrul song. He also said that it would be great, if Shimky continued to perform in her own county regularly from now on. He also sought the audience's support to help spread the practice of Nazrul Sangeet inside and outside the country.

Sadya Afreen Mallick and Yasmin Mushtari are in the audience at Shimky's Nazrul Sangeet performance. — Collected

Dr Mashfiqus Salehin welcomed all to the musical soiree. Senior artiste Akramul Islam, also husband of late singer Shammi Akhter, spoke about Shimky. Dr Maqsud Salehin, husband of Shimky, and other family members, friends and Nazrul Sangeet admirers also attended the programme.

The musical soiree got going with one of Shimky's favourite Nazrul songs: 'Shure o banir mala diye tumi.' Her sharp and melodious tone with supporting instruments changed the ambience of the whole hall.

Shimky's singing of Nazrul's raga-based melody songs and ghazal is always unparallel. She again proved it, when she rendered 'Bulbuli nirob nargis bone,' a song from the ghazal genre. She also mesmerised her audience by singing 'Kaberi nodi jole ke go balika,' 'Chonder bonnya, horini ononnya', 'Shaon ashilo phire,' 'Notun kore rizwan,' etc. Shimky gave the audience a few anecdotes about different songs and her previous performances which made the evening interacting.

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