Distinguished singer Akhilbandhu Ghosh has been a worshipper of music all his life.
Born in 1920, his childhood was spent in his maternal uncle Kalidas Guha’s house. There he found an environment conducive to music as the house had been a centre of daily musical activities. Akhilbandhu would listen to a song and soon learn it all by himself. As a ten-year-old boy, he won accolades from listeners by singing Tagore’s Ami bhoy korbo na, an event reported in the newspapers of that time. An inspired Akhilbandhu then began to formally learn Indian classical music first from his guru Nirapada Mukhopadhyay and then, mainly because of his guru’s wishes, from Tarapada Chakraborty and Chinmoy Lahiri, both illustrious exponents of classical music. Akhilbandhu learnt from these masters the sutbleties of Indian classical music.
In January 1947, Akhilbandhu’s first record was published by Megaphone Record Company. This exceptional talent never had to look back since then. He recorded classical-based and modern Bengali tracks as well as the songs of Nazrul. He also performed in many musical soirees and sang Kheyal, Thumri and modern songs on All India Radio. It appeared that a supremely creative talent from the depths of the bottomless sea of music had finally risen.
Today, in the midst of a much-transformed world of globalization and easy and instant gratifications, the songs he sang like Kabe achi kabe nei, Ami je piyasi moru birohi, Sipra nadir tire, O dayal bichar karo, Tomar bhubane phooler mela and numerous other unforgettable melodies bring a refreshingly gentle strain from the world of a not-so-distant past and stir our souls. Even when the ditties stop, the tunes resonate in our minds. Akhilbandhu’s songs bring back, for many of us, memories of a cherished and honeyed past.
In the worldly sphere of give and take, Akhilbandhu was a dispassionate and indifferent traveller. His songs, his world of music, his beloved wife Dipali Ghosh, his many disciples who were closest to his heart and the Megaphone Record Company were the elements that constituted the world of this self-effacing artist.
It has been a long time that he has left us. But his memorable songs bring him alive again and again.