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Dev Chakraborty (left) and Suchetha Satish perform at Indian Consulate in Dubai on Friday. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: On the occasion of 161st anniversary of Nobel laureate Indian poet Rabindra Nath Tagore, the Indian Consulate here launched three of Tagore’s iconic songs translated in Arabic that were sung by vocalist Suchetha Satish at a ceremony held at the consulate today.

Cultural bridge between UAE and India

Dr Aman Puri, the Indian Consul-General dedicated the songs of Tagore in a special ceremony titled ‘Tagore Beyond Horizon’ at the Indian Consulate to honour the Indian litterateur and celebrate the strong cultural ties between India, Bengal and the UAE.

It also marked the continuation of celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence and the ongoing festival — Azaadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav — to commemorate the occasion.

Arabic rendition by Guinness record holder

Satish, a 16-year old Indian expatriate and student of grade 12 at The Indian High School, Dubai, is a versatile and prolific vocalist who recently created a Guinness World Record by singing in as many as 120 languages.

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Emirati lyricist DR Shihab Ghanem speaks in the presence of Dr Aman Puri (second from right), vocalist Suchetha Satish (extreme right) and musical curator Dev Chakraborty during the programme on the occasion of the 161st birth anniversary of Nobel laureate Indian poet Rabindra Nath Tagore, at the Indian Consulate in Dubai on Friday. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

The songs of Tagore were translated by eminent Emirati poet Dr Shihab Ghanem and curated by Dev Chakraborty, an Indian musician based in UAE.

Thanking Dr Puri and the entire team who made this venture possible Satish, the melodious singer who originally hails from Kannur, Kerala, said: “This collaboration is a dream come true for me. It is for the first time that the classical songs of the respected national bard of India have been translated into Arabic. It is indeed a privilege to have eminent Arabic poet Dr Ghanem create the translations and have them set to music by Dev Sir. I am fortunate to have this released on this stage where I had established a Guinness Record.”

Indo-Arabic fusion

Dr Ghanem, a recipient of Tagore Peace Prize, spoke about the challenge of translating the songs. “It was a great honour for me and also a challenge as it is different from translating prose and poetry. When translating, I had to be mindful of the rhythm and meter and find a middle path to accommodate both Arabic and Indian music traditions.”

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Dr Shihab Ghanem with Dr Aman Puri, Dev Chakraborty and Suchetha Satish at the Indian Consulate on Friday. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Curating Tagore’s message of hope

Chakraborty curated three of Tagore’s most popular songs for this project. They are: Ekla Chalo Re, Alokerei Jharnadharay and Nai Nai Bhoy.

Chakraborty led with the original Bengali song, while Satish followed by singing the Arabic translated version. The unique Bengali-Arabic fusion was rich in professional and aesthetic finesse.

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Chakraborty elaborated on the choice, saying: “I chose the most inspirational songs of Tagore. They were written at the time of India’s freedom struggle. In these times of the pandemic, these classical songs have acquired a different message of hope and fearlessness. While composing, I had to blend the musical sensibilities of Hindustani and Arabic music. I had to be extremely selective in choosing musical compositions that truly bridged the cultures of UAE and India.”