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George da The Legendary Rabindra Sangeet Singer

Updated on February 13, 2017

The talented artist

Cover photo of the book published on the occasion of celebration of centenary year
Cover photo of the book published on the occasion of celebration of centenary year
George da with Kanika Badyopadhyay in 1961
George da with Kanika Badyopadhyay in 1961

Humorous & captivating

“Why do you want to make foray into singing? You should better build good quality bridges that do not collapse”. The upright singer told my brother Sri Barun Kanti Chatterjee bluntly when as a first year engineering student, an admirer of the famous singer and an accomplished photographer he went to his residence to learn Tagore songs. He was totally mesmerized by his strong personality and straight forwardness spiced with an excellent sense of humour besides his rich captivating voice and perfect intonations . So much so that his respect for the great artist lingered and he began to capture his every performance on camera which could keep the audience spell bound and enraptured. Though he has subsequently risen to become an engineer of repute and represents a big US company as a sole Indian representative that is another story but like millions of Indians all over the globe he devotes his spare time to listen to his Tagore songs and even has made a website in tribute to the great artist. Tremendous worldwide response to the site is an eloquent testimony to the envious popularity of the singer who never had any bigotry relating to religion, caste creed or even musical notations.


Forging a life long bond

George da with  Barun
George da with Barun

Great yet humble

George da with Kanak Biswas on the occasion of felicitation by West Bengal Govt
George da with Kanak Biswas on the occasion of felicitation by West Bengal Govt

A Legend in His Lifetime

That was Debabrata Biswas the finest exponent of Rabindra Sangeet who became a legend in his life time. He was born in 1911 at Kishoreganj now in Bangladesh and passed away at the age of only 69 years in Kolkata. He was a bachelor and an asthmatic patient. But his handicap could not dim his love for songs and he continued to sing using inhalers. Unlike other orthodox or un orthodox singers, Georgeda as he was fondly called by his endless admirers sang almost 800 Tagore songs. Listeners who heard him singing devotional songs like Prabhu Amar Priyo Amar or Jatobar Alo jwalatey chai were touched by his rendering & expressions of offering to the almighty. Georgeda sang duets with famous singers like Kanak Das, Suprova Sarkar, Geeta Sen, Aditi Sengupta, Ruma Guha Thakurata, Indrani Sen. The list includes Kanika Bandyopadhyay, Banani Ghosh & Purabi Mukhopadhyay as well. He used to sing Nrityero Taley Taley, Akash Bhora Surya Tara, Jetey Jetey Ekla pothey rhythmically with dance recitals by Manjushri Chaki Sarkar, Sadhan Guha, Padmini Dasgupta. He sang duets like EMNI KORE JAAY, AJI KAMOLO MUKULO DAL with Kanika Bandyopadhyay as well.

. The Eminent film maker Rittwik Ghatak took help of Georgeda for song selection & play back of Tagore songs. Debabrata Biswas was actively engaged with IPTA group for a long period. He sang a few songs set to music by Salil Choudhury, Hemanga Biswas, Jyotirindra Moitra and recorded songs during the liberation movement of Bangladesh. Kazi Najrul Islam himself was the trainer when George da recorded Songs by Najrul. Two Books were written by this celebrated singer of Rabindra Sangeet - Bratyojoner Ruddha Sangeet & Antorango Cheen.

He had no formal training on songs but learnt the art by following boatmen, wandering minstrels, beggars as they would sing in their typical ways. Even he kept glued to the songs of her mother who would sing in between household chores. So he never became a very puritan but gradually got the delight of his spirit from Tagore songs. Debabrata Biswas is the only singer who sang Rabindra Sangeet in Sanskrit, English, German, French, and Russian. He got trained at Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata for learning rudiments of foreign languages .Even after 34 years of his death, he remains the most popular singer now among the true lovers of Tagore Songs from the age 8 to 80! Still he was very modest. When Hemanta Mukherjee another great singer felicitated him at Rabindra Sadan in 1980 few months before his death, Georgeda returned the Garland to Hemanta saying it was Hemanta who had contributed more than him in popularizing Rabindra Sangeet.


a sketch on the performing artist

Self sketch by the  versatile singer
Self sketch by the versatile singer

His untimely demise has caused an irreparable loss to the music lovers all over the world

Reference-

1.http://www.debabratabiswas.in/centenary.html

2. Ami Bratya Ami Mantrahin-a commemorative book published by Debabrata Biswas birth centenary celebration committee comprising eminent citizens of India with monetary support from the Government of India

If you have enjoyed reading this article and would like to read any more of my hubs, please click on the link below-

http://arunkanti.hubpages.com/


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    • ARUN KANTI profile image
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      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 3 years ago from KOLKATA

      Subroto Guha- The desired link has already been provided in my tribute to the great singer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OO76gABidE0

      If you, however, seek further information about Georgeda you may send me a mail. Wish you all the best.

    • ARUN KANTI profile image
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      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 3 years ago from KOLKATA

      Ardhendu Mukherjee -Thank you very much for your visit. You might like to go through my comments above.

    • ARUN KANTI profile image
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      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 3 years ago from KOLKATA

      Subroto Guha- Thank you very much for your rich inputs. Georgeda's 103rd birth anniversary was celebrated by DEBABRATA BISWAS SMARAN COMMITTEE on 21st Aug'14 at Sisir Mancha.The auditorium was over crowded from 6 PM to 9 PM. A book on the Legendary singer was published by Dey's Publishers. Two Compact discs as attached were released.

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      Subroto Guha 3 years ago

      I was introduced with Debarata Biswas by my father late Sushil Ranjan Guha at Hindustan Builing ( Regional Office of LIC ) at the age of my 12 years and only listen as I know him as like my family member as he has extened love to me like that and I can only listen his Rabindarsangeet and I am a blind fan or supporter of Debabrata Biwas and I can not think of with him for far Rabindra sangeet is concern.

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      Ardhendu Mukherjee 3 years ago

      Famous Rabindra Sangeet Shilpi Debabrata Biswas's birthday 22nd August 1911

    • ARUN KANTI profile image
      Author

      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 3 years ago from KOLKATA

      @Himadri Narayan Basu-Thank you very much for your visit and such apt comments which have enriched my hub.

    • profile image

      Himadri Narayan Basu 3 years ago

      Has a Captivating voice that remains unchallenged till this modern times to remain the same in time future.

    • ARUN KANTI profile image
      Author

      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 3 years ago from KOLKATA

      @Eiddwen As one American pianist Billy Joel once said: I think music in itself is healing. It's an explosive expression of humanity. It's something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we're from, everyone loves music. So please listen to George da"s songs when you have the scope. Thank you very much for stopping by and reminding us that proper introduction takes us to the depth of any subject. Wish you all the best.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      I had never heard of this singer either so thank you so much for this very interesting introduction. Voted up.

      Eddy.

    • ARUN KANTI profile image
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      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 3 years ago from KOLKATA

      @DEBABRATA MUKHOPADHYAY-Thank you very much for your visit leaving such appreciative comments.

    • ARUN KANTI profile image
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      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 3 years ago from KOLKATA

      @DDE--I always appreciate your visit and such encouraging comments. Thanks.

    • ARUN KANTI profile image
      Author

      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 3 years ago from KOLKATA

      @Aparup Chowdhury -Thank you very much for your visit and wonderful comments which have enriched my hub.

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      DEBABRATA MUKHOPADHYAY 3 years ago

      EXCELLENT WRITE UP... THE FLAVOUR OF WRITING REALLY ATTRACTIVE

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I never heard of this singer you have created an informative and useful hub on such a legend.

    • profile image

      Aparup Chowdhury 3 years ago

      Really a great tribute to this legendary singer.....Thanks to Arun babu.

      George da is adnate to our every extant of existence. Though I was born two years after George da passes away but I feel that he is always in my heart...My feelings, consciousness towards the cosmos and all around the mundane that I get find through his voice....

      NB: Thanks barun da for sharing the link. I would request to Dip Narayan da to link it up with Facebook content " UNMUKTO BRATYAJAN".