The musical ambassador for Rabindrasangeet
Ludwig Van Beethoven said, "Das musik ist eine offenbarung als alle weisheit und philosophy" - music is a higher manifestation of divinity than that of all wisdom and philosophy. Rabindrasangeet is not a past time but a priesthood to Banani. Her music career began at the tender age of six. To explore the fascinating world of vocal music and master the art of rendition, she took rigorous training from eminent scholars of Rabindrasangeet, Classical, traditional songs and Bhajans in Calcutta and Santiniketan, India. Banani is a Rabindra Bharati University and Geetabitan graduate. Her sangeet guru, Padmasree Smt. Kanika Banerjee recalls her first meeting with Banani. "Banani was in her teens when I first heard her and instantly was impressed by her dedication and natural gift for renditioning of gurudev Rabindranath's songs".
Banani's pursuit for excellence gives her recognition amongst the foremost Rabindrasangeet performers. The devout Tagorean and eminent journalist Late Santosh Kumar Ghosh had said of Banani. "The voice is hers; the voice is just as well the master's Hearing her, you hear him, the immortal Bard." Continuing on to say "To the arts, many are called but few are chosen".
Since 1961, Banani has been globetrotting on invitations to re-acquaint Tagore to the people at large through Rabindrasangeet. She religiously makes annual visits to India to participate in the Rabindra-Jayanti festivities. During this visits, she performs for the All India Radio, Doordarshan Kendra and for HMV - The Gramophone company of India Ltd.
Banani has received numerous honors and awards for her relentless efforts to promote and propagate Tagore's culture and traditional Bengali songs. And in this effort, Banani founded Antara - a Tagore music institution across the United States and Canada.
Banani hails from a culturally renowned family of Baligaun in Mymensingh district of unified India. She was born in Bajitpur, Mymensingh , now in Bangladesh. Her father, Late Prafulla Krishna Ghose valued Rabindranath Tagore ardently. He had close contact with Gurudev and could render Rabindrasangeet uniquely. He composed poems, wrote stories, biographies of Indian illuminaries/illuminates and published "Chom-Chom" - an elite monthly magazine for children from East Bengal.
- Graduate of Rabindra Bharati University - Calcutta, India
- Graduate of Geetabitan - Calcutta, India
- Underwent three years of rigorous training at Santiniketan under the sole guidance of Padmashri Smt. Kanika Banerjee - the doyeenne of Rabindrasangeet, who is still her mentor even to this day.
- Took personalized training from the following distinguished scholars to further her foundation in Indian music :
1. Romesh Bandopadhyay (Classical)
2. Sukhendu Goswami & Nani Gopal Chattopadhyya - Classical
3. Manju Gupta - Atulprosad
4. Dilip Roy of Pondicherry - Atulprosad, D.L. Roy & Bhajan
5. Padma-bibhusan Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Padmasri Gyan Ghosh and Sri. Kshiti Mohan Sen Shastri - Bhajan
6. Saileja Ranjan Mazumder, Romesh Bandopadhyay, Anadi Kumar Dastidar, Kanika Banerjee & Maya Sen - Rabindrasangeet.
Mrs. Banani Ghosh with the Ambassador of India Sri. Siddhartha Shankar Ray at the opening ceremony for Rabindra Mela 1993 :
See a proclamation from the State of New Jersey Assembly regarding Rabindra Mela:
See a proclamation from the City of Scotch Plains regarding Rabindra Mela:
In 1989, Banani organized the first ever, Rabindra Mela - a two day festivity in New Jersey to disseminate the thoughts and literary works of Rabindranath Tagore to the North American audience and to the first generation Bengalees growing up in the United States. Banani was elected President of the Rabindra Mela committee. The festivity presented dramas, operas, songs, workshops, exhibitions, seminars - all with the key focus of presenting his genius to an estimated audience of 3000. Participants came from Bangladesh, Canada, India, England and U.S.A. Mayor of Scotch Plains, New Jersey, Joan Papen honored Banani by presenting her with an honorary citation for her commitment and for her relentless community service activities through Antara and Rabindra Mela. A journal entitled "Rabibarnali" with articles from eminent scholars was published for the Rabindra Mela festivity.
The unprecedented success of this event led to the repeat performance of Rabindra Mela in 1993. This time, the festivity was inagurated by the President of the Rabindra Mela committee, Mrs. Banani Ghosh with the guest of honor, the Ambassador of India, Sri. Siddhartha Shankar Ray.
In April 1963, the Late Mr. M.C. Chagla, the Indian High Commissioner in London had requested Banani to help raise funds for the National Defence Fund set-up by the then Prime Minister Late Pandit Jawaharalal Nehru, for the Indo-China war of October 1962. At this Excellency's request, Banani, who was residing in Switzerland at that time had directed Tagore's dance drama "Shapmochan" for this cause. Her success was highly commended in India and in London.
In 1983, while in Rochester, NY, with participants from the Indian and the Bengali community, Banani had directed the stage performance of Tagore's dance drama "Bhannusingher Padavali" to raise funds for a Community Center in Rochester, NY.
In 1987, at the request of the Bengali Community of Toronto, Canada, Banani with the help of Antara - Toronto chapter, staged a musical evening to help raise fund to build the Toronto Kali-bari. This is the only Kali-bari in Toronto today.
In 1991, at the request of the Bangladesh Society of Washington DC, Banani performed at the prestigious NIH auditorium in Washington DC to raise funds for the flood victims of Bangladesh.
- Performed Rabindrasangeet in the Bengali movie Pratisruti under the music direction of Late Hemanta Mukherjee.
- Performed Rabindrasangeet in Tagore documentaries in 1961 under the music direction of Late Santosh Sengupta.
- Banani has been affiliated with the prestigious Gramophone Company of India Ltd. (EMI/HMV/RCS Group) since 1957.
- Banani has been affiliated with Polydor Rhyme Records since 1982.
- Antara released a two-hour audio cassette release entitled "Ekti Sangeet Sandhya" depicting her live peformance in San Francisco. This show was organized in co-operation with the Ali Akbar College of Music, University of California at Berkeley and Bay area Prabasi. Her performance was on songs from Rabindranath Tagore, Rajanikanto Sen, Atulprosad Sen, Dwijendralal Roy and Dilip Roy.
- Rhyme Records released the first digitally recorded Rabindrasangeet release entitled Banani Ghosh - Live in Washington DC - a benefit concert in aid of 1991 cyclone victims of Bangladesh. Her recent recording from rhyme Records is entitled 3 Facets.
Radio & Television
- Banani has been performing Rabindrasangeet, Atulprosadi and Bhajans for The All India Radio since 1954. During her annual visits to India, Banani performs for local and National programs.
- From 1961 to 1964, while residing in Switzerland, Banani performed regularly from the BBC in London for their local and Eastern services.
- Banani is a regular performer of the Doordarshan Kendra (Indian Television) since inauguration in 1975.
- Banani is a featured performer on Radio and Television shows across North America. ITV (Indian Television), the pioneer station in New York City had televised a special documentary on the death anniversary of Tagore entitled "Remembrance of Tagore". This show was organized and directed by Banani Ghosh and still airs today due to popular demand.
Award & Accolades
- In 1983, Banani received Plaque of Honor from the Indian Community of Rochester, New York.
- In 1985, Banani was honored by the Bengali Association of Singapore for her relentless dedication to promote the music of Rabindranath Tagore.
- In 1985, the Banga Sammelan Commity honored Banani Ghosh for her dedication and relentless effort to promote the Bengali culture in USA and Canada.
- In 1986, Banani was honored by the Rabindranath Tagore Lecture Foundation of Toronto, Canada during the 125th Tagore anniversary for being the musical ambassador to promote the genius of Tagore.
- In 1988, Banani was awarded Plaque of Honor by the Bay Area Prabashi of San Francisco, CA for establishing the west coast chapter of Antara in San Francisco.
- In 1989, Banani was elected President of the Rabindra-Mela committee to organize the first-ever Rabindra Mela festival - a two day event in New Jersey.
- In 1989, Joan Papen, the Mayor of Scotch Plains, NJ honored Banani by presenting her with an honorary citation for her achievement.
- In 1990, Banani received Plaque of Honor from Los Angeles Bengali Community for popularizing Bengali music.
- In 1991, Banani received Plaque of Honor from DFW Bengali Association of Dallas, Texas for promoting Tagore's music.
- In 1991, Samhati - a Bangladeshi Women's organization in Washington DC awarded Banani with a Plaque of Honor for organizing and performing in a benefit concert to help raise fund for the flood victims of Bangladesh.
- In 1991, the Bangladesh Community of New Jersey awarded Banani with an honorary Plaque for performing in a benefit concert to help raise fund for the flood victims of Bangladesh.
- In 1992, Chayanat - the esteemed musical institution of Dacca, Bangladesh honored Banani at her exclusively solo performance staged in Dacca.
- In 1992, the Tagore Center of London honored Banani for being the musical ambassador during the Tagore anniversary festival of London.
- In 1992, Banani was awarded by the Midlands Arts Center of Birmingham, UK during their Tagore anniversary festivity.
- In 1993, Banani was elected President, once again, for the encore presentation of Rabindra Mela festivity in New Jersey.