Subject: Changes for Annual Program
Dated: May 18, 2001
Dear Member,

We had announced earlier that our Annual Boishakhi Program will be
held on June 24. The two main attractions that day were announced to
be a play by Ajantrik (Tinti-Meyer Golpo) and Epaar Bangla Opaar
Bangla - a musical program by Suman and Sabina. Although, we are still
five weeks away from our program date, and it is difficult to predict
the turn of events in this dynamic world of inviting artists from
India and trying to match their show timing with several organizations
in US, certain changes have happened over the last weekend that we
need to tell you urgently about. We do not anticipate any change in
the date of the program, however we do expect a change in the programs
themselves.

First a little explanation. Summer is usually the time for NABC (North
American Bengali Conference or Bango Sammelan) - an annual event held
usually in USA or Canada and attended by several thousand Bengalis,
usually held on the 4th of July weekend. Bay Area Prabasi was host to
the 1999 NABC held at the Santa Clara Convention Center,  attended by
more than 6000 people. This year's NABC is being organized by Prabasi
of New England (http://www.prabasione.org) in Boston. NABC is also the
occasion when several artists are invited from India and Bangladesh,
West Bengal specially, to perform at the conference. It offers an
opportune time for the other organizations in US to invite the same
artists to perform locally, simply because they save on international
air tickets for the artists and there is no visa cost involved either.
All the heavy weight lifting is done by the NABC organizers. This is
the reason we at Bay Area Prabasi always defer our Boishakhi program
every year - to match the arrival of the artists. It also explains why
the spurt of cultural programs in the US, generally speaking, suddenly
rises in the months of June and July!

This year, Suman Chatterjee and Sabina Yasmin were invited to perform
at the 21st NABC in Boston. Besides the NABC, the duo were also signed
up to perform at 6 other locations in US, Bay Area Prabasi being one
of them. So, Suman and Sabina were coming to the US to perform
primarily for the NABC. Artists generally need a P-3 visa to perform
in the US. Suman's and Sabina's visa were to be arranged and paid for
by Prabasi of New England - the organizers of NABC-2001. The
availability of these artists was therefore contingent on their
getting a visa and the successful signing of a contract with Prabasi
of New England for performing at NABC-2001.

Without going into too much detail on the relationship between Suman/
Sabina and the organizers of NABC-2001, let us simply state we learnt
earlier this week that the contract has fallen through. This means that
Suman and Sabina will not be able to visit USA and perform at NABC-
2001. This also jeopardizes the performances at all the remaining six
locations Suman had promised to perform during the next two months. We
are affected too.

What does it mean for us? We should not expect Suman to perform at our
Boishaki Program on June 24th unless something dramatically changes
this scenario again. We have been trying, over the last few days, to
persuade Suman to change his mind, but it has not shown any result so
far. We remain hopeful though.

However all is not lost yet!  We have fortunately been able to quickly
sign up two other famous artists -- Haimanti Shukla and Saikat Mitra.
Haimanti Shukla is a versatile singer and a great entertainer. She
sings adhunik, Rabindrasangeet, Najrul and Ragpradhan. Saikat is the
son of legendary Shyamal Mitra. He is also a well established singer
on his own right. He will be singing Adhunik songs primarily -- he
will sing many of Shayaml's hit songs along with his songs composed by
Salil Chaudhury and many other great composers of Bengal. Saikat has
done playback singing for many Bengali movies in the last decade.

Situations change rapidly and it is our responsibility to promptly and
fairly communicate these to you. We believe that Suman's cancellation
is a big let-down to the numerous Suman fans in the Bay Area, as it is
to so many others elsewhere in the United States. We are hopeful that
we will be able find another opportune time in the future to recall
Suman to perform for us here.

If you are interested in looking at the contract we had signed with
Prabasi Inc., Massachusetts for the Suman/Sabina program, click on the
link below.

http://www.prabasi.org/Activities/SumanContract.doc 
To know more about Banga Sammelan 2001, go to http://www.banga2001.org If you had visited this site earlier, you will notice that Suman and
Sabina's program has been taken off from their web-site as well.

And for all you Satyajit Ray fans, good news is in the air. There is a
Satyajit Ray film festival being organised at UCSC (University of
California Santa Cruz) this weekend (tomorrow and Sunday). Check out
this link http://arts.ucsc.edu/rayfasc/welcome. 
Sincerely,

- Anupam Bagchi
Prabasi Webmaster

                                              Dated: 05/18/2001
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                      BAY AREA PRABASI INC.
         SERVING THE BENGALI COMMUNITY FOR OVER 25 YEARS ...