Cultural Programs at Durga Puja
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Cactus - Bangla Band
Cactus was formed in 1992 as a Bangla Band. Inspired by Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Iron Maiden, they started the journey with a purpose of making some real good rock music in a language closer to our soil. They organised the first ever Bangla rock act, thereby growing its vista and erasing its existing limitations.
The professional debut of the band saw the light of the day on 6 March 1993 at Aban Mahal, Kolkata. It tasted some success when their first self-titled album came out in 1999 released by HMV. In 2003 for the first time in the history of Bangla music, a Bangla rock band got associated with a Bengali movie titled Nil Nirjone and the soundtrack for the movie was released. Cactus composed and performed all the songs in the movie along with a bit of acting thrown here and there.
You can find more information about Cactus at their web-site You can also see the personal biographies of the artists and a brochure listing their past performances.
Usha Uthup
Usha Uthup or Didi as she is fondly referred to, was born in independent India of parents who came from the traditionally rich states of Madras and Kerala and was raised in the bustling metropolis of Mumbai. Although Usha had never learnt music formally, her passion for music was present right from the moment she uttered her first words!
Persistence and conviction drove Usha to pursue a professional singing career in 1969. This move later went on to prove vital in removing the stigma attached to singing in night clubs in India.
With her gifted, velvet, smooth voice she was the only artist to have recorded six albums in English with HMV/EMI. Today she sings in more than thirteen Indian and eight foreign languages. This is an achievement by itself.
If there is a legend bridging the East and the West, it is Usha. With her music and charm, she has transcended the barriers of caste, creed, language and nationality. Accolades have come from all over the world and she has sung for Prime Ministers and Presidents alike. Indira Gandhi, Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel Arap Moi and more recently Nelson Mandela have all been her ardent admirers. Her endearing charm and powerful vocal chords have given Usha fans of all ages, from all over the country.
With her trademark passion and a speed of delivery that would wear out wannabes a third her age, Usha has just completed a brand new studio album and is all set to release it during the course of the year. A gift her fans eagerly await. The original Diva of Indian pop music celebrates three decades in the entertainment business, and while her contemporaries might be thinking of gentle retirement, Usha will be back in the thick of what she does best - singing.
Just like in previous years, this year also Mahalaya will be featured as a live show by our local talents on Sep 27th at 7:45 pm.  As usual, the quality of the program is expected to be of a very high standard. It will remind you of the days when the enchanting voice of Birendra Krishna Bhadra and the unique devotional songs by famous singers filled up the pre-dawn hours of the day as Kolkata radio presented Mahalaya. Prabasi has continued to entertain our Bengali Community by organizing this special feature that has now become a highlight in the Bay Area. Mahalaya is being directed by Sonali Bhattacharya. The vocal singers are Sonali Bhattacharya, Banani Banerjee, Sangeeta Choudhury, Indrani Bhattacharya, Manidipa Bhattacharya, Sumita Chakravorty, Sudip Nag, Nilanjan Sarkar and Prasenjit Biswas. Chandi Path by Aloke Chatterjee. Notable musicians include Anoop Bhattacharjya on tabla, Wallace Harvey on violin, Brinda Govindan on flute, Ben Kunin on sarod and Subhas Khasnabis on Keyboard.
Cool It! - A Bengali Play
"Cool it!", A Bangla play, adapted from Neil Simon's Plaza Suite.
Cool It! revolves around married couple on their daughter's wedding day. In a rush of nervousness, their daughter has locked herself in the suite's bathroom and refuses to leave. This is a comic act, filled with increasingly outrageous slapstick moments depicting her parents' frantic attempts to cajole her into attending her wedding while the gathered guests await the trio's arrival downstairs.
Translated into Bengali by Chitra Dasgupta. Cast: Laboni Bagchi, Biswajit Kanungo, Anindita Mukherjee, Anindo Mukherjee. Directed by: Sumona Bagchi. Production: Soumen Ghosh, Anindo Mukherjee.
Nritya Taranga
Living in the Silicon Valley (the Mecca of Tech), it feels like we are almost always striving to meet our next deliverable, in our professional as well as in our personal lives ! However, such relentless pursuit of material goals means that we have little to no time to find and explore our creative selves. Nevertheless, a few of us still make time, not only to indulge our inner muses, but more importantly, try to pass on the torch to our next generation. Growing up in this country, our children necessarily have an immersive experience of western culture, music, and dance – but unfortunately, the same cannot always be said of their exposure to and appreciation for India's musical and dance heritage.
This is where Payal's production of Nritya Tarang attempts to make a difference. Payal's artistic director Susmita Bhatacharya and her very talented friend Dalia Sen along with Nritya Tarang Project leads, Dalia Sen, Sima Chakraborty, Pallavi Bhowmik, Chandreyee Mukherjee, Nina Barua, Dipanwita Sengupta and Sangita Nandy are presenting Nritya Tarang with 50 talented local artists on stage. It is not only a scintillating showcase of some of Bay Area's best dance talent (many of whom have dedicated themselves to preserving and promoting their respective gharanas and typical styles of Indian dance forms), it is also an exploration of the commonality of expression in dance that transcends geographical boundaries. An artful blending of the traditional and the modern, of the oriental and the occidental, Nritya Tarang tries to create a heightened understanding of the incredible variety and richness of classical Indian dance forms, not by presenting them in isolation, but by juxtaposing them with compositions involving Indian modern Fusion, Indian Folk and Western dance styles.