First Bangladeshis Nominated for The Grammy Award
By Sadia Noor Joya
A Bangladeshi mother, Dr. Nashid Kamal, and her daughter, Armeen Musa made it to the 2023 Grammy Awards with their song. “Jaago Piya!” The lyrics to “Jaago Piya” were written by Dr Kamal. Not to mention, the song was one of nine songs in Berklee Indian Ensemble’s album entitled, “Shuruaat,” which has been nominated for the Best Global Music Album category.
“Jaago Piya” (translates to “Rise My Love”), which is more than just any Bengali song because it bridges harmoniously the Bengali speakers of Bangladesh and West Bengal of India. The song hit YouTube a few years ago back in 2016, a day before Pohela Boishakh (the first day of the Bengali new year, which also happens to be a festival for Bengalis). I feel that this was the perfect time for the song’s release as all Bengalis indulged in Pohela Boishakh celebrations.
The song has a piano intro, followed by Armeen’s soulful vocals of the chorus lyrics:
Jaago Piya, Aar Ghumayo Na (Rise my love, don’t sleep any longer)
Jaago Piya, Aar Ghumayo Na
Nishi Shopno Bholo Bholo (Forget the dreams of the dark night)
Nishi Shopon Bholo Bholo
Jaago Piya, Aar Ghumayo Na….
Although the song has a mix of tabla, flute, guitar, violin and other musical instruments, it embraced a classical, riverbed melody. Furthermore, the aim of this song was to feature traditional Bengali culture. Take a guess at what didn’t fail to achieve this purpose– “gamcha” (a piece of cloth that is equivalent to towel for Bengalis). The initial thought of it seems a little off-putting but as the choir and other musicians beautifully draped gamcha and made it a part of their attire, it was worth watching. The added bonus was to watch non-Bengalis looking absolutely gorgeous in the vibrant colors of gamcha. Some used gamcha as a headcovering, some as a scarf and what not. Inspired by internationally famed Bangladeshi fashion designer, Bibi Russel’s innovative gamcha outfit ideas, Team Berklee Indian Ensemble decided to incorporate it.
Visually, another thing that is worth mentioning about this music video was the artists holding brief messages on-camera. Such messages were colorfully scribbled on white paper, “Faith,” “Crispy Pears,” “Being a Musician,” “Opportunity” and arts among others. Indeed, that was unique and showed us a different image of the artists, distinct from their professional lives.
Dr Kamal has been a popular face in Bangladesh due to her passion for Nazrul Geeti (Songs of Kazi Nazrul Islam, the National Poet of Bangladesh) and her frequent appearances on television. Likewise, her daughter has inherited her musical traits to the fullest. When contacted by a national newspaper, Armeen responded to the news as, “This is an absolute honor to be in consideration.” Netizens have showered “Jaago Piya” with immense praise. Some YouTube users commented,
“Congratulations to Armeen Musa and Dr. Nashid Kamal for the GRAMMY nomination! Totally deserved it! When I first listened to this song two years ago, I was mesmerized and this track was on repeat for a few days. This nomination is a huge step for Bangladeshi Musicians.”
“I could die peacefully listening to this song. This is bliss. Violin play is out of this world.”
“I am a Punjabi from India… I don’t understand a word of Bangla. But the beauty of the song overrides my language barriers! Congrats to the entire ensemble for this great song…. Special wishes to Armeen Musa and Annette…. It is just so enchanting. Love from India.”
This is a moment of pride for Bangladeshis as Dr Kamal and Armeen are the first Bangladeshis to represent the nation at the prestigious stage of the Grammy Awards. Hence, kudos to this mother-daughter duo!
The Grammy Awards will take place in February 2023.
Watch the music video here.
Follow Dr Nashid Kamal on Facebook using this link.
Follow Armeen Musa on Facebook using this link.