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Momtaz: The uncrowned queen of Bangladeshi folk music

momtaz-the-uncrowned-queen-of-bangladeshi-folk-musicThis is the 21-century; under the label of globalisation, westernisation has crept in. One would think that the younger generation is fast losing old values and traditions that also include music. Fortunately, folk music is ingrained in the air and soil of this country and has lost none of its appeal. Today people are not travelling on ox-carts for miles to listen to live performances but Bangladeshi folk songs have found their place in iPods, computer hard drives and MP3 players alongside their global counterparts. And when one considers Bangla folk, the name Momtaz comes to the fore.
Momtaz’s latest album “Rosher Kotha” was out this year and has been a hit with generations X, Y and Z.
“Since childhood, I had only one niyat (intention) and that is whatever I’d do, I’d do it well, or I’d at least try my level best,” says Momtaz.
How was the year 2009 for her? “It went really auspicious — shows, albums, programmes here and abroad,” the crooner says. Momtaz is also one of the judges on the show “Shah Cement Nirman Taroka”.
What does she have to say about remixes of popular folk songs? “We might think that all or majority of young people listen to Hindi or western music but it’s not like that; they also listen to Bangla folk music. In fact the audience of folk songs is growing. I know this because I’ve seen the presence of hip youngsters at my shows. Sure, they have their way of appreciating music and remixes are very popular among them. What’s important is that the lyrics and the sur (tune) are intact. When that is in check, what’s the problem with remixing or rearranging?”
There is another aspect of Momtaz that most people aren’t familiar with, and that is her philanthropic projects. Other than the fact that she is a renowned singer and a member of the parliament, Momtaz is committed to social work. There’s Momtaz Eye Hospital in Manikganj. Then there’s another eye hospital for children.
“In 2010 I plan to do something for the hearing-impaired,” the artiste says.
Music, social work, representing people in the parliament, Momtaz got it all covered. But her focus remains on music, as she says, “The peace and contentment a musician gives to people is also a type of service. Musicians love people and people love them back. Through their music, they always remain with the listeners.” Courtesy

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