02/02/2021, 14.00
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Catholic singer Joseph Kamal Rodrigues dies from COVID-19

by Sumon Corraya

Great interpreter of the national repertoire, he composed about 200 songs for the liturgy. Muslims and Hindus also pay tribute to his contribution to the country’s culture.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – The Catholic community of Bangladesh is mourning the death of singer and composer Joseph Kamal Rodrigues, a well-known voice in the country’s culture.

Rodrigues died on Sunday at Green Life Hospital in Dhaka at the age of 68. He was suffering from kidney disease, which was aggravated by the coronavirus.

In Bangladesh and India, Rodrigues was one of the major interpreters of Nazrul Sangeet music, whose repertoire consists of almost 4,000 songs composed by Kazi Nazrul Islam, the national poet of Bangladesh whose opus is centred on tolerance and harmony.

Rodrigues was also president of Nazrul Sangeet Songstha, the organisation that promotes this local cultural tradition, and often performed on TV and on the country's stages.

In addition, Rodrigues made a great contribution to the Catholic Church of Bangladesh by composing approximately 200 songs of the Gitaboly book, very popular and used in prayer during Mass celebrations.

Father Augustin Bulbul Reberio, director of the Christian Communication Centre, led the funeral service. He stressed the importance of this heritage: “His songs nourished our spirituality. His death is a great loss for the Christian community.”

Nazrul Sangeet Songstha secretary Khirul Anam Sakhil was present at the funeral, along with other Hindus and Muslims.

“Joseph Kamal Rodrigues was a legendary singer,” he told AsiaNews. “His immense work will remain alive for a long time: The people of Bangladesh will always remember him.”

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