Rupchand Pakshi

Rupchand Pakshi (1815-1890) composer and singer born in Kolkata, where his father, Gour Hari Das Mahapatra, resided. Their ancestral home was near the Chilka Lake in Orissa.

Rupchand grew up in Kolkata and studied at Hare School. A natural singer, he learnt music from Chhotey Miah, Chhoti Khan, Ramchandra Banerjee, Golam Abbas Tabalchi, Shetari Pannu Miah and others. He had a melodious voice and became popular for panchali, Kavigan, and Dhap songs. He was also famous for his devotional songs based on the Radha-Krishna stories as well as for funny and satiric songs on contemporary events. In fact he was more skilled in composing this second group of songs which greatly attracted audiences. A collection of his songs, Sabgit Rasakallol published in his life time include 211 songs including Panchali, Half-Akhdai, Dhap, jatra, Kavigan, gajan's song etc.

At the beginning of his singing career, he used the names 'Pakshi', 'Khagabar', 'Khagaraj' etc. He also formed a panchali group with the name of 'Pakshir Jatimala'. Accordingly, he was popularly known as the 'Rupchand Pakshi'.

Rupchand's songs reveal his poetic ability, depth of knowledge of Bangla, and high aesthetic sense. At the same time he composed amusing songs in a mixture of English and Bangla; for example, 'Let me go ore dvari, I visit to Bangshidhari', and 'Amare friend kare, kaliya ram tui kotha geli'. [Wakil Ahmed]