Pannalal Bhattacharya is a very well known name in every Bengali family for his legendary Ramprasadi Songs, also known as Shyama Sangit.
Pannalal Bhattacharya opened up a new world in the field of Shyama Sangit, and because of that he rightly became immortal. His singing voice and his devotional heart have melted the hearts of countless Mother Kali devotees.
Shyama Sangit are devotional bengali bhajans singing the praise of Mother Kali -- Shyama.
A very rich branch of hindu devotional songs (bhakti giti) or hymns to Mother Kali - the epicentre of all energy/force (Shakti) of the universe. Sadhu and household people alike, for love and devotion of Mother Kali, sing Shyama's praise on the streets, in the paddy fields, on river boats.
Mother Kali, in these songs, is the Mother whose compassionate Concern and Boons are sought with utmost eagerness to help with all material and spiritual problems.
Lyrics are generally written for the appreciation of ordinary people, but often they may involve themes and concepts far beyond normal achievements. Similarly, the compositions of the musical notes are for the average persons' consumption but may at times touch the pinnacle of the most difficult of Indian ragas.
One of the most prolific composers of the Shyama Sangeet was Ramprasad Sen. His nineteenth century gems are still as popular as they were in his lifetime. It is hard to imagine another legendary composer like Ramprasad who could apply household metaphors and riddles with beautifully crafted words - that described complex theosophical topics and concepts - to unique yet simple tunes.
His words and tune were capable of extracting the last ounce of appreciation for and devotion to Mother Kali either from the singer or the listener. His songs are lovingly known as the Ramprasadi or Prasadi Songs. Countless Ramprasdi songs became an integral part of folk (or Jatra) plays. Wherever a devotional import was required, in any play, Ramprasadi was the answer.
Listen to Pannalal Bhattacharya and you will understand what devotion means. One doesn't need to necessarily know Bengali to empathise with him. You will feel his climbing, devoted prayer to Mother Kali mounting in your own heart.