Arnob's Roud Bolechhey Hobey

Roud Bolechchey Hobey promised to take me on a musical journey but it just left my feelings maimed by the roadside. Welcome to one of the most morbid albums of the year as Arnob's songs here are few shades darker and slower than the previous compilations. The overall sound could have been better as well.

It’s obvious the singer’s going in a much more downbeat direction with the melancholy compositions and a sombre voice. But interestingly, there are very few artistes who can be in personal relationships with his/her fans to make an impact - sometimes, an artist does need to talk things out with life over slow, joyless melodies and has a different story to tell. To me, Arnob does this with flair with his overall lyrics, which are quite confessional and a little sad.

And sometimes, the mystifying depth of a song can be the best part of an album. For example, track six Biri has a very psychedelic and atmospheric feel with the use of slide to make wavy guitar sounds and the haunting keyboard effects to compliment the words Haat theke biri porey jay, prithibi ke ghera neel kaachtar dike takiye...thot theke chumu jhorey jay – I felt a natural high without a touch of substance abuse but it does intrigue one to comeback to see this song through the bubbles of a drink stronger than a soft drink.

And according to some of his fans, this album has lighter songs...songs that are sweet, simple and pleasant which people love. My friend Arafat Kazi asked: can you listen to track five Iniye Biniye without loving the music? Certainly not. Arnob's fans are very happy with the rhyming patterns of the lyrics and the song does shout out loud a lot of creativity with the music.

The Rock Revolution Part-1

It took more than two decades for genres like heavy metal to be born after rock first arrived in our country.

It’s the year 1991. Bangladesh is being rocked by the downfall of the Ershad regime. However, the audio shops are being rocked by something completely different: a heavy metal mixtape called ‘Hooray’, released by the record label Sargam.

Covered by abstract art in black over orange, the cassette had a quite incongruous look - but once in the cassette deck it made its existence known. Screaming guitars and vocals filled with emotions that could drill their way straight into the marrow of your bones.

Pop lovers covered their ears, dubbing it ‘noise’. Heavy metal aficionados like me, however - who were already listening to the likes of Iron Maiden and AC/DC - we were overwhelmed. This was our music, being played by our own! Songs that later came to be immortal classics, tattooed themselves into our nerve systems. Songs like Shamanno Dusshopno by Rock Strata, Shadhikar by Warfaze and Eii Raat-e by In Dhaka, and more. This was the beginning of the ‘rock revolution’.

“The release of ‘Hooray’ was one of the most defining moments in the Bangladesh history of rock”, says Shakib Chowdhury, lead singer and bassist of Cryptic Fate. “It became a huge inspiration and boost for many bands that later became massive powerhouses, like Warfaze, Rock Strata, In Dhaka, Winning, Ark and more”.

During this time, there was no culture of album release events and there was no easy access to rock music in the country. One had to queue up in front of Kabir Bhi’s cassette recording shop Rainbow on Elephant Road and it would take almost a month to get hold of a recorded tape.

“For me, it was an almost religious thing to visit the audio shops in New Market and ask if any new albums had arrived. And one fine evening, we were finally blessed with Hooray”, Shakib says.

“With very limited recording facilities and record labels, bringing out an audio album during this time was no joke, let alone making a rock music compilation. Also, in our conservative society, no one had any idea if rock music would at all be accepted. The release of this album became a wake-up call for musicians that it is actually possible to perform and record different genres of rock music in Bangla”.

Another veteran musician, Sumon of Aurthohin (and formerly of Warfaze) says, “Hooray was followed by mega-hit debut studio albums of Warfaze, In Dhaka and Rock Strata, and it felt like the scene couldn’t get any better. Sargam was the first record label to make a move to initiate the array of these rock and heavy metal albums. If it hadn’t been for them, it may have taken ages for the rock scene to flourish as it does now. They definitely led the way in fusing something revolutionary into the sound of the existing bands.”

Hooray was never a huge commercial success, though. It was a revolutionary tape for the select few musicians and enthusiasts who were already sold to rock ‘n roll. Firstly, because of the novelty of the hard rock sound. Secondly, because the sound quality was so bad that only musicians understood what sophisticated notes and beats were actually being played. Thirdly, because all the featured bands except Ark, Warfaze and Winning quit making music and producing albums shortly after. Currently, only one band is alive from that generation - Warfaze.

Shakib ends by saying, “In a way, Hooray was a bittersweet album, since Rock Strata and the other bands didn’t continue. Rock and metal music could have started already back in 1991 and have become even bigger and louder by this time. It took almost ten years before the next milestone rock compilation was released - Charpotro, by sound engineer Duray. However, Charpotro would never have surfaced if there had been no Hooray.”

Raising Temperatures

If you had your pick of exciting pop songs to raise the temperature blending passionate words, sensual voices, explosive lyrics and videos to make your hair stand on end,

These are the songs inviting you to the dance floor, lyrics enticing you to push the envelope, the beats get you ready to make some moves and the visuals get you in to the groove.

Dolly Shayontonni – Rongchota Jeans
Now this is an absolute classic late 80’s music video. A soundtrack by genre, it sports our hero-in-action wearing a loud red shirt, faded jeans, stylish shades, puffing some smoke and playing a macho hard-to-get fella. And then…appears our miss rebellion lip-synching Rongchota jeans er pant pora...jolonto cigarette thot-e dhora - the moment these urgent lines were aired on radio, they spread to stereos and blasted out of speakers across the country and all hell broke loose on the streets.

Kaniz Shuborna – Tumi Nishho Korey Dao & Moner Chhaya
Clad in glittery outfits she stunned the nation with her dance moves in her videos, helping to popularise the private television channels in the late 90's and becoming the talk of the town with her good looks and husky voice. Her songs Tumi nishho korey dao and Moner chhaya were massive hits, with due credit to the video producers, who created her image. The album sold out and her live performances enticed audiences on to the dance floors, roaring their approval. Before long, car stereos, boom boxes and dance floors were pumping out – tumi nishho korey dao, tumi shikto korey dao, uttopto korey dao bhalobashay...

Mila – Jatrabala
Singing Roopbane nache komor dolaiya, Mila is our latest heartthrob, rocking Bangladesh with her immense talent and knack for picking the right sounds to captivate her fans. A talented vocalist and exciting performer she makes the audience go wild with her scintillating dance moves and phenomenal beats.
Her career peaked with Jatrabala establishing her position as Bangla pop’s princess. Collaborating with Fuad she delivered more hits like Disco Bandor and Dola Re. The lyrics, fruity and magnetic, are paired with some of the best music production in the industry. Her videos are always devilishly entertaining!

Upol – Pola To Noy
In this rock song, Upol expresses plenty of anger, mixed with truth, sung with liquid feelings, burning with passion: elements synonymous with heat and red-hot chilli flakes! The song is one of the loudest bone crushing, ear throbbing, head banging tracks sung by a Bangladeshi singer, and it’s been a long time in coming. Upol serves up a treat for music lovers to whet their appetite for great rocking songs.
Pola To Noy’s music video is a testimony to the saying that anger is a gift. One of the most aggressive visuals shown in a deshi video, the wild creativity of the images mesmerise. It was produced entirely in the US and has “parental advisory” shouting out loud all over it but is definitely worth watching.

Shireen –
Habib's collaboration with Shireen has certainly added to the sound quality of this fantastic song. The tune is simply tantalising and Shireen’s husky boyish voice singing Roshik telkajala, oi lal kurtawala, dili boro jala re panjabiwala…moves listeners on a deep accent that blends and captures the whole Baul-folk essence of the track perfectly.
There are a couple of versions of this music video and the best one was produced in the UK with Shireen’s direction evident in every scene. The visuals take viewers to London where the glamorous diva sits at the beauty salon as her locks are dressed up ravishingly, while she fantasises about her Lal Panjabiwala
Music from the sun

Almost two years after Doob, Arnob is about to release his fourth studio album Roud Bolechhey Hobey under his own record label,

This Eid-Ul-Azha, Arnob’s music full of psychedelic sunlight and the spirit of survival will shine on us through these words from the title track - Ageyi tokey janiye ditam roud bolechhe hobey. Jene newar eii batasher jonmo kothay kobey – a very optimistic lyric written by Rajib Ashraf.

In his studio, patterns of smoke float in spirals while spotlight rays penetrate the fumes, creating a mystical aura. The full-on sound from the monitor speakers harmonises the atmosphere in there.

Blowing smoke circles, Arnob speaks in measured tones “This album is based more on acoustic instruments with less fancy digital effects, primarily because I want to be comfortable while playing them live. I used very little keyboards in the arrangements as well, keeping the song structures simple and organic."

The newly formed Adhkhana Studios crew, comprising of Arnob, Samir Obaid and a few other close friends, brewed this collection and this delicious concoction can finally be served up to his fans.

The album is a mix of calm and solitude, as was evident from his words. While producing this compilation, it took Arnob back to the mood of his debut album and he tried to incorporate all the hopeful tones from those days.As is usual with Arnob’s music, the album captures the essence of everyday life, pathos, ecstasy and a state of strange déjà vu prevails.

“The lyrics are by my friends - Rajib Ashraf , who penned six of them, there are two by Towfik and two written by Sahana and one by Elma. There is only one song by me. I actually wrote quite a few songs but decided to use only one, Iniye Biniye, which is structured on rhyming blocks.”

Speaking with enthusiasm now, “I also collaborated with Maher and Zohad from Nemesis and I am really looking forward to this album’s release as it has been a long time in coming", he added.

The album is sponsored exclusively by Robi. Arnob expressed his concern about copyright and the subject of piracy, “For the first time, I will actually be very strict with the radio airplay policy. I have paid more attention to the distribution rights and marketing material, with the aim to combat piracy. It is high time artists started to claim their intellectual property rights.”

Fans can look forward to experiencing not just Arnob’s music with this release but also sample his artistic work in the form of a comic, which will be included with the CD: Roud Bolechhe Hobey is sure to be a collector’s item for music lovers.

Shut Up and Dance
Srabonti Narmeen Ali, also known as Tushi, will be releasing her debut solo album Dhadha, produced by music genius Arnob. It’s a record that will definitely travel wide and far – from dance floors to computers and mp4-devices,

Shut up and dance is the pop-puffed, rap-grooved song that will leave your feet tapping and fingers snapping. At the same time, it raises questions of facing up to and fighting realities – maybe with some fatalities on the dance floor!

Not only relieving stress and lifting you out of your melancholy, it is a song that addresses many social anomalies and it will definitely influence you to listen to the entire album. It’s an inspiration to think and feel, infused with the peculiar combination of both happiness and contemplative ideas.

“The best part about working with Arnob is that he takes a lot of my inputs. I have creative freedom and we shared our ideas while we worked on this album”, says Tushi, casting a glance at Arnob, sitting behind her.

Collaborating with Zohad and Maher from Nemesis in the song Dhadha, the album also introduces a new voice to Bangladesh, that of Young Hollywood. The rapper’s name will soon be on everyone’s lips, predicts Arnob and Tushi.

Listening to Tushi and Arnob talk about the production process, it is obvious that the tunes played as important a part as the lyrics for them.
Tushi’s favourite songs from the album are the self-written ‘My City’ – verses of it reflecting upon the loneliness in a city like Dhaka, talking for a woman alone, a lonely boy and ending with a verse about herself, sometimes feeling isolated and removed, as an artist. “The song is about living in this city, volleying back-and-forth between contemporary and conventional attitudes – the modern and the traditional”, she says. “Then there is ‘Dhadha’ and ‘Deluded’ talking about corruption and ‘Dhar’ written by Sahana Bajpaie – these are all songs from my soul. I think the strength of my album lies in the fact that I can’t label it under a single genre. There is plenty of variety and my voice sounds different in each and every track, bringing out the character, affection and angst within them”.
She continues, “Arnob always told me that all my sides should be reflected in this album and I think my crazy side was the most appealing to him”, she giggles. “That’s how the story of this song began, blossoming into this track called ‘Shut up and Dance’. People in the studio who worked on the songs, Samir and Saadul, loved it so much that I agreed to include it.”

Everyone present at the studio remarked in agreement – as loud as red headlines and as mellow as a summer breeze, everyone would love ‘Shut Up and Dance’.

Tushi mentions how being a new homemaker, a wife and an energetic mother were factors that influenced the maturity of this album. For example, her songs talk about living in two different extremes of our society, with emotions ranging between the rampant corruption, the evident love of family and friends, the push and pull between modern and traditional standards and “all that jazz”.

Arnob says, “The best part about working with Tushi is her genuine participation while producing the melody. She is not one of those artists who just sings the songs over anyone’s composition. She’s well informed and involved, making the songs soulful”.

Sanjeeb Chowdhury - A tribute

Sanjeeb Chowdhury
Singer, songwriter, journalist, founder of Dalchhut – Sanjeeb was so many things to so many people but, above all, he was an animated and emotional human being,

SanjeebChowdhury’s untimely death at the age of 45 has moved people and music enthusiasts across the country. His deep voice, urgent lyrics and soulful music has made a tremendous impact in the lives of many and the country’s music scene is paying large tributes to this prodigy.
Hailing from Habiganj, Sanjeeb began his career as a journalist in the 1980’s. In the mid-1990’s, he along with renowned musician Bappa Mazumder started the band ‘Dalchhut’, which raised him to the heights of fame. ‘gari cholena, cholena’, ‘bioscope’ and ‘amake ondho kore diyechilo chand’ are some of his timeless songs during his time with the band.
Bappa Mazumder turned very emotional while reminiscing about the man who many people affectionately refer to as Sanjeeb Da. To Bappa, he was ‘Dada’ and a very precious friend.
‘Dada was first rushed to a hospital in Mirpur reporting breathing problems on Friday, November 16. He was later taken to Apollo Hospital. At 12:00 am on November 19, all of us band members were standing outside the hospital, we were reminiscing about our times with Sanjeeb Da. We asked his family members to go home and get rest and so they took off’.
‘Almost immediately a few doctors came out and asked for any of Sanjeeb Chowdhury’s relatives. I felt a sudden blow- news which might change my life forever. The doctors would not let us inside until his family members arrived so we all rushed in anxiously the moment they reached. The air was filled with pain as the doctors announced him dead’.
‘Our last gig with him was in Banani on November 8 and right after the concert we started for Sathkhira and traveled to the Sundarbans. We trekked a lot and Dada enjoyed every moment of it. He picked up leaves called Keora pata, which we heard is traditionally eaten by deers in the forest. He described the experience of chewing that leaf eloquently describing the three types of tastes – bitter at first, followed by sour like tamarind and finally a sweet taste. We were left no other options but to be amazed and try to experience those three things ourselves,’ says Bappa.
Even during his last few days, he remained ebullient and often cracked sarcastic jokes. ‘While some of us were discussing palm reading to guess what fate our future held, he asked us not to believe in such things and joked: Guys, please don’t ever ask me any questions relating to birth, death and marriage,’, Bappa added with a grin.
‘I first met him on the stairs of Aziz Super Market in 1993 while singing. Noted singer Hasan Abidur Reza Jewel actually introduced me to him. We shared similar music tastes and gradually grew fond of each other which led us to form Dalchhut in 1996. Dada was a poet, a songwriter and not only did he sing beautifully but he was very passionate as well, although he never wanted to record any song. He always wrote songs describing events that actually took place in his life – such was Dada. In Dalchhut, he always gave me the duty to compose the music as if that was not his department but then he did share ideas from time to time and the songs Yasmin and Nishidhho from the first album were his great works’, recollected Bappa.
Bappa ended by saying that Sanjeeb was heavily influenced by Pink Floyd, Al Stewart, Bob Dylan and listened to a wide range of music including Moroccan and Spanish tunes. During university years, he would hang a harmonium on his shoulder and sing on the streets. He was a charismatic individual, full of life- a man who was totally bohemian and a free spirited, genuinely wild-at-heart character in the most positive way. Sanjeeb also remained true to his left ideals he acquired during his university years as a student activist till the end of his life.
Sumon, a band member of Aurthohin remembers Sanjeeb as a witty person, fun loving, someone who loved sarcastic jokes and happy and crazy human being. ‘I played with Dalchhut from 2000 to 2002 and I would see that he was always busy with journalism and a lot of other activities. He would often come late to band rehearsals before concerts but he always somehow managed to perform brilliantly at the shows. That was his charm’.
Sumon further added that Sanjeeb was such a devoted musician that he often sang eyes shut, as though he was entering the song, experiencing it all over again and expressing it by singing. ‘It was a state where he completely submerged in the song’.
During his more than two decade long career as a journalist, Sanjeeb worked at AJker Kagoj, Bhorer Kagoj, Jaijaidin as well as many other daily and weekly publications.
For journalist Nobonita Chowdhury of the BBC Bangla Service, Sanjeeb Chowdhury was not only her mentor but also as her uncle, Kaku. According to her, he was one of the few who inspired her immensely. ‘Sanjeebda used to say, if you can start a story well, you can finish it well – writing a good intro is the hardest part. I was 16 or 17 in 1996/97 while working at Bhorer Kagoj under his supervision and never forgot his tip’.
Nobonita continued,’ when I first went to Bhorer Kagoj, becoming a journalist by profession was the last thing on my mind. But his impact was so great that I ended up making journalism my career. After a few months, Sanjeebda realised we were relatives and he was adamant that I should call him Kaku. I was initially a bit embarrassed to start calling him Kaku in front of everybody else calling him dada. But he was very stubborn about it and he used to scream if I ever tried calling him dada after that. This very young Kaku of mine always used to call me Maa and Amma after that’.
‘Most of us say the same thing: Sanjeebda shaped our lives and we never took the opportunity to thank him. He never wanted any recognition from anyone he mentored. According to him - whoever you are wherever you are- if you once belonged to Sanjeebda’s group, you will remain in his heart forever and he will always greet you with a warm smile and hug’.
‘Kaku was never a so-called great man (mohamanob). He had shortcomings, maybe even more than the average person. But he had a larger heart than most people and that is precisely what made him so special. He was not a fan of set rules and never wanted to conform to society. He never came to the office on time and he never went home at the right time. Leaving us at only age 45, he again proved that he was not there to do things the usual way. We all loved him for his unique ways.’
Before passing away, Sanjeeb donated his body to the anatomy department of Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Bappa states, ‘we will continue Dalchhut for the love of Dada as his shadow will be forever playing with us’.
Someone once said, ‘Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is the talent which dies with the soul’. Sanjeeb Chowdhury’s death is indeed a great loss to our music industry for years to come.

So many promises so many dreams, some become colourful and some become grey. Yet, go on with your dreams – Sanjeeb Chowdhury (taken from the CD sleeve of Dalchhut’s latest album Jochhnabihar)
An year in soul, metal, Tagore and acoustic

This year saw some fantastic music and also introduced some promising talents. speaks to those who have not only made it to the top but are here to stay

2007 has been an eventful year of music- from the advent of the thrashers Power Surge to the soulful melody of Krishnakali to the creativite rendition of Tagore in Sahana’s vocals and the art of song-writing that Yaatri has introduced– it is needless to say that they have made their mark in the music industry, making this year’s music memorable.
While some of these artists have undoubtedly made a mark for years, others have just started their journey and hopefully, will go a long way.

Casting Tagore in a new light - Sahana Bajpaie
Through the use of a variety of instruments including the guitar and Esraaj, Sahana has reintroduced Tagore song and made it lovable to her generation. There is little that needs to be said about Sahana Bajpaie, who has had a life-long love for Rabindranath Tagore. The stunning singer in her raw and mesmerising voice has made her mark in the music industry for a while now.
Sine childhood, under the tutelage of her father who was a scholar of Tagore’s literature and music, Sahana found her own niche. She later moved to Santiniketan, and was trained in Indian classical and Tagore songs, under Swastika Mukherjee, Bijoy Sinha, and Chitra Roy. As a student, she regularly took part in theatre and dance productions of works by Tagore.
This year, in April, her album Notun Korey Pabo Boley, was a great success. Speaking of this album in an earlier interview, she explains, ‘The name came because I was singing contemporary renditions of old classic songs, always discovering more and more layers to the songs as I worked’.
She remains a humble singer even after all the adulation she has received. When asked about her achievement as a good musician, Sahana’s polite response was, ‘I am not originally a singer- I just sing because I love music’.

Bringing music of the sun– Krishnakali
Her songs represent sheer honesty and pure intimacy- desires that flame like sunlight. Indeed, Krishnakali’s song are purely, insanely, and intensely intimate. Hers are the kind of songs that does not shy away, rather they represents one’s true desires.
Although her mother was a government college teacher, and her childhood home in Khulna was filled with books, singer Krishnakali claims to be completely uneducated.
Her album, Shurje Badhi Basha (nesting in the sun), released on Pahela Baishakh this year, is a personal album for this singer. ‘It speaks of personal experiences from the different phases of my life and as well as things that girls like me went through,’ she says.
For music critics, her album got 10 out of 10 - a compilation of songs that only come rarely. The songs are very simple and easy to listen to, but added to the uncomplicated words, tunes, and vocals; ‘simplicity’ took a new meaning and became an ode of magnificence.
Although simple, the compositions have pleasantly surprising instrumental elements by renowned musician Ornob, which made it even more beautiful.
‘I cannot really define the genre of my music but I think it could be called Bani Prodhan Shongeet – lyrics-emphasised music as I always wanted my words to be heard,’ says Krishnakali. ‘The significant reason for my lyrics to be like this was actually because of the way I was brought up. The poetic attitude was the driving force for my lyrics and I tried to incorporate the emotions of the different phases of my life in to my words- that is how it became what I wanted it to be.’
When asked about the challenges she anticipates in 2008, she giggles like a little girl and says, ‘I think I need to fix my voice first and plus I think I have to rehearse more than ever. I have done couple of drama title tracks and sang in an orthodox love film and the style I followed is a lot different and experimental than my conventional way of singing. I am looking forward to do more such works.’

And the energy rush ison – Power Surge
Madness, mayhem and Thrash Metal- that’s what Power Surge has introduced. Their thrash and shrilled voice, hard hitting rebel lyrics have certainly made a mark this year.
This year’s DJuice DRockstar winner band Power Surge has made a formidable impression by winning a contest that was being viewed both by the mainstream and by the rock music crowd.
Through stage performances and grooming sessions of DRockstar contest conducted by Bangladesh Musical Bands’ Association (BAMBA) members, these boys have learnt to deliver power and energy, have learned to work with sound, and all other essentials to maximize their potential.
What the crowd now expects is an album that lives up to the expectations of the people. People seemed to like what these boys had to offer in the competition. Compositions were likeable; guitar riffs were bold, vocals likewise and the overall sound – simply tight with rock solid compositions.
They are expected to hit the studio soon and surely, the audience are waiting for good and fresh music- the music that made people vote them into winning.

The band Jaatri with a ‘Y’ - Yaatri
Although they agree about a little mishap which changed their band name to Yaatri, their impression remains irreplaceable. Yes, they have won hearts, from day one. Their image is synonymous with soft and expressive compositions and most importantly excellent lyrics with acoustic guitar work.
Starting from songs like Ak Paye Nupur, Akta Gopon Kotha up to their album songs and latest hit single Chetona- all their songs are soothing and simple heart rending.
To talk about the band one definitely has to emphasise their lyrics. They are one of the few bands to hit on the social issues, the biting elements of urban angst in our contemporary life and most importantly, they nail it with clarity and composure.
The lead vocalist Topu says, ‘I always wanted the acoustic guitar tone to be dominant in Yaatri’s compositions plus the style we play right now actually goes very well with my vocal presentation and since my lyrics are as equally important as the tunes, I want them to be heard’.
‘I used to be observant of the reality around me from my childhood and that is precisely the point from which I was inspired to write lyrics. They are very simply written and what interest me more is that it is about the little things that happen everyday’, Topu added.
As Yaatri explodes with all its lyrical splendour, 2008 is a challenging year. ‘We now have a strong fan base and I believe the level we have reached, it is not possible to come below that standard and we only need to excel. Musically, we want to incorporate more local and basic instruments and various traditional sounds in our compositions and bringing that to our fans is a promise,’ ended the smiling vocalist.

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