Vol. 5 Num 848 Fri. October 13, 2006  

Heart to heart
Anusheh and Buno: Popularising Baul songs among urban youth
Their genre
We call our genre alternative folk. This also gives us a lot of freedom; sometimes the compositions are jazzy, sometimes very funky. It is a kind of fusion because it has elements of the East and the West. We blend Lalon songs with bass guitar. Also we sometimes experiment with indigenous instruments such as do tara, flute, dhol, mandira, khol and ek tara.
Buno: "We do sing Lalon songs but we arrange the music differently. We try our best to keep the original song intact, but play around with the music and the arrangement."

On their band Bangla
Our band Bangla, which comprises of a core team of Arnob, Shantanu and Kartik along with both of us, has an enduring appeal for the younger generation with its fusion element and catchy rhythm. Our latest CD, a tribute to Lalon Shai, is called 'Protutponnomotitto' (2006). Prior to that the group released 'Kingkortobbobimurho' in 2002. The latter featured relatively unknown folk songs. It also had two of Lalon's songs.

Why Baul songs?
"Initially it was the rhythm of Baul songs that appealed to me. I started listening to the words much later. They (Anusheh and Arnob) were more into the words. Later on as I began to understand these songs I realised that these singers were visionaries. You could say that Bangla is clearly a trendsetter in popularising Lalon and Baul songs among the younger generation. The genesis of the band goes back to its beginnings in 1997-1998 when group members were engaged in soul searching and looking for an identity. The biggest achievement of Bangla is that it has bridged an information gap. At a time when many young people would ask ill informed questions about Lalon, the group was successful in veering people towards folk music and thus revive this culture.
Anusheh: For us the Baul culture and its philosophy were great discoveries. As youngsters you look for more freedom in your expression than most spiritual schools of thought can offer. One of the reasons why we undertook the tribute to Lalon was because we thought that Bangladesh faces rampant fanaticism and this genre is a great tool with which we can fight this evil.

Their division of responsibilities
Anusheh: I am busy with my retail outlet Jatra and our one-and-a-half year old baby boy Arash -- while another one is on the way in January. Buno is a considerate father and husband.
Buno: I spend all my time in the studio. However, even if I come home at 2:00 am, I wake up to take care of the baby.

by Kavita Charanji

The chemistry between the husband-wife team of guitarist Buno and vocalist Anusheh Anadil is apparent when one drops into their recording studio Dhun on Kemal Ataturk Avenue. Here they soulfully perform a Baul song, titled 'Nadir kooler lagi ami kandi' and talk about their passions, their band Bangla and their propensity for 'alternative folk' music