Weekend like never before
Sarah Z H
photo : golam mahbub
So it would be another clueless spring weekend for the youth of this city if not for Dhaka World Music Fest '11 which warmed up a bit of highs in everyone,especially the young people. The two day arrangement (February 4-5, 2011) celebrated for the first time the valour of Cuban funk, Afro-beat, Baul, Reggae, Pala and oddly pleasant, Bangla-Latin fusion. So a lot of people grabbed their grandmas, kids and of course, friends to come down to the festival where they all enjoyed one thing- the beats.
The music fest experience offered the engaging tunes of Dele Sosimi Band- legendary Afro Beat band from one of the originators of the Nigerian genre, Shahjahan Munshi Master musician who brings the blues to baul, Motimba fiery Cuban funk, Lalon band Bangla folk rock fusion at its best, Rob Fakir hypnotic contemporary Baul from one of the genre's most celebrated artists, Lokkhi Terra soulful Bengali folk mixed with Afro Latin jazz, Soothsayers groovy dub/reggae meets afro beat, Ajob folk and rock fusion, Baby Akhtar O tar Dol classic Bangla groove mixed with spiritual vocals, Porobashi Pala gaan and folk revisited through the expressive voice of song writer Sumel Chowdhury.
The weekend shaped up to be a busy one in Sultana Kamal Mohila Krira Complex.The place has always been a domain of huge concerts and this time, diverse groups of musicians came together to offer a weekend of entertainment. The festival truly was a great substitute for regular weekend activities like progressive dinner or movie nights,the first two choices for any young person living in Dhaka. And people did not need to break their banks to come to this wonderful show.The organisers,Grameen Phone and Culturepot Global, UK, Jatrik Travels, Excalibur Entertainment and Symbiance Partners presented an ultimate music festival for all the music lovers.
A group of foreign individuals were playing soccer to the beats of the music. I'm certain for the majority, the music was such that they were being put in a state of trance.
In any case, none of the bands were disappointing, and they delivered really well, the reason why the crowd was so deeply moved by each of the performances. I know I was.
Although Lokkhi Tera was the highlight of the evening on Saturday, there were other welcome selections of Lalon presented by Porobashi. Pices from Soothsayer's reggae had a good vocal diction and excellent harmonising of various instruments. Sohini's beautiful “Amar lagi keu kande na” continued with some lovely solo singing, and “Shadher Lau”, expertly arranged by Lokkhi Tera, contained more fine contributions. Usually in big concerts the music often goes a bit too high; the intonations sometimes go off the mark, and collective singing can turn out to be disastrous but Lokkhi Tera had no real fault in their style or performance.
Next up was Ajob. Vocalist Labik was superb and charismatic from the beginning till the end.With a pure-pitched and highly expressive voice, he was always in character. He's a real find and a talent to watch out for. For one, the small orchestral ensemble of groups like Baby Akhtar O Tar Dol and Porobashi were excellent. Motimba sang with refined pitch and the quality of their harmonisations was unmatched.
This festival truly was a rare treasure. In terms of performance space, upstage center singing in every song had the resonance you might expect. In addition, the visual experience was amazing. The absence of elevated audience seating might have been a problem but the organisers did make inventive use of the venue. However,the full-house in attendance seemed to enjoy each work on the programme. So captivating was it all that the most memorable performance of the weekend was hard to choose, and once everyone was out of it, they were surely saying, wow! let's do this again soon!