Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 79, Tuesday, August 4, 2009




Driven and dedicated guitarists --

With the coming of Professor Frank Koonce from Arizona to Dhaka, and the careful guidance of the Alliance Française guitar teacher, Iftekhar Anwar, guitar notes have flooded the Ecole de Musique for the past two occasions of Fête de la Musique. They've had Olivier Labe, to shout them on. Labe comes from Paris, and on two occasions, one has witnessed his expertise at the Dhaka University premises and the Alliance Française. Labe has superbly combined his guitar know-how with other instruments too- leading to fusion music- with dance and accompanying notes of Bangladeshi musical instruments, such as the "tabla" and the "harmonium".

With Iftekhar Anwar, the guitar teacher of Ecole de Musique, to lead them on, Medieval, Renaissance, Romantic and Modern music on the guitar are seeing their emergence for the eager music enthusiasts of the guitar group of the Ecole de Musique. With encouragement, perseverance and a little bit of luck, the Ecole de Musique guitar players should go a long way.

They haven't had all that much time to rehearse, but they have come a long way. With serious jobs to attend to- like that of architects and computer experts, teaching and even studying- they sure deserve exposure on the media.

Exchanging views and ideas with them, one gathers their backgrounds, and their penchant for classical guitar music. Music is said to chase away any disenchantment or depression. Listening to the guitar on occasions, even during their workshop at Café La Véranda, on an evening, one is totally fascinated by their enthusiasm and their absolute dedication to the playing of guitar; and music in any form- vocal and instrumental. Dedicated and driven, the team of guitar experts leave an indelible mark on the mind of any music lover.

One has to balance the guitar, the fingers, and the chair on which the guitarist sits before the audience- such as during the performances of the Fête de la Musique. The notes have to be carefully rehearsed, and here just a flair for music is not enough. The reading of notes requires basic mathematical knowledge, along with devoted practice, the group members will tell you. Coming from as far as Melbourne and Paris, these classical guitarists will win the heart of any music enthusiast.

Professor Frank Koonce was a nonpareil guide, even though he'd come from Arizona for a limited time. Iftekhar himself has studied classical guitar music in Greece and Arizona. Olivier Labe has a Masters degree from France. Between themselves and the local classical guitar learners, they mean to enchant music enthusiasts even more, on the summer of next year that is. Having seen them practice between 10 am and 3 pm, without even lunch sometimes- one marvels at their untiring enthusiasm. They have the unfailing, necessary rapt audience of Alliance Française to goad them on. Voila stringed instruments, and a penchant for the past!

Rafiur Rahman, who did his graduation from Melbourne on IT says, "Olivier, who plays the lute and held this workshop, guides me on the guitar with music of different eras such as Renaissance music. I'm into all kinds of music such as Beethoven from the classical era. I perform at different gigs. We've the Classical Guitar Association of Bangladesh (CGAB). I began with the electric guitar, being inspired by Jimmy Hendrix. “Hearing Andres Segovia playing the classical guitar, Rafi was determined to take special lessons.

"In 2003, in Melbourne, I couldn't afford these lessons. Coming to Dhaka, however, I began taking them from Naziur Rahman Shuman. Apart from the CGAB, I play as a trio and a quartet- and that experience is totally different." Here, in Dhaka, Rafi studied with Professor Frank Koonce.

Iftekhar Anwar, the main instructor of classical guitar of the CGAB, who lauds Labe and his ensemble in France, says, "One must study classical music to have a full understanding of modern music. Elena Papandreau in Greece was my guide before I went to the States. My students in Dhaka, like Muktadir Hossain Shikhor and Samara Rahman, who played during the Fête de la Musique, appeared to have a pretty good understanding of the guitar. The guitar students work hard- but they have a long way to go". Iftekhar Anwar adds that they have about fifty students in class, including the ones at the Uttara branch where Naziur Rahman teaches. The classes are open to enthusiasts of all ages.

By Fayza Haq

News flash

Sameeha: Fashionista's Stop
Designers Devjani Chowdhury and Tillottama Hassan have brought forth an exclusive line of haute couture for all those who love to wear art. A discount of 10 percent is on for the next couple of days celebrating the inauguration of this petite yet stylishly housed, fashion line. The racks are adorned with shoes, purses and clothing. Saris are available from Tk 3,500 onwards, while shalwar kameez start at the price Tk 1,500. Purses and shoes range from Tk 1050 - Tk 1600.Children's dresses and kurtas start at Tk 500 and Tk 1000 respectively. A sequence of Eid wear will be launched during the month of Ramadan.

AB Fashion
AB Fashion is sporting a special collection for teenagers, keeping in mind the monsoon. The collection has been made using mixed cotton and silk along with other fabrics that suit the season. Done in various designs, these fatuas and three-piece items can be found in the AB Fashion Makers Mirpur road 28 outlet. Phone:9665102

On 10 July 2009 boutique Ahang opened their outlet at Gulshan Circle #1. Minister for Commerce Lt. Colonel Faruk Khan inaugurated the shop. The boutique offers a range of products which will surely attract the style conscious Dhakaite. Check it out.

With the coming of Holy Shab-e-Barat, fashion house Lubnan has brought out near about thirty designs of panjabis in white, grey, blue, soft pink and subtle green. The prices range from Tk 1850-14000. Available at all Lubnan outlets.

On The Cover

Dazzling the cover this week is a sneak peak at Bibi Productions' Spring Summer Collection, where the dynamic duo of designer Bibi Russell and her daughter-in-law, fashion photographer Inshra Sakhawat Russell join hands to bring you a riot of checks, stripes, silks and cottons to add as a touch of zest to your wardrobe.
Ensemble: Bibi Russell
Photo: Inshra Sakhawat Russell
Models: Nishita, Ridita and Elma


Victory calls for cautious optimism

In the recently concluded test series in the Caribbean and the subsequent one-day internationals, the Bangladesh team was clearly the superior team. They won all their matches, and we as a nation tragically starved of such triumphs, have every right to celebrate.

Unfortunately, this elation must eventually be tempered by the realisation that, through no fault of theirs, our cricketers played against a severely depleted side. However, we should guard against over-the-top responses to this victory, as it will lead us into the vicious cycle of heightened expectations and crushing disappointments.

On that front, the reward of Tk 1.5 crores, 20 lakhs more than the promised amount, might seem too much. One can expect that the one-day series victory will induce similar generosity. The danger lies in believing that this is the moment cricket fans have been waiting for. The reality is that the three tests we have won in a career of sixty odd matches have all been against weaker opposition. We are yet to win a test against a full strength team from a major cricket nation. Let's save the big celebrations for when we do.

It cannot be escaped that despite playing against weakened opposition we conceded the first innings' leads in both the tests, a mistake which will be hard to recover from when playing against top-flight opponents. On that same point rests a positive sign, we showed enough character to recover and stamp our superiority over the weakened opponent.

This happened in the 50 over matches as well, where we played well to win matches after being in trouble. Playing well under pressure is a sign of a healthy team. Other positives are that our fielding was committed throughout, and the captaincy, being held temporarily by Shakib Al Hasan in the absence of the injured Mashrafe Mortaza, was as good as was seen from a Bangladeshi.

Perhaps the emotion that we are feeling is not of joy at having won, but of immense relief at not losing against 'second eleven' opposition. Indeed, winning all the matches on a tour is worthy of praise, regardless of the opposition. The air, however, needs to be one of cautious optimism and the circumstances have to be kept in mind. The message that needs to go out to our boys leaving the Caribbean for Zimbabwe is to keep doing the good work and raising standards, not of counter-productive backslapping and self-congratulation.




home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2009 The Daily Star