<%-- Page Title--%> Music <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 126 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

October 10, 2003

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A Breath Of Fresh Air

Saiful Islam

These days, when the music industry is vastly band dominated, Swani Zubayeer's album, Nirjon Shakkhor, is something much awaited for by the lovers of classical music. Zubayeer releases his third solo album from World Music. His singing is passionate without having to squeeze emotion out of every single note.

Although fairly a new face in the music world of Bangladesh, Swani Zubayeer is practising singing from his early childhood. He learnt the “sa re ga ma” of music from his mother Khurshid Jahan. His first guru was Sri Gobindo Rabi Das. His classical taleem in Indian classical music began in 1994 under the supervision of Ustad Mazhar Ali Khan and Jawad Ali Khan, the grandsons of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. Zubayeer did his Masters in English Literature in 1996 from the Department of English, Dhaka University. Presently he is doing his Bachelors in Western Classical Composition from the Royal College of music in Stockholm, Sweden.

Swani Zubayeer's first two albums are Saara, a collection of love songs, and Apna Khayal, a collection of ghazals, released from Mumbai in January, 2003. Nirjon Shakkhor is the first album of Bangla songs by Zubayeer.

Zubayeer is a passionate singer with a great range. This album features strong lyrics, appropriate musical backing, and a fairly wide variety of songs. The most unique thing about this album is that the lyrics, tune and arrangement of all the songs of this album are done by Zubayeer himself. His melodies are clear and simple, which allows the listener to explore the depth of the lyrics.
Nirjon Shakkhor haunting lyrics tackles such subjects as life, love and death.

The opening track, “aaj aamar mon bhalo nei” is melancholic and the moving second track lures one into a world of senses. Here he compares himself to fire while his beloved is compared to light wind which visits the senses gently time and time again.

The instruments used in this album are: violin, sarod, sitar, santoor, mandolin, harmonium, flute, tabla, keyboards, acoustic guitar, bass guitar. In the third track, “Sondher hahakar”, one can hear the flute being played after a raga at the beginning of the track. It creates a haunting effect.

Musically, this is not a diverse album. The only track that is
different in melody is the fourth one, “Ekti chaoai khub kore chai”. This song is a rather fast one interspersed with rhythmic variations.

The last track is the title song, “Nirjon Shakkhor”. Swani Zubayeer has written this song by rewriting a few lines from poet Jibonanondo Das's famous poem “Nirjon Shakkhor”. About the rewriting Zubayeer apologetically says that he has taken this liberty because of his love for Jibonanondo Das. He has passed many silent nights and pensive moments thinking about the lines of “Nirjon Shakkhor”. Though the lines compelled him to come up with an idea of tuning them, it was not possible if one tries to keep the format and structure of the poem intact.
Zubayeer has his musical roots in Indian classical, but you can hear the distinctive influence of western classical in his work. There is a common thread of sadness in the numbers that the singer perhaps likes to explore.

What makes this album a classic is that it carries a signature of its own. Nirjon Shakkhor or a solitary signature (this is how I preferred to translate it) is definitely going to change the stream towards popular music. There are very few young singers who sing classical or ghazals these days. It's true that Bangladesh has music lovers of all types and tastes. But Zubayeer will be loved by the listeners who are craving for something different.



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