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A Fitting Misfit

Meet a Welsh sax player who's working as an education consultant, a bearded multi-dimensional drama magnet from Prachyanat, a ruggedly handsome guitarist involved with advertising, and a smiling, student bassist and a playful dhol-baadok. Imagine a room where we put these five individuals together. Imagine a situation where you hand them out their respective instruments and tell them to play. Expecting an awful mismatch?

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to The MisFits. With Onom on guitars, Shafiq on dhol, Miraj on bass, Andrew on sax and flute, and Rahul on every other sound you hear; these noisemakers are a steaming cup of coffee for a drizzling night. Allow me to introduce a very new sound that has just hit this busy town.

Their debut performance on a Friday evening was just the perfect end-of-exam treat for this unpretentious critic. Watching a couple of guys mingling Celtic jazz with the strumming of rhythm guitars, throwing in an occasional local pitch was a mesmerizing experience. Their music carried an easy going essence, synchronized in beats with an uplifting intensity that demanded any soulful romantic to hold his/her breath. Hitting it off with a simplistic fusion of sax, guitars and flute; their melodies eventually delivered the avid listeners to a different level of dhol, bass and dialogues.

Interestingly, the history of The MisFits doesn't stretch beyond a couple of months. A common friend and photographer, Rudro Shehzad (a.k.a band manager) conjured up a wicked plan of mixing different sets of sound. What begun as experimental jam evolved into a set of recognizable tunes tossing into diverse mood grooves. Their fusions of the East and West, classical with modern beats have created an ambiance of breathtakingly refreshing instrumentals.

The most noticeable feature about this fusion is the variation the band has incorporated, both musically and instrumentally. As Rahul plays buffalo horn to a Mongolian number or lets the nupur on his ankles add to the resonance of his voice and flute-playing, and Onom vocals an acoustic opus; the uniqueness of the echoes generated is a new found face for the common listeners. Improvising and intermingling instrumental reverberations from different cultures is something that hasn't been practiced at this end of the world before, and watching it unfold in one's ears leaves a strange sense of satisfaction for moments to follow.

A personal favourite from the group is a composition that combines sounds of a Brazilian instrument called 'rainmaker' (played by Rahul) to that of deshi tunes. The 'rainmaker' is a tube with lots of seeds or bits of bark passing through the tube, hitting inner obstacles as they move. It brought in elements of nature like sounds of rain and water that complimented the concentration reflected off a flute and the contrasting bouncing of dhol. Simply an indulgence to lose one's soul for!

With their music will stealing your heart and leaving you to beg for more, The MisFits have certainly hit a goldmine.

“Although much work is needed to get things tighter, the whole concept is of a pot-pourri of musical styles, experimentation, dialogue and change of mood works. There's not much instrumental music going on here. The only one band I know of is Purbo Poschim, which sets out to do fusion stuff. However, they have a lot of synthesized elements too. I personally think one selling point for our sound is that it's all authentic instruments, so a simpler, folksier sound. Besides, Rahul's energy and various antics have its visual aspect too!” replies Andrew Morris when I asked him about the band's future plans.

This critic could not have agreed more. Though the band tends to lose its audience sometimes with repetitive sets of tunes; in a nutshell, they have managed to define their own genre. With more experimentation than most local sounds I've come across, The Misfits contrary to their title have crafted a beautiful eclectic something that I will be eagerly looking forward to experiencing in days to come.

By Sabhanaz Rashid Diya
Photo: Sabhanaz Rashid Diya & Fahmim Ferdous


Bangladeshi blessings

Every year on Independence Day, we sigh about the shortcomings of our country and lament things; so, taking a break this time, let's count our blessings this 26th March, and I'm sure we have many:

We are the only nation in the entire world that has fought for its language.

Bangladesh has been found to be the happiest nation on earth by one survey.

Cox's Bazar, the beautiful sea beach in our country, is the longest sandy sea beach in the world .

Our forest Sundarban is the largest mangrove forest in the world.

We never bow down in the face of adversities such as natural disasters throughout the year and poverty. As the poet rightly says, 'Shabash Bangladesh e prithibi obak takiye roy, jole pure more charkhar tobu matha nowabar noy".

We make amazing food. Our locally made sweet delicacies are of extremely high quality and would earn a lot of name and appreciation if they are exported on a large scale.

Bangladesh provides the most breathtaking flavour of rain. Experience it here, and you won't like it as much anywhere else.

Bangladeshis changed,and still are changing, the face of the world. Brojen Das, for example,is known to be the first Asian who crossed the English channel. Jawed Karim, the co-founder of YouTube, is of Bangladeshi origin. Other examples include Dr Yunus, Bibi Russell, etc . Our culture is one of the most enriched. We have wonderful songs, literature and poetry that can cater to an international audience.

Last but not the least, we deshis value our bonds with our fellow countrymen and human relationships the most; and isn't that the greatest mindset possible? "Shobar upore manush shotto, tahar upore nai".

These are only some of the many appreciable attributes that our country provides us with. Go Bangladesh, go!

By Anika Tabassum


Silence of the cowards

The other day I was thinking why no one ever questions or rather charges about the unfound weapons of mass destruction, a cause for one of the most terrifying wars of modern times, which resulted in the loss of millions of lives, creation of sudden orphans, widows, widowers and childless parents. Who do such people go to for justice, when justice itself strikes against them? What right did a foreign government have to enter another country, break its economy, rape its land of its freedom and then hang its leader on a day which the culture considered to be holy?

The bigger question would be, what have we done against such blasphemy? Have we spoken out against it and if we have, then why hasn't anything been done? The answer is because we have spoken up against it in the comfort of our living rooms since we are too scared and too 'democratic' to say anything nowadays. Let them tease our mothers and sisters, its freedom of speech now isn't it dear brethrens?

37 percent people in the invading country declared it to be right. The rest 63 percent were silenced and unheard from. Why? Because the media itself felt there was no point in knowing why people condemned it since that was obvious so they shifted to people who wanted it. That lead to changing of belief of other people.

Osama Bin Laden is a black sheep of the Muslim community. He has been responsible for killing thousands of people and now the world with the help of media is raising fingers at every Muslim on the street, as if we are all terrorists. So how would people react if now Muslims decided to point their fingers at the Christian community because Adolf Hitler massacred millions of Jews? Would that be justified? So if war in Afghanistan was justified, would war in USA be justified, since according to sane human beings, the wars carried out by USA killed more people than any attack on the Twin Towers.

Though everyone knows that, hardly do we do anything about it. Now Iran is in the highlight because they are a 'threat' to global security. Why? Because they have the ability to produce nuclear weapons? Doesn't USA too have that ability and don't they indulge in such productions too? Why don't we see sanctions against them? The reason is because they control our economy and our way of life. It's a pity but a fact which is very much true and unless we can help ourselves, even God can't help us. As far as I myself am concerned, the UNO is merely but a puppet and sue me if you will, I shan't change my thought.

Sure this may be controversial and dangerous to state, but you can only hide the truth and I challenge anyone to silence it. Fear not for your life or your welfare when you want to see changes, just like heroes of folklore, because with truth on your side, you have nothing to be scared of. This piece is merely a reminder of what had happened, what can happen and what might happen, if we remain bound by threads of cowardice. Speak out while you can and always remember that a coward dies a thousand deaths but a soldier dies but once!

By Osama Rahman


Nostalgia

My earliest memories consist of a small house with quite a large compound, owned by my father. Both my parents worked and for most of their time, were not home. I wondered why they stayed away all that time, just to come back again at night and say how hard their day was. So much for understanding the value of hard work.

I had realized slowly through all those years that I was going to spend a major portion of my childhood solitarily and therefore had learned to prepare for it from a very young age. Mornings would begin with waking up from sleep and riding my father's car to the school. During afternoons, I would spend my time staring at the sky and watching birds feed on the many mango trees above our compound and at night I would go through my ABC's trying to understand the point of memorizing some silly letters scribbled on to a book by a tall teacher. I thought if I should learn something I should learn it by myself not because my mother urged me, or because my teacher asked me to. Maybe I was wrong, but somehow even now I feel a reluctance to study something I do not want to.

Some half-forgotten memories are more like water captured in cupped hands. The more I try to pull them together the faster they escape my reach. I remember the time when I was taken to hospital due to severe case of food poisoning, ending up with three needles stuck into my head dripping saline into my bloodstream. I remember the time when a rickshaw ran over my leg leaving a permanent scar that I have even today. I remember the silly tantrums I threw for a Ninja Turtles T-shirt that I had seen on a shop display. I would have liked to describe a more complete set of my child hood memories if I could only remember their details.

When I was eight the major turning point in my life came, when I moved from Dhanmondi to Uttara. I was very sad leaving the house that I had called home for most of my life. I could not adjust to the change, the new settings. Of my entire family I believe I was the one, who had suffered the most from the shock of moving into Uttara.

By the time I was there at Uttara, I had gotten used to my solitary life. My loneliness was increased by the fact that my sister had now become used to spending most of her time in school. However, my loneliness was something very familiar. I would spend my time immersed in studies and thoughts. When it rained my mind bloomed; every drop represented a different thought that would think. The sky was my canvas and the mind my paint, imagination my brush. I had created a world of my now.

Now my world becomes over shadowed with traumas of present, and worries of future, the desires of past and the responsibilities ahead. Yet, I believe my world will be preserved when I return to my second childhood.

By Moutasim Ashikur Rahman

 


 

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