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Music That Motivates All Generations

Music can do strange things to human minds. It can either make you feel happy, create a romantic mood or even make you sad and turn you into a moping crybaby. Then again, there's music that is powerful enough to stir an entire nation's emotions, to trigger anger and hatred towards injustice and to summon inner strength for fighting against everything that is wrong.

That is the kind of music our nation had back in the tempestuous days of '71.

Warriors were not born but instead they were moulded into the heroes that they were by the urgent hands of circumstance and fiery tunes like “Joy Bangla Banglar Joy”, “Mora Ekti Phool Ke Bachabo Bole Judhdho Kori”, “Jonotar Shongram Cholbei” etc. aided them in that process. The renowned artists of the then Shwadheen Bangla Betar Kendro dedicated themselves in this musical motivation of the freedom fighters risking their own lives. Now, 39 years after the liberation war, these 'Shobdo-shoinik' or 'soldiers who fought with words' once again gathered in front of Shongshod Bhobon's South Plaza last Friday afternoon (March 26, 2010) in a commemorative observance of our Independence day.

The programme, titled “Chetonay Shwadheen Bangla Betar Kendrer Gaan”, was a unique arrangement in itself as it focused on presenting a fusion of generations and performances instead of simply playing plain old songs. 46 motivational songs were performed by 14 aged artists of the then Shwadheen Bangla Betar Kendro as well as the young Close-Up One singers. Old and new, matured and young- all voices rose in unison to celebrate our independence with fiery words and timeless tunes. Various organisations also presented beautiful dance performances in between the songs, which made the programme even livelier.

In fact, the spirit of the show seemed to touch the audience as well. People clad in festive red and green attire gathered in front of the stage and were also seen scattered all around the vast green field in front of the Plaza along with their friends and family, savouring the cool afternoon in all its musical glory. Children ran around laughing and playing all over the open space. Some were seen trying to hum along with the songs while their parents assisted them enthusiastically.

The programme was organised by NTV and Close-Up in celebration of our Independence Day. Unilever and NTV have also endeavoured in publishing an album of 5 CDs containing these 46 songs. These timeless melodies are an asset to our nation. They will forever remind all our generations of the power of simple words and tunes in sparking a wildfire of emotions.

By Raisa M Rafique

Traditional Boats of Bangladesh

Venue: Nalinikanta Bhattashali gallery of the National Museum

Boats, boat-building and traditions surrounding water-based communications have always been rich in Bangladesh. This is because of the geography of the country, which is part of the biggest deltaic plain in the world, sheltering the one of the most densely populated nations. About 60% of Bangladesh is covered in a vast river system. Waterways and boats are thus understandably an integral part of the country's communication system. While sea vessels from the Bay of Bengal adopted exotic styles due to the influences of foreign traders, the wooden boats of the inland waterways developed their shapes and forms free from foreign influences into more than 50 different types. These riverboats were built using skills and technologies that have been passed down orally by boat-builders from generation to generation.

Until the mid 20th century, the riverboats of Bangladesh remained the same, but around the 1980s two big technical revolutions took place, which suddenly changed the river-scape of Bangladesh from colourful sceneries of hundreds of sails to a bare noisy one. With the advent of cheap diesel engines the first revolution was the sudden motorisation of traditional boats. This enabled the crew to save in costs of masts and sails. However, technological change caused the disappearance of marvellous rigging in less than five years. The second one was the change of boat-building material from wood to tin and welded steel sheets. Rural electrification and the political will of preserving forests, encouraged boat-builders to use these sheets to build their new boats. Wooden boats soon became too expensive and less economically viable.

'Traditional Boats of Bangladesh' was inaugurated on March 22 at the Nalinikanta Bhattashali gallery of the National Museum. The exhibition is organised by Friendship and sponsored by AB Bank. Established in 1998 in Bangladesh, Friendship is a value-based organisation, which identifies and reaches the most vulnerable and marginalised communities. Friendship promotes its work of cultural preservation at home and abroad through an on-going travelling exhibition. The boats on display are handcrafted maintaining every single feature and detail of each type of boat. The exhibitions also have materials traditionally transported by life-size boats. Jute, ropes, bamboos and clay pottery gives a sense of what the daily life on the boats were like. Films and descriptive panels complete the visual material. The purpose of these exhibitions is to raise national and international awareness on the impending loss of our ancient fleet.

The exhibition 'Traditional Boats of Bangladesh' is part of Friendship's Cultural Preservation Programme, which strives to conserve the heritage of traditional boat building in Bangladesh and facilitate socioeconomic development of the boat builders and their families. And their ultimate goal is to establish the first 'Living Museum on the Boats of Bengal' in the country. The exhibition will be running daily from March 23 till March 31 from Saturday till wednesday from 9:30am till 4:30pm and from April 1 till 19 from 10:30am till 5:30pm. The museum is closed on Thursdays and on Fridays the exhibition will be open from 3:30 till 7:30pm.

By Zabir Hasan

'One Peace At A Time'
Premieres in Bangladesh

“They say in Africa, there is only one way of eating an elephant…
one piece at a time.”
-Desmond Tutu

'One Peace At A Time' is a film about 'a messed up world and how we could fix it'. It is written and directed by Turk Pipkin and has been filmed in 20 countries with the insights of Nobel Laureates like Muhammad Yunus, Steven Chu, Queen Rania of Jordan, Willie Nelson, Desmond Tutu etc. The film features the music of The Band, Bob Dylan, Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, Explosions In The Sky, Bob Schneider and Cat Stevens. Produced by The Nobelity Project, it was the official selection of the Maui Film Festival.

The movie premiered in Bangladesh at Chhayanaut auditorium's Mongol Barer Shabha on March 16. 'Architecture for Humanity'-an international architectural organisation- in association with 'Studio Re-think'-a Bangladeshi architectural farm led by renowned architect Imrul Kayes- has sponsored the promotion of this movie in Bangladesh. The film was also shown in Brac University on March 28, 2010. Schedules also include shows on April 1, 8 and 10 at the Alliance Française. IUB and Scholastica authorities will also hold shows on their premises, the dates of which will be announced later. The tickets are being charged as 100 TK each, the proceeds of which will be donated as relief for the earthquake-stricken children in Haiti.

More information at

For tickets, organisation or donation procedures please contact: 01199091839, 01715661392, 01713067654

By Raisa M Rafique



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