Swani Zubayeer
Singer & Music Composer

Our music industry requires singers who have calibre and versatility along with a beautiful and melodious voice capable of mesmerising listeners. Swani Zubayeer falls into this category with ease and has emerged as a well-known name in his chosen sphere. He is one of those few singers, who are unafraid to take risks and experiment with different styles and genres.

The singer-composer grew up in an environment where he learnt to retain and respect a unique cultural identity in all its diversity and richness; and it was in his childhood that his creativity and artistic talent attained full expression. His grandfather was an eminent poet and his parents had vast knowledge of and interest in literature.

Zubayeer says, “I used to listen to all sorts of music and songs -- Indian classical, songs of Manna Dey, Boney M, ABBA, symphonies of Mozart and Beethoven and what not. I used to play the records and sing along.”

Photo: Star

His first musical guru was a family friend, Gobindo Ravi Das, from whom he learnt the basics of Indian classical music. Zubayeer was also the disciple of the torchbearers of the Patiala Gharana, Ustad Mazhar Ali Khan and Ustad Jawad Ali Khan. But the down to earth singer says, “I learnt music for myself, because I loved it, and not solely for performing. I did not want to limit my knowledge only to the subcontinent but aspired to know about music from various corners of the world.” Zubayeer continues, “I was told by my teachers -- and also strongly believe -- that no matter what you compose, never forget your own culture and heritage.”

Zubayeer who has studied English literature and music both at home and abroad says, “When I got the opportunity to learn, I went to India and Sweden. I practically did all sorts of work, which included odd jobs as well to provide for myself. Some youngsters of today do not want to work hard. They want to get everything overnight. There is a lack of patience and tenacity.”

According to him: “I believe there is a crying need to establish more quality institutions and forums on music. We require the exchange of ideas and experience among those involved in the development, presentation and enjoyment of music. It is imperative that we harness our rich tradition to meet the challenges of the changing time. Serious research should be conducted in the field of music in order to mobilise opinion, promote excellence, preserve and encourage innovation and adaptation. I would like to see that we develop greater mutual awareness and a more dynamic interaction in our musical arena. I want to see a Bangladesh where everybody is educated in music. Where everyone is acquainted not only with our different forms of music but also music from around the world -- be it African, Indian, Operas or the symphonies of Mozart and Beethoven.”

Zubayeer's compositions sparkle with poetic prowess -- an unmistakable trait of Ghazal. The talented singer-composer, however, feels that his songs do not precisely follow the form of traditional Ghazal. His albums “Nirjon Shakkhor”, “Ojossro Kobita”, “Adbhut Andhar Ek” and “Jugolshondhi” were highly appreciated by music enthusiasts in the country, in particular those who crave variety.

Compiled by Star A&E Correspondent

Habib Wahid
Singer & Music Composer


It was Habib Wahid's destiny to dwell into the world of music. He carried on the legacy of his singer father, becoming a household name in the country.

Habib studied music in England but decided on returning to the country to become a singer. He also became popular as a composer, especially after the release of the album “Krishno”, which featured a new take on folk music including songs of Shah Abdul Karim. It was that album which introduced the legendary Baul's music to the youths of the country -- causing a resurrection of appreciation for Bangla folk music both in the domestic and global fronts.

Habib created a new genre, giving the audience something that was essentially local but had an international feel. In the process he created a unique image of his own.

When the local mainstream film industry was in a rut, Habib provided it a boost with his music. He directed music for a couple of movies, with the song “Bhalobashbo Bashbo Re Bondhu” (in the film “Hridoyer Kotha”) achieving huge popularity among the masses.

Habib is selective and invests plenty of time on every song, working late into the night. Constant demand among the listeners makes Habib one of the highest paid composers and singers of the country.

Habib gained fame for his unique singing style in his first solo album “Shono”. He continued the good work in his second album “Bolchhi Tomake” and the third, “Ahoban”.

Several other singers grabbed limelight with the help of Habib's tunes, such as Nancy and expatriate singer Shirin.

Music is the only thing on Habib's mind. The talented musician wants to present Bangla music to the rest of the world.

By Shah Alam Shazu

Tanveer Alam Shawjeeb
Singer & Music Composer


Tanveer Alam Shawjeeb may not be hogging the limelight at the level as he deserves but his creativity is definitely getting noticed. During his last visit to Bangladesh, legendary Indian singer Manna Dey praised him at a programme. What could be a greater recognition for a young musician?

With a Bachelors degree in Sound Engineering from Toronto Film School in Canada, Shawjeeb has showcased his talents in a very short time. He has worked with directors including the late Tareque Masud, Nurul Alam Atique, Golam Sohrab Dodul and many others, composing title songs and background scores for their productions. Among these “Mon-e Mon-e”, “Chokkor” and “Aha ki Filmi” are worth mentioning.

With a diploma in Nazrul Sangeet from BAFA, Shawjeeb was a “Notun Kuri” [a national talent hunt for youngsters] contestant and won first prize in Nazrul Sangeet at the Jatiyo Shishu Shilpi Puroshkar, Dhaka Division. He also performed on BTV regularly until he moved to New York in 1994.

Though his passion for classical and semi-classic South Asian music remains undiminished, Shawjeeb's style has gone through gradual metamorphosis.

His signature style of singing Nazrul Sangeet and efforts to give them a new sound through cotemporary musical arrangement has been lauded by many.

His growth as a musician and vocalist becomes apparent as one listens to the album “Bari Kothaye Bolo” (released by Bengal Music Company Ltd in April 2007). The guitar riff in the opening number “Chaka Ghurchhe Cholchhe Mayar Khela” reminds one of an Eric Clapton in top form. The alaap as a prelude, and the effortless gliding in the third song “Raat-ero Akash”, remind one of Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty.

If that was not diverse enough, Shawjeeb's solo “Kobey Jabo Pahaar-e” in the mixed album “Jhalmuri-1” (also by Bengal Music Company Ltd) can be considered an urban interpretation of the jhumur genre.

According to the artiste, he has been “experimenting” with lyrics and tunes since the 1990s.

As a musician he has accompanied renowned artistes Feroza Begum, Sohrab Hossain, Manna Dey, Anup Ghoshal, Shipra Basu, Rezwana Chowdhury Bonna, Rathindranath Roy, Farida Parveen and others at concerts in North America.

His other projects include music for audio-visual clips for UNHCR and Shondhani.

Shawjeeb did the musical scores for the Tareque and Catherine Masud film “Runway”.

Compiled by Star A&E Correspondent

Kazi Krishnokoli Islam
Singer & Lyricist


She sings with an intensity and power that penetrates the soul. Her lyrics speak of longing and hope. Her haunting melodies find themselves carved onto the listener's memory, relentlessly forcing one to pay attention, to feel what she is saying.

Born and raised in Khulna, Kazi Krishnokoli Islam was introduced to the world of music by her mother. Krishnokoli trained under Shadhon Ghosh (Rabindra Sangeet) and Basudeb Biswas (classical music). She enrolled in Chhayanaut in 1998 and was a student in the Rabindra Sangeet Department for three years.

Her debut album “Shurjey Bandhi Basha”, produced under the banner of Bengal Music Company Ltd, was a breakthrough. All songs on the album were written, composed and performed by her; music was arranged and mixed by Arnob.

Her second album “Alor Pithey Andhar” was released last year. With the music direction of Arko, the eight tracks were written and composed by her.

Krishnokoli's lyrics are inspired by her own personal experiences. They often articulate an intense desire to be loved and understood. Her lyrics are inspired from the fact that she comes from a broken home.

Despite all the agony she went through because of her parents' separation, Krishnokoli managed to overcome her trauma because of the overwhelming support she got from her mother, who passed away in December of 2005.

Krishnokoli has another source of inspiration -- her six-year-old daughter, Amritanjoli Sresthheshori. She wrote the first song for her debut album, “Dubi Dubi”, right after Amritanjoli was born.

One cannot put a label on her sound. It fuses and incorporates a mixture of folk and classical melodies with a hint of the blues, which her soulful voice intensifies tenfold.

When she was 16, her friends persuaded her to make an album. Unfortunately, instead of supporting her, many of the artists that she attempted to work with wanted her to change her style in some way, claiming that her music was “too depressing”.

Singing is not Krishnokoli's only talent. She worked for an audio/visual company for a while before working with the production house, Krishnochura, as a creative director between 2005 and 2006.

With songs that bare her heart and soul, Krishnokoli hopes to highlight the magnificence of Bangla language.

Compiled by Star A&E Correspondent