Vol. 5 Num 872 Fri. November 10, 2006  

In conversation with Arnob
Giving timeless songs a new sound

Of the current breed of talented musicians, Shayan Chowdhury Arnob is a popular name. Over the years this composer/singer has gained recognition for his contribution to fusion music. Songs rendered by him for the band Bangla -- Tui gaan gaa and Shona diya bandhaiyachhi ghar -- gave him nationwide recognition. Simultaneously his compositions of the jingles for commercials and TV serials took him to the limelight.

Arnob earned a name after the release of the first solo album titled Chai Na Bhabish, which consists of 13 songs re arranged by him. And in the last five years he has developed a distinctive style of music composition. This November he is going to release his second solo album titled Hok Kolorab.

Says Arnob, "All the songs of Hok Kolorab are written by Taufiq, my former friend from Shantiniketan. In fact I composed these songs while I was a student. I've polished these songs for my new album. Hopefully the audience will like the songs."

Arnob claims that all of the songs can be labeled as 'fusion'. He fuses folk with blues and classical, using both eastern instruments such as esraj as well as western instruments like guitar, keyboards and others in his compositions. The use of esraj is one of the unique features in his compositions. To quote him, "Beside learning Rabindra Sangeet and classical music, I learnt esraj when I was a school student at Shantiniketan. I'm fascinated by the melody - meer-gamak -- of the string instrument esraj and I frequently use it. I've played the instrument in my compositions for the upcoming album. In fact, I've played all the instruments."

According to Arnob, his sense of 'fusion' music developed at Shantinketan. Arnab says, "I had the opportunity to share my views on music with the Bauls living at Shantiniketan. There along with my friends I formed the band named Bangla. Eminent dancer Lubna Marium was a student at Shantiniketan and her daughter Anusheh used to visit her. After getting acquainted, I discovered Anusheh's potential and invited her to perform in India for our band Bangla. After returning to Bangladesh we continued our band with the same title. Buno joined later with the band. I composed all of the songs of the first album of Bangla, except one titled Ei kotha tomader jonno, which was composed by Buno."

Though Arnob received appreciation for jingles, he is least interested in continuing this. As he says, "I've noticed that composing jingles for TV commercials is a waste of one's creative energy. Makers of the commercials and serials keep on pressuring me; to compose a 30 second jingle I have to compromise with the time needed to work on compositions for my own songs."

Arnob completed his graduation and post graduation in graphic design from Shantiniketan. He likes to utilise his background in making films. "My educational background has developed my aesthetic sense, which at present I apply in composing music," says Arnob who is currently working as the CEO of Bengal Music Company.