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Yaatri's Daak

In the era of rock, metal and clichéd alternative; soul-touching, sensational music is a rare giveaway. With a handful of individual artists, few bands have actually managed to reach out to me by breaking free from the typical “in-things”. Thankfully, I didn't need to be disappointed for long. Yaatri, with its debut album 'Daak' released this Eid has definitely made their mark in my soul.

Yaatri is a two-man band, comprising of Emran (keys and production) and Topu (vocals and lyrics) that 'officially' started around 2005. Topu began his musical venture during college with writing and composing lyrics. On joining NSU in 2003, he was eventually introduced to Emran (Raaga) and they began jamming. Their search for a common musical identity brought them together.

Initially, the band comprised Bipu (guitars), Mitu (bass), Emran (keys) and Topu (vocals). Tony (Black) collaborated with them for their first single "Ek Paye Nupur" which was released in Shopnochura at the end of 2004. Shopnochura II highlighted their single "Ekta Gopon Kotha", which caught the attention of Khaled from G Series. Yaatri was offered a record deal in November 2005 and the following eight months passed in collaborating with different guitarists, vocalists, bassists and drummers. Yaatri was out with 'Daak' in October 2006.

What make 'Daak' a particular favourite of mine are its self-awakening lyrics, soft melodies and soulful vocals. The soft and passionate compositions reenergize the listener's mind and emotions. The album kick-starts with “Ke Daake”, a thought-provoking piece flowing with creative lyrics and catchy guitarwork. Followed by a harmonious romantic composition, featuring Armeen Musa “Ei Ki Beshi Na” that proves Yaatri's versatility in songwriting. My favourite tracks include “Jaatri” and “Bhalobasha Shunechi Ja” - comprising thoughtful lyrics, simple and creative guitarwork and soul-awakening beats. The most interesting piece in the album, in my opinion, would be “Amra Shopne Bachi” which brings about the collaboration of Gazi Salauddin, Elita Karim and Simin Saifuddin on vocals, Zubaer on flute, James on guitars and Shams Alim Biswas on bass. The last song, “Jicho” is an unique and amazingly innovative and humorous piece written by Gazi Golam and produced by Fuad Al Muktadir.

What sets Yaatri apart is its skillful versatility in creativity and composition of each of its pieces. By featuring various artists in its different songs, Yaatri combines its unique style with that of others, hence making their debut such an appreciable one. For all young, aspiring musicians out there, Yaatri says,”Be original. Do what you love, not what is the “in thing”. Appreciate all types of music!”

By Sabhanaz Rashid Diya

Book review
Message in a bottle

There are love stories that provide a wonderful escape into a world where good-looking, smart and single men and women are just waiting to bump into each other and fall in love. They echo the words of Coelho's Alchemist : “when you really want something to happen the whole universe conspires to make your wishes come true”. Then there are love stories that have more imaginative plots, where the hero and heroine have to conquer insurmountable odds before finally ending up together. And then there are love stories by Nicholas Spark; stories that warm your heart and fill you with hope, even when things don't happen the way they should.

Message in a bottle tells the story of Theresa Osborne, a single mother and columnist, struggling with her memories of a picture-perfect marriage gone bad, and the pang of having to share her precious son with the ex-husband that had caused her so much pain. She also has to deal with her feelings of loneliness and a lack of fulfilment from her career. Around this time, while out on holiday with her boss/best friend, she discovers a love-letter inside a bottle that has washed up on the beach.

The letter is written by a man called Garrett who has lost the woman he loves, and it strikes a chord in Theresa. At the insistence of her boss, Theresa prints the letter in her column. The response is overwhelming, and it also brings to her two more letters by the same author. By now, Theresa is deeply intrigued and somewhat infatuated by this Garrett person, and decides to track him down.

When Garrett Blake, the widower, meets Theresa Osborne, she seems to be perfect in every way; a gift from the gods, and particularly suited to all his needs and wants. When they come together, he cannot believe his good fortune. The only thing standing between them is his love for his dead wife Catherine, to whom he had written those letters, and whose memories still haunt his dreams.

Will he be able to get over his past and build a future with Theresa? Read the book to find out.

Sparks has a talent for telling a realistic story peopled with believable characters. True, there are times when everything feels rather too convenient, but there are subtle turns in the plot to offset that. The pacing is slow enough to make it an easy read, without being boring. Definitely a book for a long, lazy afternoon.

The novel was made into a movie in 1999, starring Kevin Costner and Robin Wright Penn.

By Sabrina F Ahmad

Robot turns iPod into boom box-on-wheels

Tokyo - The new Japanese robot Miuro turns an iPod music player into a dancing boombox-on-wheels. The 14-inch-long machine from ZMP Inc. blares music as it rolls and twists from room to room. The robot, which looks like a ball popping out of an egg, has a speaker system from Kenwood Corp.

Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod player locks into the top of the robot, which comes in white, black, yellow or red. The $930 Miuro short for "music innovation based on utility robot technology" responds to a handheld remote control. It receives wireless signals from a PC to play music from iTunes and other programs.

At a demonstration in Tokyo, the 11-pound Miuro did a preprogrammed vacuum-cleaner-like dance, rolling about and pivoting to music. "This is a robot version of music-on-the-move that's so popular," said Miuro designer Shinichi Hara, who also creates album jackets for Japanese pop stars.

"I designed it to have a gentle look because it becomes a part of everyday life by integrating robotics and music," Hara said.

The robot went on sale Thursday in Japan by Internet order, and overseas availability is expected in the second half of 2007. ZMP is hoping to sell 10,000 Miuros in the first year, targeting sales of more than $8.5 million. The iPod already connects to speaker systems in homes and cars, as well as to earphones, but ZMP President Hisashi Taniguchi said robotic technology adds another convenience to mobile

"The robot helps you listen to music wherever you are without even thinking about it," he said. "Sometimes I don't even have the energy to put on a CD." Separately sold options add a camera and sensors to the robot so it will map out its own position and remember routes, Taniguchi said.


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