7 musicians/bands you should be listening to right now

Music can be a wonderful escape from reality, and musicians are the mastermind behind them. But sometimes, some artists fail to get the attention that they deserve. Their lack of recognition breaks our heart, and so we have compiled a list of musicians you need to listen to right now.

Read more: Great Bangladeshi Bands that disappeared after their Debut Album

Mumford and sons

Ten years in the business. Talented musicians and notable awards. Despite all these, Mumford and Sons is severely underrated. They are probably not fishing for crowd approval, but they still deserve to be a nationwide sensation. So start with “Little lion man”, “The cave”, “I will wait” and “Hopeless wanderer.” We assure you, you will be astounded by their skills and talent.

Hippo campus

Hippo campus stands out with catchy beats, beautiful lyrics and their innovative music videos. This American indie rock band has been around since 2013 and consists of 4 primary members. Try listening to “Bashful creatures”. If you do not have time for an entire EP, try “Golden”. You will see what we are talking about.

I don’t know how but they found me

Just as the name suggests, this American music duo is not overwhelmingly popular. But they are creative. They made this list because of their diverse sound, unconventional lyrics and of course, imaginative music videos. And if we have to suggest ONE song, we request you to listen to “No one likes the opening band.” Those lyrics cut deep.

Vancouver sleep clinic

VSC came into attention only in 2017, through their single “Someone to stay”. However, they have been around far longer than that.  VSC stands out with their heart wrenching lyrics and soulful music- even though they might seem a little monotonous to some. Nonetheless, they do deserve the chance to stay on your playlist. So if you have the time and willingness to explore new music, listen to “Killing me to love you”, “Lung”, “Ayahuasca”.

Flower face

Now this is a band you definitely haven’t heard of. They don’t even have a Wikipedia page! But Flower Face deserves more recognition purely because of the music that they make. The melody is soothing; melancholic- the lyrics are simple. However, the writing talent shines through every simple word. They are perfect for those long, nostalgic nights when you can’t help reminisce the past. We recommend listening to “Angela”, “Cloud Factories”, “Raphael” “Where the ocean meets the sky”. Disclaimer- please do not listen if you are prone to crying a lot. We refuse to be responsible for your tears.

Fur

This UK based indie rock band will show you how the sixties would be like at present. They got picked up by our radar because of youtube algorithm, and we will be forever grateful for that! Listen to “If you know that I’m lonely”, “brother”, “Not enough” and you will know why we’re so obsessed with fur. Their somewhat comic videos will be a bonus.

Finneas

We all know Finneas, just not as him. This brilliant singer/songwriter is the older brother of current sensation Billie Eilish. He is the mastermind behind many of Billie’s acclaimed songs, including “Six feet under”, “I don’t wanna be you anymore” and “Bad guy”. However, Finneas himself is a brilliant artist, and you should listen to his original songs. We recommend listening to “break my heart again”, “I’m in love without you”, and “Life moves on”.

And there you have it, our list of musicians you must listen to. Give it a try, and let us know what you think about them!

Great Bangladeshi bands that disappeared after their debut album

Recently, I came across an article stating, “People stop discovering music after 30”. This is a rather downlifting study for many of us. There will never be a shortage of great music. But most often they are unnoticed and dominated by substandard crap. Bangladeshi millennials can boast of the band music scene they have grown up listening since the 2000s. Speaking of, have we given due attention to the bands who rightfully deserved it?

Read more: Not just a clone: the Imagine Radio Story

Making a career as a band musician is hard in Bangladesh. Many promising bands have shown their potential but eventually gravitated towards other professions. Apparently making music can barely pay your bills. So this article is a homage to the bands who have shown tremendous musicianship but faded out of the scene. Some of them went abroad, others are inactive…or subject to typical rockstar feud.

Icons

Great Bangladeshi bands that disappeared after their debut album

Icons is an alternative rock band who released their debut album Ishshoronio in 2005. Before landing a studio album deal with G-series, Icons made quite a name through various mixed albums. Yours truly still fantasizes about their reunion show…maybe in the distant future.

Notable tracks: Oporanho, Ishshoronio, Neon

Read more: Sodium Batir Gaan – changing the culture of open air music

Vibe

Great Bangladeshi bands that disappeared after their debut album

If I could resurrect one band from dormancy, it would be VIBE. This alternative/heavy metal band created a lot of buzz when their album ‘Chena Jogot’ hit the market in 2007. I remember my peers complimenting about Vibe by saying, “they could be the next Artcell!”. Let’s not go into comparison because Vibe have created a sound of their own. Please come back, we need you!

Notable tracks: Shesher opashe, Nostalgia, Shopnodeb

Read more: Bangladeshi graphic novels: 5 essential reads

The Watson Brothers

Great Bangladeshi bands that disappeared after their debut album

Cryptic Fate and The Attempted Band, two bands that varied in genre, got together to form ‘The Watson Brothers’. Thankfully, the chemistry worked very well. In 2003, TWB released their album “Ohom”. The band may not be around anymore, but their songs are actively performed by Cryptic Fate (which is a relief).

Notable tracks: Rong, Akash, Ohom

Minerva

Great Bangladeshi bands that disappeared after their debut album

Minerva came into limelight with their epic medley of 19 minutes (A tribute to Bangladeshi bands). It transcended every frontier of awesomeness that to call it a cover will be an understatement. But the groove metal band have cemented their position in the music scene with their debut album “Biday Shongbidhan” (2013). The band has been inactive for quite a while. We can only hope their comeback with this year’s Rocknation.

Notable tracks: Ashirbaad, Jaatra, Mrittur Shesh Choy

These artists attest to the fact “Quality matters, not quantity”.

The mentioned bands gave us priceless music. The only thing we demand from them is a reunion gig.

Remember, hope is a great thing!

Watch: Zamor, a Bangladeshi in the French Revolution

(Album artworks featured in this article are courtesy of banglacdcovers.blogspot.com. Head over to their blog to see hi-res scanned image of old, new and rare CD covers)

6 YouTube channels you should try out

According to Stasita, every day around 4 million people use YouTube. All these people have some sort of attachment to YouTube. In fact, they have something that gives them meaning. Either through entertainment or through information sharing.

Everyone has YouTube channels that they like. Some are common among people like PewDiePie and The Infographics Show. On the contrary, some are a bit uncommon. We’ll find out some YouTube channels that are a bit uncommon among general people but are worth a shot.

So, let’s jump into the list.

Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell

This is a German YouTube channel and design studio. How good is this channel? I’ll give you two reasons.

Firstly, this channel has a passion for sharing knowledge. Also, they do it for free. Above all, the most notable thing about this channel is its unique design and storytelling perspective. In fact, Kurzgesagt wants to raise awareness among people through videos.

The videos cover areas like science, biology, history, space, technology, and philosophy. Furthermore, you can learn a lot about these usually boring topics in a fun way with Kurzgesagt. Many are a fan of these videos because of the animations. Many are a fan because of the way they share knowledge. I believe that if you start watching a video from this channel, you won’t be able to stop anytime soon.

Button Poetry

Many of you might think why this channel is here. This is supposed to be an uncommon list of channels. Well, in fact this is a bit uncommon. Even I found this channel at the end of last year.

Now, do you love poetry? Do poems levitate your mood? Then I guess this is the best channel for you. Here you will find videos of excellent recitation of awesome poetry. Some, of these creations, might make you question about some common things. For instance, what is love? Moreover, you will see hundreds of stories touching your heart through the amazingness of poetry.

Even if you are not a poetry lover, you can try some of these out. Believe me, you will surely get a relaxing time.

Lessons from the Screenplay

Do you like films? Well, almost everyone likes movies. The real question is, do you like to think about movies? If yes, then this channel is the perfect place for you. Here you will get explanations about movies through exploring a character.

Roaming around YouTube you might have seen a lot of movie reviews, but this channel is a bit different. Michel, the owner of this channel pays his homage to films while reviewing those. Here you will be able to know more about scripts. You will find out why and how these movie scripts are so good at storytelling. Eventually, you will come across techniques that turn good writings to great.

So, whether you are a writer or a film enthusiast or a knowledge seeker, you can give this a shot.

I’m Cyborg but It’s Ok

Do you think you have a nice choice in movies? Do people praise your music taste? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, you should try out this channel. Awesome movie clips portrayed with great music will give you a soothing feeling indeed.

The Dreamers (2003) with Future Islands

I have found many beautiful songs through this channel. From French new waves films to modern day films, many great films are covered by this channel. Also, somehow the creator finds the perfect music to run with the movie clip. Recently the channel faced a copyright ban, but it seems that it has been sorted out now. Therefore, the creator repeatedly states that he or she doesn’t monetize the videos. That these creations are simply ‘Fan Arts’.

Yes Theory

What do you fear most? What are you going to do about it? These two questions are from the latest video of Yes Theory. In fact, These two questions made me pause the video and think.

I found Yes Theory in December 2018 from a mentor of mine. Then I was going through some difficult time and this channel helped me a lot. Yes Theory believes in saying Yes. They share positivity through seeking discomfort. In fact, their tagline is Seek Discomfort. 4 people in 2015 met and became friends over the idea of getting out of the comfort zone. Soon they started their YouTube channel. Eventually, now they have over three million subscribers in YouTube.

Photographer Balazs Benke gave away this picture to Yes Fam for free use.

In the meantime, they made a fan group of 78,000 members in Facebook named Yes Fam. Here everyone is working towards seeking discomfort. There are also subgroups in this huge community. People who are interested in Music, Painting, Literature and other stuff, help out each other in these subgroups. Moreover, these Yes Fam members sometimes meet up physically and make the bond even stronger by creating a yes circle.

Yes Theory Circles

You can click into any video from this channel and you’ll have a smile on your face at the end of the video. You’ll be filled with optimism to see what people can accomplish by working together. What we can do by getting out of the comfort zone.

Antik Mahmud

There are many Bangladeshi YouTube channels out there. But it’s pretty hard to find a decent one.

Now, do you like cartoons? Or humorous videos? Well, Antik Mahmud brings these together in his cartoon vlogs. Furthermore, the contents are pretty decent. You will get a peek into the life of a university student. How someone around that age perceives society and its surroundings.

Check out this outstanding humorous video of him.

Takeaway

Some of these channels might be common to many people but these are still unknown to many. There are other channels like Screen prism, Wisecrack, The Worst Taste, Crash Course etc. that should be in your watchlist. Do check these out whenever you have time.

Also, can you suggest some channels too?

K-Pop, Despacito and the lack of originality in modern music

Let us begin with K-Pop. South Korean “popular” music, which is actually a unique hybrid of many genres like hip-hop, electronic dance, folk and others. It can be traced back to the ’90s. But it really blew up in the span of the past couple of years. There’s hardly anyone who doesn’t have an opinion on it. It’s a religion to some people and the manifestation of society’s failure to others.

Music is subjective, but there is objectivity in everything.

Some things do distinguish modern music from music of the past. Are those good or bad things?  One can simply say “K-pop is the worst kind of music” and many would agree, many wouldn’t. Opinions can be right or wrong, but how do the facts weigh in? How hypocritical is it to bash K-pop for being foreign, unintelligible and its overuse of suggestive dance moves, while listening to pop songs in Spanish? Let’s try to analyze music from a neutral perspective.

What makes a difference?

Probably K-Pop fans make more sense than the average listener. K-Pop has a certain exoticness and a distinct aesthetic. It is unique, it stands apart. Which is more than what can be said about the stuff the average listener listens to.

Chart-topping songs of today have many things in common. The most distinct of which is ironically, their commonality. The Spanish National Research Council conducted research on over 500,000 tracks from 1955-2015, running each song through a complex and meticulous set of algorithms. They tested three metrics, the harmonic complexity, timbral diversity and loudness (more on that later). The first two metrics in simple terms mean the richness, diversity and quality of sound in the music. The research states that diversity in the context of timbre and harmony peaked in the ’60s, and has been declining ever since.

Answer: The difference

In more relatable terms, listening to the radio, have you ever thought to yourself that every popular song sounds the same? Well, because they do. Let us compare pop songs from the past to modern pop. You had The Beach Boys and their album Pet Sounds. They used orchestra instruments, bicycle bells, flutes, coca cola cans, barking dogs and Hawaiian instruments in the composition for each song. For reference, listen to “Wouldn’t it be nice” or “Kokomo”.  Against that, you have any chart-topper today, where the music can be attributed to the use of a drum machine, a keyboard and mostly a computer.

To some that might sound like progress. To a critique, it sounds like musicians are becoming less explorative and creative. Try to find one billboard topping single that doesn’t use a variation of the vocal cue “Wa-oh, Wa-oh”, also called the millennial whoop. This is one of the cardinal reasons all songs sound the same nowadays. And it isn’t restricted to musical cues either. You might be shocked to know that the majority of chart-topping pop songs from the past 20 years has been written by just two people, songwriters Max Martin and Dr. Luke.

Consider the song “When the Levee Breaks”, Led Zeppelin’s rendition of it. The band used a former poorhouse in Hampshire, England called “Headley Grange” to record parts of the song, because one of the staircases had a certain acoustic reverb. Imagine going that far. Against musicians writing their own songs and finding the perfect way to record it, today you have factory manufactured tracks for a popular musician to add their nice voice to. Against the originality, creativity and dedication like that, you have the same tried and tested formulaic songs being repackaged and presented as this month’s hot stuff.

The case of Despacito

If you want to ask why, it’s because our brain likes familiar things. When you are thinking that you’ve heard this brand-new release before, your brain is recognizing the same pattern it saw in virtually every other pop song. While you feel like the song is “catchy”, the brain is convincing you the song is good because it is familiar. Thus, people listen to music of a language they don’t even understand, music that they’ve listened to so many times before, only because it is catchy, and unknowingly, the same. Like Despacito.

Are we to blame? Limited attention spans

All of that makes musicians sound like very opportunistic people. But do we share some responsibility? The human attention span has drastically decreased over the past decade, which has factored into our music choice. Almost nobody listens to music for the sake of listening or enjoying themselves anymore. They listen to music that’s easy, music you can play on your way to work.  Facilitated by thousands of tracks on demand, we tend to flick through songs if we don’t like how long it takes to set in. Not many would sit through an 8-minute track to appreciate the subtle nuances of something like the track “Roundabout”. Musicians and record companies have thus resorted to shorter and louder songs with punchy basslines to demand our attention, and keep it.

The advent of dubstep is an example. The most enticing part of the song, the Hook, is being used sooner and more frequently throughout a track.

Moreover, producers have tried to make their songs sound louder to grab your attention. Although the volume control is in the user’s hands, producers have used compression to make quieter parts of a track match the loud parts, making the overall song sound louder. What this does is inevitably decrease a song’s quality and variety of music. Therefore, you have similar sounding, unimaginative pop songs, sometimes about butts.

So, think again

Make of all this information what you will. You might call the phenomena progress, you might call it evil incarnate. Studies indicate that music today is less diverse and creative than that of the past. Uniqueness and imagination are rare traits in modern music. So, the next time you rag on someone for listening to K-Pop, just pay attention to what you happen to be listening to on the radio.

Want to become a beatboxer? Moktadir Dewan, co-founder of Beatbox Bangladesh shares valuable advice

We spoke to the Co-founder of Beatbox Bangladesh, Moktadir Dewan. He shares an overview of the scene, their future plans and gives valuable advice to anyone new to beatboxing or someone wanting to get better.

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What is the most common style that is being explored by local artists?

The common styles would be trap, dubstep, techno, and house. But the core styles are old school beats. Depending on the beatboxer’s knowledge he/she can fuse multiple genres. There are over a 1000 beatboxers of different calibres in Bangladesh (as opposed to maybe a handful or less just 8 years ago).

How many shows has Beatbox Bangladesh had since their inception in 2014?

Since then, Beatbox Bangladesh has organized several events and workshops in Dhaka and Chittagong. The two main events are the national beatbox championships that took place in December 2017 and November 2018. We plan to hold various beatbox meets, friendly battles and other events.

When you are searching for beatboxers for the competition, what is the biggest challenge in finding talent?

The biggest challenge is to find beatboxers with a clean flow. One common habit that sadly exists in all genres and communities in Bangladesh (and perhaps in many countries), is that individuals believe that they can skip to advanced techniques, without mastering the basics. Beatboxers need to remember the importance of having a proper sense of rhythm and composition.

Fortunately, we found over 40 beatboxers who knew that, for each competition. 16 competed at each battle. We are hoping as the community grows and with each year, the talent will be more formidable. Beatboxers from previous events are also trying to help others grow and support each other. Some are learning through more research.  We also hold workshops and live video tutorials along in addition to the tutorials on our youtube channel.

How does the local community support you?

Locally, we received help from LMG Beats, Glitch, Ujjiban, ABC Radio, The Mothership, Jadughor, ShopHobe, BeatsBangla, Desi Hip Hop and many others. Tilok Adnan and Shafiq Alam of The Pod helped us build the Beatbox Bangladesh logo and the brand identity of “Battle Box BD”. The brand identity was even nominated at the Spikes Asia 2018

Battlebox BD also got international support. What kind of support was that and how was that?

It was overwhelming. We received support from two major hubs of the beatboxing community: Swissbeatbox and Humanbeatbox.com. Both Pepouni and Kazu from the respective communities have been supportive. They announced our work on their social media platforms and websites. Human beatbox followed both the battles; the breakdown was highlighted on their website. 

Other communities and crews have helped as well, namely Beatbox Australia, Beatbox France, Portuguese Beatbox and The Beatbox House. Professional beatboxers Napom (USA), Gene (USA), Amit (USA), Kenny Urban (USA), Chris Celiz (USA), Ibarra (Netherlands), Ettoman (Japan), D-koy (USA) and Tioneb (France), gave shout-outs or video messages on our Facebook page and Youtube page.

The local beatboxers get personal advice from beatboxers abroad. Amit (from the USA) was a judge at our first Battle Box BD in 2017. He also facilitated a workshop at the EMK Center in Dhanmondi. Soulrock from Germany is one of the first beatboxers to personally come and teach the local community.

Want to become a beatboxer? Moktadir Dewan, co-founder of Beatbox Bangladesh shares valuable advice
Scenes from Battle Box BD 2017

Any advice for someone who is interested in starting beatboxing?

Well, he or she has to be extremely patient. Initially, it might seem tough to make the distinctive sounds with your mouth. But, when it is done properly it becomes easy and quite fun. Beatboxers need to practice daily with a metronome no matter how good they may think they already are. We encourage the beatboxers to abstain from smoking or doing drugs. They must have good stamina and healthy lungs.

Any beatboxer needs to do research on the background of beatboxing and the origin of the sounds. She needs to learn about the instruments we mimic and try new sounds. Youtube and the internet exists, which means there is absolutely no excuses and plenty of resources to learn from.

Gather knowledge, stay humble. Teach what you know and learn what you don’t know. Bangladesh isn’t a place where one can chase fame just by beatboxing. But, things can and will happen if a beatboxer builds himself or herself, beat by beat, from the ground up.

What is next for Ronesh Biswas and Moktadir Dewan Shanto?

We will be busy with doing activities to help spread and build the beatboxing community around the country. We have found beatboxers in Bogura, Sylhet, Gazipur, Narayanganj, Cox’s Bazaar and are hoping to meet more in Barishal, Khulna, Rajshahi, and other places.

We will be uploading original compositions and shout-outs from participants of the battle, to our youtube channel. We hope to organize more beatboxer meet-ups, a 7toSmoke battle, friendly battles, open mic showcases, crew/tag-team performance, etc. 

Not just a clone: the Imagine Radio Story

It has been more than a full decade since Spotify revolutionized the music streaming industry, through their responsive app and it’s intuitive and intelligent A.I. Ever since, there have been no shortages of attempted replication of their success. Most of these have failed for one reason or another. We’ve had a couple of that right here in Bangladesh with Grameenphone and Robi attempting to launch their own music streaming apps. It’s safe to say they didn’t exactly catch the imagination of the intended audience as much as they had hoped.  So, the first impression of the average person of Imagine Radio is probably”Oh, another Spotify copycat.” But is it actually?

How Imagine Radio works

Firstly, the average Bangladeshi listener isn’t really familiar with the concept of Royalty fees or purchasing songs. Therefore the artists don’t receive the returns they deserve on the effort put into each song. In addition, it’s difficult for new bands to arrange record deals. Imagine Radio aims to give the artists a platform to distribute their songs directly to the audience. They boast a large selection, more than 10 million tracks of both local and international music, and plan to expand on the collection in the near future. Local artists will be paid a royalty fee for their songs on the app, which will be somewhat popularity oriented. The more popular a song is on the app, the larger the amount of royalty paid.

It will have unique features for musicians like per stream royalty, dedicated dashboards, audience analytics and marketing services. All of these services will be free. For the customers, Imagine radio will have custom made playlists targeted at specific moods, time periods and even the weather. It will also have a live aspect to it, as a selection of music will be played throughout the day on the app, sort of like a radio show. Many prominent musicians and bands like Nemesis, Feedback, Bappa Mozumder and Elita Karim have endorsed the app. And the general audience waits with bated breath for the app to reach the high potential it promises.

Does the model work in Bangladesh?

The point might be made that Mobile operators of our country tried a similar thing with GP Music and Robi/Airtel Yonder. And those weren’t the biggest hits. So is there really a demand for such an app in Bangladesh? If so, how can Imagine Radio hope to fill that demand where many others couldn’t?

There is certainly a demand for such a service in Bangladesh, as Spotify isn’t available here unless you own a premium account you made in another country. Music lovers clamor for an all-in-one music service like Spotify, and it is difficult to access it here. I spoke to an executive in Imagine Radio’s creative team, and he was of the belief that Grameenphone and Robi targeted too average a market to target their product at. They tried to generalize the market, which made for fewer opportunities for personal profiling. Imagine Radio targets a niche, urban social market. They mainly target the behavioral segment of the urban youth. In addition, they aim to have highly customizable profiles for each individual. No two people will have the exact same experience with the app, as it is oriented to make your experience as suited for you as possible. It is also to be mentioned that GP Music and Yonder tried to make the music platform very contained and partitioned. You needed a Grameenphone SIM to have access to GP Music and its contents, the same for Robi. The people at Imagine Radio hold the belief that music should be free. They want to spread music universally, without constraints. These things set them apart from their predecessors.

How is Imagine Radio any different?

It becomes important to separate your product from the one yours is often compared with. The fact remains that some people in Bangladesh still do use Spotify, with some form of workaround in play. Imagine Radio attempts to differentiate itself from Spotify in two key ways. Spotify doesn’t really evaluate Bangladesh as a potential market, hence it not being available here. Imagine Radio wants to make Bangladesh its primary target, with the added goals of distributing local music over the world and bringing international music here. In addition, opposed to Spotify’s AI generated playlist creation, the people at Imagine Radio believe something as subjective and emotional as music needs a human touch. As such, most of their available playlists are custom made by music enthusiasts and experts, adding a more personal touch to the product they offer. This also adds opportunites for targeting very specific and nuanced needs.

For example, they have a custom-made playlist for when one is stuck in traffic, as we tend to do that quite a lot. This is not to say that Imagine Radio execs do not acknowledge the need for an AI and a functional algorithm. In fact, they plan to implement an AI which will have twice as many information points as Spotify’s 6-8 to target specific moods, times, weather and other nuances. This also adds layers of content curation to their live aspect. The bottom line is Imagine Radio offers an intensely personal experience through their app, where you can listen to music curated to fit your every mood; be it uplifting music on the weekends or sad on a Sunday morning.

The ultimate goal

As stated by a representative, Imagine Radio is intended to be a cause driven project with two specific goals in mind in order to help Bangladeshi music. They want to spread Bangla music universally, and they want to create a platform for music and for musicians. It’s safe to assume a person from a foreign country won’t exactly go looking for Bangla music, so Imagine Radio brings the music to them. As mentioned before, they have adopted a very fair and rewarding royalty model for local artists. This serves to encourage the production of good music in Bangladesh greatly, as it is a convenient way to distribute music legally. Artists may choose to release new singles or albums through Imagine Radio as well. For International music, they use a third party distributor to stream quality music legally.

Imagine Radio adopts a Freemium model, according to the International standard unit. The free version has all the features of the app, while a premium version is set to be released over the next three quarters which will be free of ads and will contain other premium features. As of right now, their primary source of income is ad revenue.

Sounds promising!

In addition to the many music features and personalized experiences, Imagine Radio has a formidable line-up of podcasts and specials lined up; 14-15 of them in fact. They have held a Freddie Mercury special, hosting the late great Queen front’s best performances, his inspirations and parts of his story. They have a similar program called Legacy of Rock coming soon. It will be a 90-minute program with a host, with 10 minutes of the host explaining the story and background of the track to be played and music to fill the rest of the time slot. They look to adopt a “song and the story behind it” formula for some of these specials, which sounds very interesting to me. In conclusion, Imagine Radio holds an inconceivable amount of promise. And we look forward to it reaching the great heights it strives for.

Sodium Batir Gaan – changing the culture of open air music

If you ever roamed around the Dhaka University area you would notice how there is music everywhere you look. Whether you are in TSC or Curzon Hall or even in front of the Social Science Building, you will come across people singing and hanging out. This is an integral part of DU culture the stories of the vast diversity of people. The life of a Dhaka University music enthusiast is not half bad, we do have various shows but “…they do not capture the unique nature of music and diversity of the campus” says Yasin Shafi one of the organizers of Sodium Batir Gaan, a show wholly devoted to music. If you are a music lover in Dhaka you are familiar with concerts throughout the city like Rock Nation, Get Amped, Paradise City and much more which feature our favourite artists. In the process of this celebrity frenzy culture, we often forgot to look at smaller gigs that happen around the city, like Sodium Batir Gaan.

What is Sodium Batir Gaan?

On the 1st of November, TSC swimming pool was yet again flooding with music lovers because of another episode of ‘Sodium Batir Gaan’. This was the Fourth episode of season three that took place on that Thursday night. This is a series of shows, a brilliant initiative that has been taken by the students of DU to showcase the upcoming young artist and bands as well as providing a fantastic stage for the various student performers. The whole show has a very DIY vibe to it, starting from venue selection to arranging and procuring all the necessary instruments, all are arranged by the students and the funding is raised by them as well. So the idea is “to keep bringing new, talented, aspiring artists in front of the brilliant crowd. That way these new bands and artists have new fans and the people get to have a great time” says the organizer.

Sodium Batir Gan-HiFi Public

Why the name Sodium Batir Gaan you say?

The name comes from the idea of friends and peers gathered under the old sodium streetlights in the Dhaka University campus area and singing and hanging out until the wee hours of the night. Now the name more meaningfully signifies the sense that like the sodium lights the show is welcoming to all who flock from all over the city to be a part of it. And being an open concert it does serve its purpose well with its metaphoric connotations.

Who performed on this episode?

This episode started with the band Chitropot known for their fusion style. They play among genres like alternative, indie, folk. The second act was Tama Tama, who performed some very popular tracks mostly consisting of cover songs. Later “The Avishek Battacharge Project” mesmerized the crowd with their energetic and experimental performance. The popular alt-rock band Blue Jean performed many of their own tracks such as the very popular Kodom, as well as performing a number of cover songs. The night ended with Chalk and Cheese a relatively new band focusing on genres like funk and rock. With the recent passing of Bangladeshi music icon Ayub Bacchu, most of the performers also paid tribute by covering a handful of his songs. A candlelit vigil was also done to commemorate the iconic artist by the organizer as well as the crowd.

Sodium Batir Gan-HiFi Public

Why you should visit at least once!

In the past Sodiums, well-known bands and singers were present as the headliners too. For instance, Meghdol, Shohojia, Karnival, Owned were some of the highlights from the previous shows. Furthermore, this is unlike your typical rock show and hosts a wide array of genres on display for its audiences. So if you still haven’t been in one of them yet, next time do drop by. Sodium Batir Gaan will definitely meet your music fix.

The ultimate breakup playlist for the broken hearted

Breakups are hard.

Maybe you were together for months, or maybe it was an undeniable flame that went out after 3 weeks. No matter what the relationship dynamics were, letting go of a person and all the memories associated with them can be a daunting work. And if you are not careful, you can fall off the wagon and it could lead to an on-again, off again relationship. You do not want that in your life, because those are a recipe for disaster.

There are a lot of ways you can get through a breakup. Getting into a rebound relationship is one of them. But if you truly want to heal, then you will have to take some time for yourself, and rip off the band-aid. And it hurts. No matter how much we sugarcoat it, it hurts. And all you can think of is how you can numb the pain. But what you have to understand is, you need to let it hurt, and in time, it will subside.

But what can you do in the meantime? Alcohol and drugs can seem like a solution, but they are not. Turn to music instead. Listen to the playlist we have compiled for you. There are 20 songs here, and we believe this will help you get through those long, lonely nights.

20. Where’s my love- SMYL

Listen to this song in the first few weeks. You will relate to it, maybe you will cry. Or maybe you will burn a few more cigarettes than necessary. But at the same time, it will be soothing to know that you are not the only one to be feeling what you are feeling.

19. Oh well, okay- Elliot Smith

Getting broken up with comes with a lot of confusion. This song will help you articulate that feeling.

18. The trapeze swinger- Iron and Wine

You’re miserable. You go over and over again on the good times, and the bad times, and you just hope that they don’t forget you when they find someone else. You will definitely relate to this song.

17. Hard Feelings- Lorde

You know there is nothing called an “amicable breakup”. Every time, someone gets hit harder than the other one. If you are that one, this one is for you.

16. Six degrees of separation- The Script

You are desperately trying come to terms with the breakup. Of course, this isn’t how you pictured to the relationship to end. You are trying to find closure, and trust me, my friend, you will.

15. Feel so low- Porcupine Tree

If you need a little reminder of why the end is a good thing, this is the song for you.

14. Already gone- Sleeping at last

If you’re starting to accept the end, then listen to this one.

13. Silhouettes of you- Isaac Gracie

At some point, you will start getting tired of feeling down all the time just because someone else didn’t want to put in the same effort in a relationship like you did. This song is precisely for that point. Listen to it, and you will know.

12. You’re somebody else- flora cash

With this song, remind yourself that they weren’t the same person that you fell in love with. Gather up the courage to admit that you are only clinging onto a memory, and sometimes it is better to let go than to hold on.

11. Ayahuasca- Vancouver Sleep Clinic

In the process of getting over someone, you will feel fear, confusion, exhaustion and a lot of other mixed emotions. You will feel lost and overwhelmed. Let VSC help you through that time. You will figure out how to fix this. Just hold on.

10. Snap out of it- Arctic Monkeys

There are times you will feel like reaching out to them. DO NOT DO THAT. Put this one on full volume, and dance along until you don’t want to call them anymore.

09. I’ll still have me- CYN

This is where you stop becoming bitter and start believing that you will be okay. You will always have you, so probably you should start loving yourself a little more. That is the message this song holds.

08. Love will set you free- Kodaline

At this point, we hope you have found some solace in the fact that some things simply have to end and you can’t do anything about it. You are ready to move on, you are ready to face the world again. And this song is perfect to celebrate that occasion.

07. I will survive- Gloria Gaynor

Yes, you will, my friend.

06. Poison and Wine- The Civil wars

Listen to this wistful track when nostalgia hits. But remember, never go back to what broke you.

05. Raindrops keep falling on my head- B. J. Thomas

At this point, you are actually positive that things are going to be alright. Treat yourself to this song whenever those “raindrops” start falling on your head. The sun is not far behind.

04. Here comes the sun- The Beatles

Life is starting to get better, isn’t it?

03. Never going back again- Fleetwood Mac

Every time you feel the urge to go back to your ex because they are familiar, listen to this song. Promise yourself that you will treat yourself better, and you will let someone better into your life. Promise yourself that you won’t keep running in circles.

02. You’ll be okay- A Great Big World

All along, you’ve told yourself that you’ll be okay. Now let this great band tell you the same thing with different wording. Try to keep yourself open. Don’t be just another person too scarred and too scared to love again.

1. In between love- Tom Waits

You’re hopeful about love again. You accept that unexpected things happen if you let yourself stay open. Great song to listen to if you’re crushing on somebody, and the feeling is mutual.

So there you go, my friend. We believe in you. Stay strong.

Cheers.

Why you need Iron and Wine in your life

One of my very favorite writer Hans Christian Andersen once said, “When words fail, music speaks.” I have never come across another quote that captures the essence of music more accurately. Music is supposed to be the way you communicate with another when regular, mundane words simply cannot get the message across. Music is also the way a lot of artists express their feelings, and in the process, they help us peasants to express our innermost longings. That is why some music will stand the test of time, and others won’t.

Iron and Wine?

If you are not familiar with Iron and Wine, let me give you a little bit of context. A regular child named Samuel Beam born and raised in South Carolina decided to explore his musical talents when a friend lent him a recorder. He had been writing songs long before that, but he didn’t start making demos until he got his hands on the recorder. Just the story of any other indie artist, right? Why is he different?

Iron and Wine is a different singer because of the depth of his lyrics. You can’t listen to an Iron and Wine track and get the meaning right away. You have to listen to it repetitively, think about it, and ponder on what was going on his mind when he came up with such beautiful profound lyrics. And no two people will agree on what he means.

Songs

Take “Jezebel”, for instance. Look up the lyrics. What does it make you feel? What is he talking about?

Jezebel was a character from the Hebrew Bible. She was depicted as a villainous queen who would stop at nothing to get what she wanted. But in the song, did the artist only talk about this biblical character? Or was he indicating to a deeper problem, like victim blaming? Or was the Jezebel in the song was just a promiscuous lady who kept the narrator hanging? Listen to it. Think about it.

Take “The Trapeze Swinger” instead. Is the narrator simply begging to be remembered by a lost love? Or is he begging to be remembered because he is about to embrace death and he doesn’t want to melt into oblivion? Or is he already dead, and looking upon the people that he left behind? Iron and wine makes us question each sentence, each phrase of his songs. If that isn’t his success as an artist, I don’t know what it is.

Have you heard “Flightless bird, American mouth?” What is he looking for over different lives? Is it a person? Maybe it’s something he lost when he was a “quick-wit boy”? Is it a particular feeling? You cannot help but wonder, can you?

Don’t get me wrong, not all of his songs are as confusing. He takes the banalest scenes from human life and turns them into intricate, meaningful art. Songs like “Such great heights”, “Naked as we came”, “Each coming night”, “Sodom, South Georgia”, or “Upward over the mountain” are quite simple songs that talk about usual interactions and human feelings. But the wording is just so beautiful. It sparks certain reactions from you, and that is why Iron and Wine should be an integral part of your daily playlist.

You need to start listening today

So try his songs out. Turn out the lights, get a cup of coffee, and get lost in the beauty that is all around us. Sometimes it is a little hard to see those without a little nudge. Let Iron and Wine nudge you to that direction.

Peace.

A letter of goodbye to Ayub Bachchu

Dear AB,

I don’t remember the first time I heard your voice. Don’t remember the first song I heard from you. I don’t know when I first heard the name LRB, and I don’t know anything about the struggle you had to go through to become the legendary figure you are today. But I know this- I can recognize your voice anywhere, even when I was just a 5-year-old kid who could not understand anything that you sang about. But your songs and your voice have been a part of me for as long as I can remember. As a matter of fact, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know how to sing Cholo Bodle Jai. Isn’t it amazing how you touched a little girl’s heart, along with a million others?

I am not good at goodbyes, especially the sudden ones. If I knew that you were hospitalized for a couple of weeks, I would be more prepared for your departure. I would get ready to say goodbye if I knew you were battling a disease. But you didn’t give us any time. And you must know how heartbreaking it is when you wake up one day, and someone you love just isn’t there anymore. You must have known how it feels to go on, pretending that nothing affects you. If you did not, how did you come up with those incredible tunes that will resonate over multiple generations?

Ayub Bacchu

শিল্পীঃ মিতা মেহেদী

But I am not angry at you for going away so suddenly. You gave us so much. Your songs helped millions of people overcome their pain. Your creations helped me through a lot of long nights, and I can’t be the only one. You knew the volatility of human existence, and you tried to make the most of it by giving back as much as you could. So, all I can feel is this deep sense of gratification because you gave us so much, and in return, we are giving you a part of our childhood.

So, thank you for everything, dear AB. Thank you for deciding to pick up a guitar. For starting your own band. Thank you for pouring your heart and soul into each song you made. Thank you for inspiring thousands of people to pursue a career in music. For making us cry, and laugh, and feel understood. Thank you for giving us something to bond over. You know how people are- we always fight. But today, we all collectively mourn your departure, and we thank you for being worthy of all this love. You are a true legend, and my heart breaks for the generation who will never know how it felt to watch you LIVE.

I hope that there is something after death because a mere flat line on a screen cannot be the end of you. You are much bigger, and I hope wherever you are, you have a silver guitar there. That way you will never have to part with your Rupali guitar.

Stay well, wherever you are. I hope to catch a show of yours there.

Love,
A little girl who grew up with your words.