A Tribute to the Legend: Ayub Bachchu

October 18th 2019 marks the one-year death-anniversary of one of the most influential musicians and guitarists of Bangladesh: Ayub Bachchu. On October 19th, a small group of us locals from Ottawa, Canada will be performing in, and executing a live event to celebrate the life and music of this great Bangladeshi music legend at the Kailash Mital Theatre at Carleton University in Ottawa. This will be an evening of live music and anecdotes; performing many popular and crowd-favourite songs by LRB/Bachchu, and sharing fond memories of musical influences and experiences.

This is also going to be a charity concert where all proceeds from ticket sales will be going to The Rudhro Prince Hope Foundation for the purpose of research and cure to Asthma.

The foundation was created by one of our dear community members/friend and his family who have lost their 8-year-old child to Asthma last year.

It is true that Ayub Bachchu and LRB’s music has one way or the other influenced many generations of Bangladeshis of all ages, and has touched us in different ways; whether you are rocking out to songs like Gotokaal Raate, or a broken heart finding comfort in listening to Ferari Mon, or a group friends singing aloud together Cholo Bodley Jai (Shei Tumi) by the campfire.

Our event – “A Tribute to the Legend: Ayub Bachchu” is about remembering these moments, and keeping his music alive, and having loads of fun doing so in the form of a rock show.

Even though cultural programs and musical shows are not uncommon, we are proud to say that this event is going to be the first of its kind in the Ottawa area; where a rock concert of this genre is being arranged and is set to be performed by local Bangladeshis in the Bengali community.  And we are all truly super excited about it. However, it is not without its challenges. Being the first show of its kind poses major challenges like creating exposure, inciting excitement and eagerness, and capturing a target audience.

As of now, the Ottawa Bangladeshi community has been more accustomed to mellow fusion cultural shows exhibiting softer folk music and plays; and we are aiming to bring to life – the side of people that want to let loose, cheer loud, get up and shake and dance, and rock out.

Our small team of organizers (who are also performers) are working tirelessly day and night for months juggling the music practice, marketing, media creation, and ticket sales. We have been working very hard in creating exposure by talking to people through countless phone calls, reaching out to community leaders, and also attending and speaking at the Carleton University Bangladeshi Students Association (CUBSA)’s get-together event in hopes of capturing the young music lovers. So far we have had great responses.

We have even received personalized video messages and well-wishes from a handful of Bangladeshi celebrities addressing our upcoming show. Celebrities who have shared a few words for us include: Fuad Muqtadir (artist of popular “Nitol Paaey”), Bangladeshi rock band Vikings, Rashed Uddin Ahmed Topu (musician, songwriter and composer of the popular band Yaatri), Sabila Nur (television actress and model), Ashfaqul Bari Rumon (Lead guitarist and vocalist of the band Parthibo), Chandan Zaman Ali (lead vocal and guitarist from the band Winning) – all of which videos have been posted and shared on our Facebook event page.

We are very blessed and thankful to have the kind of support we have receiving. And we are looking forward to a successful and more importantly, a very fun show.

About myself

I (Omar Sharif/Duke) will be playing lead guitar in our show. This imposes a lot of pressure on me. By that I mean, I must strive to stay as true as I can to Ayub Bachchu’s music and song compositions. Ayub Bachchu was widely known as a guitar maestro of Bangladesh; and LRB’s songs are composed of a variety of intricate, melodious, and screaming guitar solos. As you can imagine, fans listening to Ayub Bachchu’s songs and going to his shows look forward to his Guitar work and performance; and in some cases, these are the highlights of the songs.

Growing up in Bangladesh as an aspiring guitarist who mostly plays as a hobby, I have been influenced by Ayub Bachchu’s music and guitar playing at many levels; and as a musician, you get to learn a lot from playing and practising LRB songs in improving musical knowledge and guitar skills.

I remember back in Grade 6 when I was maybe 13 or 14 years old, our school (The Aga Khan School) arranged a rock concert to take place in which LRB/Ayub Bachchu was to be one of the headlining bands. And this was before I ever even started playing the guitar. After seeing that show, I immediately went and bought the LRB double album which came out at that time – Bishsho Amader. I used to listen to that album back-to-back so many times and imagine myself playing guitar solos like those. That show really did influence me into wanting to pick up a guitar.
Fast forward another 2 or 3 years, in grade 8, my mother found me a guitar teacher; and I became the “great-grand student” of Ayub Bachchu (my teacher’s teacher’s teacher I believe was the maestro himself). When I was learning to play the guitar, my curriculum even included a couple of LRB songs that were given to me to learn as part of an assignment. One of those songs became one of my all-time-favourite Ayub Bachchu songs; and at this show, I will be proudly performing Ghumonto Shohore.

Later in life priorities changed, I moved to Canada with my family and had to start a whole new life here; and in the midst of it all, Guitar and music became something left and forgotten like a relic. I lost years of practice and interest and my guitar was collecting dust.

I would rarely pick up the guitar and play it once in a while, but nothing that would keep me in practice and keep up my chops, and I hadn’t been on stage in over a decade. Till now, when talks of arranging an Ayub Bachchu tribute concert started, and by word of mouth, when my name came up as a potential performer, I was asked to join. This was a huge motivating factor for me to pick up my guitar again and practice hard to deliver the best performance this show and the musical legend deserves. I am very excited myself, and I am very much looking forward to delivering something even the audience will feel proud of being a part of. 

Our core performers/musicians and Organizers:

5 relatively underrated musicians you should try

Music is a soothing aspect of almost everyone’s life. It can be anything one needs at any point in time. A safe haven, a serene escape or a blazing motivator; these are just a few of the things music can be to a person. Discovering music new to one is often one of the greater joys a person can feel at a particular moment. Due to the busy life most of us lead, the magic of discovering music is lost to many. To help you find new music that can speak to your soul, here’s a few recent musicians/bands that might have flown under your radar. 

Read more: Great Bangladeshi bands that disappeared after their debut album

Eida

Suggested Tracks: Nightdriver, What it means

Eida can no longer be considered underrated. They are a local band, consisting of a few university students with a great collective (and individual) sense of humour; evident by the name. Their music, in simple terms, is akin to modern dream-pop and retro wave with influences from 1975, Gorillaz and even The Strokes.

But from a more curious perspective, Eida’s music is much more. This group of talented musicians are not afraid to experiment and wouldn’t limit themselves to any specific genre. Their tracks invoke a very melancholic mood, and it is well worth giving them a try.

Chitropot

Suggested Tracks: Shondha Hole

Another local group. I found these guys off a random YouTube autoplay. Their music closely resembles fusion, in that they use a curious combination of instruments. But again, you shouldn’t fit things in a box. Very simplistic tone, vocal performance and the sheer emotion make them worth checking out.

Mitski

Suggested: Be the Cowboy (Yes, the entire album)

An American singer-songwriter, Mitski emphasizes creativity and experimentation in her work. Be The Cowboy is her 5th and latest album; she self-released the first two. This album received critical acclaim upon release and sets itself apart from contemporary pop music and music in general. The artist has designed the album with very short tracks, but each track invokes emotion and tries to get a point across. I suggest taking some time with this album, it is truly spectacular.

Oblique

Suggested track: Krishnopokkho, Bhondo

Not much introduction is needed for local Rock band Oblique, after the success of Aloron last year. They have been around since 2007 and are known for their use of unconventional, thought inducing and emotional lyrics. Rumour is that they are about to release a new single. So go ahead and check out their work.

Courtney Barnett

Suggested Track: Need a little time, Sunday Roast

The Australian singer-songwriter has a very loyal following. Her lyrics are embedded with witty humour and delivered with a dry, deadpan singing style. The combination is usually hilarious, emotional and curious at the same time. The best way to describe the emotion her music invokes would be; it encourages you to get to know the singer better. It enforces the need to delve deeper into her work, and that is possibly the best thing any music can do for its creator. Try out her recent album “Tell me how you really feel”, and please do.

Most of the time the reason for detachment to enjoying music is a rut.

All you might need is a little help with getting out of the said rut and finding the joy in music again. So take these musicians as a start to discovering music and musicians again, and let us know about the less known musicians you enjoy.

Looking back at the pioneering bands of Bangladesh

Bangladeshi bands have come a long way since the inception of rock here in the mid to late ’60s. They have transcended generations, musical genres and have firmly made their way into mainstream media. Their incredible popularity among the people of the country can be seen in most music festivals and concerts that are organized here.

Although the younger demographic is the majority to follow such music, there are many acts from older generations that garner a huge fan following to this day.  So we’ll be turning back time, to revisit some of Bangladesh’s earliest and most influential pioneers of band music.

Read more: Great Bangladeshi bands that disappeared after their debut album

Zinga

Zinga was the first documented musical group of Bangladesh or East Pakistan back then. The band was originally formed in 1963 by a group of young students from Chittagong Government College.  Zinga’s music journey started as an Orchestra Band in Bangladesh which later became the first pop group. The group was the first to incorporate western musical instruments such as Drums, Guitar, Grand Piano, etc. to modernize traditional Bangla Tunes by Tagore and Kazi Nazrul Islam.

Uchharon

The contribution and legacy of Azam Khan and his band Uchharon is quite unparallel in Bangladesh’s history. He and his band are called the Pioneer of Bangladeshi rock music. Their smash hits such as, ‘rail liner oi bostite’, ‘Alal o Dulal’, and ‘Saleka Maleka’ were huge to the point that they are still regularly getting radio play. Azam Khan passed away on June 2011 from oral cancer.

Souls

Souls was formed in Chittagong in 1972. They are considered as the most important band in Bangladeshi rock and roll. They were influenced by the music of The Beatles. In 1980, they released their debut album Super Souls, which was one of the first albums to be released by a music group in Bangladesh. There are still active to this day and is one of the most popular musical groups in the country.

Rock Strata

Rock Strata was one of the most influential bands to introduce and play heavy metal in Bangladesh. Alongside Warfaze, they have laid the foundation for many to today’s Bangladeshi heavy metal bands. Breaking up shortly after their first album, they reunited and also produce and released their second album on 2014. There are also the first to premier their live concert ‘One Last Live’ at Star Cineplex on September 2018.

The Era of LRB, Arc and Nagar Baul

The ’90s saw a huge boom in terms of great bands and great music being produced here in Bangladesh. And the three rock bands: Ayub Bachchu’s LRB, Jame’s Nagar Baul (formerly Feelings) and Hasan’s Arc, were at the centre of it.

These three uber-successful bands firmly established rock bands into the mainstream media with their immense popularity and were called Bangladesh’s ‘Big three of Rock’.

It’s quite difficult to imagine Bangladesh’s music scene without these three bands.

Read more: Trainwreck: The Bangladeshi metal band that rocked Wacken

Honourable Mention: 

Along with the bands mentioned above, the following bands have also played their part in developing Bangladesh’s music scene. They are The Windy Side of Care, Spondon, Feedback, Miles, Different Touch, Aurthohin, Dalchhut, Warfaze, Cryptic Fate, Black, Artcell, Arbovirus and Nemesis.