Porobashi may not be the most familiar of band names even to the serious music listeners of Dhaka, but one look at the line-up will draw their attention: featuring Buno (from Bangla) on guitars, Bart (from Ajob), Nazrul on Dhol and Pantha Kanai on drums, along with Victor (or guitars) and Sumel (on vocals) -- the two original members of what used to be known as “Shunno” in the early 2000s -- Porobashi packs quite the punch.
The band performed on Wednesday (January 21) at the EMK Centre in Dhanmondi, to a small but engaging crowd.
Sumel sang mostly his own songs, vividly portraying a wide range of emotions in his booming, folksy voice. Opening with “Ami Bhabi Jare, Paina Go Tare”, he went on to sing beautiful melodies in “Baul Ami”, “Dur Porobashe”, “Oporadhi Hoileo Ami Tor”, “Akash Bhora Hajar Tara”, “Shorisha Phool”, “Gorib”, “Phaguner Matal Hawa” and “Taito Pagol”, along with SD Burman's “Mon Dilo Na Bodhu” and “Shono Go Dokhino Hawa”, a Gopal Goshai song “Ami Jodi Duiba Mori” that Sumel had sung in the film “Dub Shatar”, and a folk song from North Bengal “Ekkhan Shuta Katabo”. Ranging from melancholy to yearning to romance to upbeat and flirty and unencumbered, they took the audience on an emotional ride. The lyrical depth of Porobashi's music struck a few chords with the audience, along with the musicians' smooth playing. Buno, in particular, was in his zone, playing out bluesy improvised solos and using a range of effect pedals and finger sliders. Pantha Kanai, in tandem with Nazrul, also swayed the tempo and mood of the audience, as Victor and Bart held the tunes together. For the last song, Labik Kamal Gourob, who was in the audience, played guitar, and was persuaded into singing a song himself by the band. He sang one of his favourite songs, “Loha re Banaila Kancha Shona” to close the evening.