The Dhaka Lit Fest comes to a close on Saturday (November 19) at the Bangla Academy, with what promises to be a pulsating, yet touching musical performance. Shikor, the Bangladeshi folk super-group, will close the three-day literary festival with a tribute to the late Abdur Rob Fakir, one of the most revered folk bards of our times.
What’s quite unfortunate is that Shikor, as a band, is far less than the sum of its members. Names like Jalal, Nazrul and Baby Dewan (alias Baby Akher) are very familiar names among connoisseurs of folk music, but not many people know of their combined musical endeavor. Shikor was formed -- as Shikor Bangladesh All Stars -- last year for a performance in UK’s famous Songlines Festival and the Womad Festival, which claims to be the UK’s biggest festival of world music. Which Rob Fakir was a founding member of, had received rave reviews at the festival in 2015, but has largely remained an unknown name in the mainstream Bangladeshi music scene. Along with Nazrul, the inimitable dhol player and the incredibly talented flautist Jalal, the band is backed by seasoned musicians Biju, Makhon and Mokaddes, playing the ektara, violin and dotara respectively. Baby Dewan (who also happens to be Nazrul’s better half), the powerhouse folk vocal completes the core of the band.
Their brand of music stays true to our folk traditions with entirely acoustic, authentic instruments, with their dedication to the craft and essence making it distinct. In their first performance since the passing of Rob Fakir, the band will pay tribute to their late band member in their set at the Bottola stage, featuring two young folk talents, Bhajan and Nupur.