Jatra Biroti, Banani in the capital has become a regular converging point of a large multi-cultural and multilingual audience that comes together for freewheeling musical performances. Popular singer-activist and the owner of Jatra, Anusheh Anadil, spoke to The Daily Star about the musical rendezvous, as she shared her musical spirit, artistic vision and regular arrangements of musical performances at the venue.
In the words of Anusheh:
“The musical journey at Jatra happened spontaneously and was not pre-planned. We just opened the place for musical shows in November last year. Initially, we would arrange programmes on Fridays. Open microphone was the feature of the event. Someone would perform music, recite poems, rap, do puppet shows, magic and more. Now we are arranging programmes on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. We organise Bangla songs like folk music, Rabindra Sangeet, Nazrul Sangeet or even original songs on Thursdays. Fridays still offer open microphone to promising artistes, bands and soloists while electro-acoustic jam session is the featured highlight on Saturdays. The arrangement is quite interesting as many accomplished musicians of Bangladesh come here to play music. Someone with saxophone, esraj or ghatam join the jamming session. Jatra Biroti promotes a free spirit of music in the place where artistes and musicians are only too happy for the chance of a platform.
“Many foreigners join the programme. The other day, a Malaysian performed in his mother tongue. A Japanese artiste played one of his traditional folk instruments at the event. We, the Dhakaiites, have nothing much to do, nowhere to hang out. We are a bit frustrated as well. What's really good is that the place has become a hub of music lovers within months. Music is a kind of relief.
“Artists and musicians are somehow connected to each other. The place has so far helped create many music bands. As music lovers come here regularly, the ambience has been created automatically. It is relaxing indeed. There is a tea stall -cum - herbal restaurant upstairs. Opposite the stage there is a wooden structured meditation room. The roof of the room is made of bamboo. I am just happy with the place, ambience and positive energy. For me, musicians don't like formality.
Quoting Tagore excerpts “…Jara Kotha Chhere Bajaye Shudhu Sur, Tader Shobar Sur-e Shobai Mele Nikot Hotey Dur…” the artiste reminded of Bhab-er Jogot (the realm of introspection) that speaks of deep melodic connection with souls.
“Musicians don't see separation. You may call it unity in diversity. Jatra has an inseparable bonding with music. We arrange folk music performances every Thursday at every Jatra outlet. I personally think that a rebirth of Baul songs has occurred in our country. Many Bangladeshi artistes are performing and popularising Baul songs worldwide. A band called 'Pandora' performed the genre here. We also performed in our studio. Now we have brought music to the open air upstairs,” concluded the artiste.
This week, Bhabnagar Foundation will present folk music today, fusion ensemble Gaan Pagol will be the showcase tomorrow, while Saturday's electro-acoustic session will feature Turkish musician Don Donadoni and the Speakeasy project.