The Covid-19 pandemic rendered the music industry into disarray for the first few months, one which it tried hard to fight back. Even though the year is musical activities were largely limited to online releases and 'live' concerts on social media, we did see a number of notable releases from artistes.
The announcement of renewed activities from Bangladesh Lyricist, Composers and Performers Society (BLCPS) to ensure artistes' intellectual property rights was a welcome one.
An initiative was taken by the government to preserve 272 songs by legendary musician and LRB frontman Ayub Bachchu.
Eminent singer Sabina Yasmin expanded on her illustrious career by debuting a music director in the film "Ei Tumi Shei Tumi".
Minar Rahman's "Keu Kotha Rakheni", released in January, has received 1.5 crore views, and is one of the highlights of the year. "Tui Ki Amar Hobi Re", a duet by Imran Mahmudul and Kona from the film "Bishwo Shundori", is also a highlight of the year, with more than 3 crore views.
One of the fastest rising stars in the industry, Pritom Hasan went from strength to strength with his music. "Bhenge Porona Ebhabe" was an unexpected and heart-wrenching ballad that won over the audience with its beautiful presentation. It was unlike anything that the usually flamboyant Pritom had done before.
Tanjib Sarowar crossed the 10-million mark with his hit single, "Dube Dube", while "Sa Re Ga Ma Pa" famed star Mainul Ahsan Noble impressed thoroughly in the latter half of the year with the release of "Ovinoy".
Near the end of the year, eminent music composer Prince Mahmud collaborated with Tanjir Tuhin to release "Alo", a chilling and beautiful song about the uncertainty of life in this pandemic.
Up and coming musicians made their presence felt throughout the year. Shonar Bangla Circus released their album "Hyena Express" earlier this year, earning a cult-hit status among the fans. Farooque Bhai Project released his EP, "Gin Bhoot Tonic", further solidifying his spot as one of the most sought-after indie musicians. Conclusion's "Auroop:Nirakar" was also released to much fanfare.
Amidst a comparatively quiet for the band music industry, established bands like Nemesis, Shironamhin, and Meghdol released "Cafeteria Periye", "Tumi, Ami o Bhor" and "Tobu Mon". Towards the end of the year, shows started to pop up sporadically around the country. Notably, Nemesis hosted one for an early peek at the "Gonojowar" music video this month, with astounding success. Small venues like Jatra Biroti, Bookworm and L'espresso also opened their doors, albeit with precautions, to regular shows.
A musical controversy that was the most discussed this year was the release of Chanchal Chowdhury and Meher Afroz Shaon's rendition of "Shorboto Mongol Radhe", composed by Partha Barua. The song had to be taken down from YouTube, as band Sorolpur claimed copyright to it. Debate is still going on based on the merits of the copyright.
2020 was also the year of losses, as we had to bid adieu to some of our most beloved musicians. In May, singer, composer and music director Azad Rahman passed away. He was known for his masterpieces including "Jonmo Amar Dhonno Holo", "Bhalobashar Mullo Koto", "Moner Ronge Rangabo", among many others.
Legendary singer Andrew Kishore lost his battle to cancer in July. He will forever be remembered for his playback, with songs like, "Daak Diyachen Doyal Amare", "Bhalobeshe Gelam Shudhu", "Amar Shara Deho Kheyo Go Mati", "Amar Buker Moddhekhane", "Hayre Manush Rongin Fanush", "Bhengeche Pinjor Meleche Dana", among hundreds of other memorable tracks/
Alauddin Ali passed away in August. The incomparable music director scored over 300 films throughout his illustrious career. The 8-time National Award Winner's greatest work is considered to be for films "Golapi Ekhon Train E", "Koshai", "Shundori" and "Jogajog", among others, for which he won the National Award for Best Music Director, as well as Best Lyricist.
Salim Khan, proprietor of one of the country's leading audio production company, passed away this month. In the 80's and 90's, Sangeeta was responsible for the flourishing music industry, with "Produced by Salim Khan" being a hallmark on cassettes of that era.
Even though 2020 is considered to be a year of loss and uncertainty, the music industry's efforts to adapt and improvise is heartening. Heading into a fresh start, musicians are eagerly waiting to make the most of 2021.