When I interviewed Junoon for the Dhaka International Folk Fest, the legendary Sufi rockers had asked me, “How is Miles doing? Are they still around?” Such is the greatness of one of Bangladesh’s pioneering bands, Miles. The juggernauts of the industry are set to celebrate their 40th anniversary on December 24 at International Convention City Bashundhara (ICCB).
Coincidentally, that is the same day Artcell, the biggest rock band of the generation, will celebrate 20 years of their Pothchola. Their concert will take place at ICCB’s Expo Zone.
Amidst many speculations about why the concerts will take place on the same day, in the same venue, the bands broke the ice with an informal get-together at a restaurant in the capital. “There is, in no way, any animosity between us and Miles, we have always looked up to them,” said Lincoln, Artcell’s vocalist and riff guitarist. It was difficult, during the meet up, to get a serious conversation going, as the band members were constantly engaging in funny banters – a clear indication of the mutual respect and adoration between the two.
“As it is, it is very difficult to get a venue in these busy months,” said Miles’ vocalist Hamin Ahmed, “We only got to know that Artcell’s concert was on the same date after our plans with our organisers were finalised.”
The musicians, however, took the coincidence positively. “This is a tremendous opportunity to witness two of the biggest Bangladeshi bands performing in parallel venues,” said Shaju, Artcell’s drummer. “We, ourselves are planning a tribute to Miles by covering one of their numbers.”
The members of Miles have long acted as mentors for Artcell, who have grown into staples of the Bangladeshi music industry today. December 24 is going to be a date that is speculated to return listeners to the era of regular ticketed concerts, a much needed step in the right direction.
20 Years of Artcellism is being organised by Asiatic EXP, whereas Windmill is arranging the Miles 40 Years Anniversary Celebrations concert.