Classics Reimagined | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 15, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:25 AM, March 08, 2015

Classics Reimagined

Classics Reimagined

Our war for independence was a time when people of all ages and backgrounds united under one flag. There were many unsung heroes who remained behind the scenes, but lent their voices to encourage the freedom fighters and a nation under siege. Yes, I'm talking about the musicians whose revolutionary music reminded the fighters time and again what their aim was, be it through the Shadhin Bangla Betar Kendro, or by going from camp to camp and meeting the freedom fighters and refugees in person.
The ability of the musicians to compose inspirational lyrics and tunes in the face of such atrocities to keep the spirit of independence high speaks of their courage and love for this country. Just think about the song “Joy Bangla”. Powerful lyrics and high spirited tune as such was what kept the resistance alive. In fact, songs from those distressed times still inspire Bangladeshi musicians today. Throughout the years, many bands have paid homage to the veterans by making their own renditions of the songs.
Take Artcell, for example, who created a hard rock version of Kazi Nazrul Islam's “Kandari Hushiar”, the lyrics of which still has the power to charge up anybody. Not only that, Artcell executed it in a brilliant way, maintaining the spirit of the original song with the powerful vocals while introducing some killer solos. The same can be said about a rendition of another Nazrul classic “Chol Chol Chol” made by various artists of the Musicians Alliance earlier this year. The drum and guitar works of that track, paired with the voices singing in unison, invoke a sense unity for bringing about a positive change.
On the other hand, Brigade 71 has an entire album of songs from that era, titled “The Echoes of 71”. While it contains soft and emotional acoustic songs like Apel Mahmood's “Mora Ekti Phool Ke Bachabo Bole Juddho Kori”, the album also sees the likes of adrenaline-pumping songs such as “Tir Hara Ei Dheuer Shagor”. The band's attempt at covering popular songs from 1971 is laudable.
Another song that needs a special mention is Khiyo's acoustic rendition of Bangladesh's national anthem, “Amar Shonar Bangla”. After the song's release, many criticised it, terming it “a travesty”. Khiyo refuted such accusations, claiming it was a sincere attempt at reinterpreting Tagore's patriotic song. Regardless of the controversy, I can assure you that the cover is very potent, and can give you goosebumps. The slow-pace and serenity of the song make you recall all those times during the school assembly when you had to listen to lacklustre, half-hearted renditions of the national anthem and wonder why.
Music has the power to inspire and unite. The war-time songs are a part of our heritage now. There are many artists of our generation I haven't mentioned here who show their respect towards the musical heroes of '71 by making covers of the latter's songs. Often older generations do not appreciate this, as they think remaking of songs of '71 is in bad taste. But every once in a while, a covered song reminds us about the ferocity of the war, and magnifies our patriotism. Kudos to the contemporary musicians for being a medium -- connecting us to the original revolutionary songs that inspired the bravehearts fighting for an independent Bangladesh.

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