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     Volume 4 Issue 70 | November 11, 2005 |

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A Befitting Tribute to John Denver

Imran H. Khan

MUSIC is an emotion. As one music lover points out on the net, "Music is the thing that can bind everyone. You don't need to understand the words the person or anything about the composer of the music but you can easily understand his or her feeling from the music he or she creates."

Frankly speaking, I have yet to find someone who is in love with music but has not listened to John Denver, the U.S. country and pop music phenomenon who passed away October 12, 1997. In his long list of fans, one name might seem familiar to the music lovers of Bangladesh. His name is Sumon and in his new album Megher Deshe from G-Series, he pays homage to the great musician and the idol he found in John Denver.

Megher Deshe is what Sumon describes as his 'dream project'. Almost two years in the making, this album found its way into music stores last month. Sumon has always been moved by Denver's music and it was his music that influenced Sumon to go into mainstream music. As a 'thank you' to Denver, Sumon always wanted to create something for his idol…something that would speak Denver's heart but in another language. "I wanted to remake his songs and speak his language," says Sumon, "John Denver's music has guided me through a lot of things and it was a great loss for the world to lose such a musician. I wanted to revive some of the songs so the present generations could get a taste of what great music is."

For almost a decade, Sumon had been planning to make an album featuring some of Denver's songs. It was John Denver's birthday on December 31, 2003 when Sumon got the inspiration to take up his guitar and almost instantly, translated 'Annie's Song', one of his favourite numbers. He recorded the song at his home studio and played the song for Khaled, owner of G-Series, who loved it. He pushed Sumon to continue translating more songs for an album and hence, Megher Deshe came into being.

The album Megher Deshe features some of the best songs of John Denver including 'Neel Aakasher Pothe' (Leaving on a Jetplane). Instead of making it a sad song, as John had, Sumon made it into one of joy where he was happy to leave his love and would come back before she woke up. 'Methopoth' (Take me home, Country road), is another number featuring Nazia, Sumon's wife. It's a happy go lucky song, which one can easily catch on to because of the original catchy tune. 'Shopner deshe' (Dreamland Express) is perhaps one of the best songs in the album and it features Elita, the main vocal of the band Raaga. She also gives her mellifluous voice to some more numbers including 'Tomar Jonno' (Annie's Song). Iqbal Asif Jewel and Sumon mixed the CD at Studio Bass; it was mastered by Jewel. He also produced the last track of the album, another version of 'Tomar Jonno'.

Elita was also excited to work on this album. "This was the first time I was working with Sumon Bhai," she says. "I didn't know what the music would be like when I started and as the album progressed, the results were beautiful. I realised that this would be something great in the history of Bangladeshi music," she concludes. Through this album, numerous people who hadn't heard Denver's music have been incited into listening to and reliving Denver's music.

The compositions in Megher Deshe are very soothing and have, in no way, degraded the original tracks sung by the great Denver. "It was truly a tribute to John Denver," says Sumon. The album was a mixture of soft country music, with the classical touch of pop, a perfect homage to the great U.S. singer.

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