‘Arnob and Friends Live’: An album on the heels of the tour | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, November 20, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, November 20, 2009

Behind the Scene

‘Arnob and Friends Live’: An album on the heels of the tour


(From left) Resalat, Nazia, Arnob and Andrew Morris at Drishtipat’s concert in London.

Last year Arnob, Nazia, Andrew Morris, Resalat, Nazrul and Jibon made a highly successful tour across Washington DC, Texas, New York, Toronto and London. The outcome: An album, 'Arnob and Friends Live'.
Here's what the group of musicians have to say:
Nazia: "When we started we didn't think that we would be doing an album. Drishtipat was the organiser of the tour. It was around mid-October last year and it lasted for 20-25 days. We covered a diverse range of genres -- folk, Tagore, Indian, film etc. Some people asked why 'Hindi', it's just a demonstration of my Hindustani classical background.
"Each city had its own glory. Everybody was open-minded. Arnob gave us a lot of space -- each of us could display his/her unique skills and have the spotlight -- "Nao Chhariya de", there were the drums, bass solo part; Andrew's saxophone also got a role. Nazrul bhai was really quiet, but he knows how to have fun. Resalat is an amazing bassist, he makes magic out of every instrument. Jibon's drums were really soft and soothing, Arnob was on top of his game."
Jibon: "Our tour was really fun. It was different, fantastic. The audience was great. They were really happy with us. In Toronto and other cities, we played to a packed hall. The memories of the tour are still alive and the album has just engraved that feeling"
Nazrul: "The show was organised really well. Asif, the director of Drishtipat, is also very fun loving. I was particularly surprised to see Andrew giving a speech in Bangla.
"Arnob is an incomparable artiste whose composition, style and approach are different from any others I have known. His writing, songs are also quite different from others. I play the 'dhol' -- this aspect had been highlighted by them, strengthening the Bengali identity, which is really great. Lots of reporters were present; one asked how I felt about the tour, I was so surprised as I didn't expect this."
Andrew Morris: "I'm in France now, working as a translator. But I often play our CD -- a few times a week in fact, and enjoy my memories not just of the tour but also of being in the band. It was such a wonderful opportunity! It was interesting and a bit bizarre visiting all these places as a member of a 'Bangladeshi band'. I mean, we were welcomed, hosted, and taken round by Deshis, so I got a totally Deshi view of America.
"Musically it was simply brilliant. I never had, and I guess (sigh) never will have the chance to play with such talented musicians again. Arnob, of course, is a creative genius, and Nazia with her emotive vocals, and everyone from Jibon to Resalat to Nazrul were totally on top of their music. And as an ensemble too, we were really tight together. I miss that every single day."
Resalat: "The tour was amazing. It was something we all dreamt of but never thought would happen. We were well taken care of in each of the cities. In fact, it was a rock star treatment that we got! What was particularly great was to have good friends on board, doing music. The moment we came back to the country we had plans for the album. It took a while, but I think it did capture the spirit of the tour."
Arnob: "We actually recorded some of it live. We were supposed to do it in Bangladesh but couldn't. Everyone was asking for it. Since there was no show, we decided to give people something so they didn't miss out. The 15/16 tracks of the album are all from the tour. It is for all kinds of listeners -- Rabindra Sangeet rearranged with something we 21st century music enthusiasts can relate to. We tried to incorporate the classical elements -- It's not completely my creation. All of us worked for it; a truly group effort. Everyone had his/her own touch to it. It was good friends doing something we all like -- music."
The writer is a freelance contributor

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