A World of Music Descends on Dhaka
Dhaka World Music Festival (DWMF) 2011 offered the intoxicating grooves of soul, jazz, afro-beat, funk, reggae along with traditional Bangla folk for the first time at a major open air concert on February 4 and 5 at Sultana Kamal Mohila Krira Complex, in Dhanmondi.
The concert, on February 4, kicked off with Motimba featuring Baul artistes. Renowned Baul singers -- Shajahan Munshi, Rob Fakir, Rinku, and Baby Akhtar -- rendered popular Bangladeshi folk numbers to the music of Motimba, a band recognised for their blending of funk and afro-beat with Cuban grooves. In their splendid concoction of salsa, timba, and jazz, the sounds of various percussions were prominent. Lead singer Javier Camilo's impassioned singing -- although in Spanish -- and his busy hands on bongos moved the audience.
Lalon's fusion of rock and Bangla folk was also much appreciated. The band covered “Boshonto Batashey”, “Khyapa”, “Krishno Prem” and some popular songs of Lalon Shai.
The sounds of the horns of Soothsayers, a South London collective, were probably the most remarkable at the gig. Their mix of reggae, Afro-funk and urban jazz has already earned them international recognition. They played some of the popular remixes of their "One More Reason" sessions. The prominence of horns was evident in their performance. Music lovers -- young and not so young -- swayed to Idris Rahman's eddying saxophone and Robin Hopkraft's bold trumpet. The constant improvisation, a characteristic of jazz, and the rhythmic off-beat forms of reggae were outstanding.
When asked about their highly experimental music, Julia Biel, one of the vocalists of the group, said: “Through our music we hope to reach a point where genre stops to matter.” She added, “With the soulful mixing of these different forms we hope to transcend the boundaries of language as well.” The players of guitar, bass, and drums also got enough room to show off their skills.
Lokkhi Terra's renditions of Bangla classics like “Tumi Eshechhile Porshu”, “Kalarey Koirogo Mana” and “Bhromor Koiyo Giya” featuring Afro-beat, jazz, and Latin forms were also cheered on by the audience. The group is recognised for its efforts to popularise Bengali musical heritage in Europe.
Dele Sosimi, credited as one of the originators of the art form called Afro-beat, gave a hypnotic performance late at night.
For a Bangladeshi who admires global music, this was like being in a candy shop.