“ Music should never be hurried” | The Daily Star
12:15 AM, May 28, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:17 AM, May 28, 2013

“ Music should never be hurried”

…Rafiqul Alam

Photo: Atl Aakash Photo: Atl Aakash

Rafiqul Alam has held his place in the hearts of Bangladeshi music aficionados for the past few decades, with his baritone voice and ventures into various forms of popular music -- be it playback or adhunik songs. The Shadhin Bangla Betar Kendra artiste recently reminisced about evolution of Bangladeshi music scene to The Daily Star.
Do you feel that music from the '60s is fast disappearing?
Rafiqul Alam: I remember a brilliant singer from my early days in the 60s, named Abu Bakar. In a nutshell, I would say that music of that era is facing extinction. We cannot find Abu Bakar's songs now. He had a wonderful song “Kotha Dilam Ajke Raate”. The 60s also experienced the music of Girin Chakrabarty, who later moved to Kolkata. The music of other top artistes of that time -- Hosna Banu Khanam, Arjuman Ara Begum, Sohrab Hossain -- cannot be found anymore. It is sad but true that their songs had not been properly preserved.
What was the music scene like during the 70s?
Rafiqul Alam: That decade saw a huge shift in music. It's easier to preserve songs of that era, and luckily these songs can still be heard. The musical reality shows are doing a good job in this regard; their contestants are trying to recreate the music of the 70s and 80s in the programmes. While it's not the job of the artistes to preserve the songs, but they are inspired by the tunes. I feel that songs by Mohammad Ali Siddiqui, Mahmudunnabi, Khondokar Nurul Alam – are the best songs of the 70s. They created some extraordinary compositions.
But then came a brighter decade, right?
Rafiqul Alam: The upside of 80s music is that the hard copies still exist. Cinema, radio and television also managed to produce some fantastic songs during that time. I would call it the golden era for Bangladeshi music. The rise of music began in 1976, when composers like Alauddin Ali, Sheikh Sadi Khan joined their predecessors. Sattya Saha, Subal Das brought about a change in the style of music. The 80s saw a healthy competition among singers to create the best songs.
What is your opinion of the contemporary scene?
Rafiqul Alam: I'm really not happy with it. I don't know who to blame for this situation: the TV channels or the audio business. The people behind the music business have no contribution anymore. They cannot even make a profit. However, some artistes of the new generation give me hope. They've surprised me with their musical mettle.
What do you see on the road ahead for Bangladeshi music?
Rafiqul Alam: I'm still hopeful about the future. The youth have a lot of potential and I believe they will bring about positive change . But they also have to be more patient with their songs and be more dedicated to their craft. They should not hurry to climb to the top with their music. Music should never be hurried. If it is rushed, then money can be made from songs, but it will not be 'music'.

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