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Megher Deshe
Love it or hate it? A neutral viewpoint

John Denver is probably one of the most influential and famous country musicians. Even to the hard rock and heavy metal influenced young audiences of Bangladesh he will probably feature as one of the top 5 favourite artists. He sang with great passion and his lyric writing ability will be unparalleled for the next even hundred years. I am personally a great fan and admirer of John. Which is why, when I heard that Sumon of Aurthohin will dedicate an entire album to him, I was elated. I couldn't wait to get my hands on the CD.

It is no mean feat to try and translate the beautiful lyrics of John Denver into Bengali and sing it with great passion. Furthermore, after a long time, Sumon's wife Nazia is singing in an album. Of course there is also Elita. There's a good reason why one shouldn't even think twice about grabbing a copy of the CD. Sadly enough, as I went through one song after another, I was displeased and disgraced. There was much to complain about from my side and much more to contemplate from Sumon's. Now let's look at some of the good things about the album.

Megher Deshe is always going to be a very high profile project. Like I said before, Denver is one of the most phenomenal country singers of all time, so there's that curiosity about out how well Sumon translated or sang his songs. So both the lyrics (translated) and the overall composition would have to be unique yet not too far away from the original. Sumon managed to make the songs sound very unique indeed. Most of the songs were duets. The duet of Annie's song was very fresh. The song selection was also top notch. Sumon chose the best possible songs to render from myriad of unforgettable songs. The guitar work is awesome and refreshingly original. Sumon is not only country's premiere bass player but also a great acoustic guitarist. I wish he would play more classical acoustic in some of his future albums.

Unfortunately those few words are the only good things I have to say and the cons over weigh the pros of the album. The first thing a Denver fan would want to see in the album is the translation. It is not easy to translate great songs, true, but this is not an excuse to literally change the songs in their core. Annie's Song was okay, but fell really short of the feelings of the original. Sumon just mutilated the Leaving on a Jet Plane. The song was half translated and never delivered the same meaning as Denver meant it to be. There were lyrical discrepancies in other songs too. Most of them let me a bad feeling about the translation. Maybe summon should have left the translation to the real translators, at least they would have done a better job.

On the musical side, Annie's Song was good. But, why O why would ANYBODY want to remix this song? And what a horrible re-mix indeed. Jewel, sir, you have all my respect, please do not ruin that by mixing a beautiful song into nothingness. Jewel has committed more crime with some of the other songs. If he is such a great guitarist, why doesn't he simply take on his acoustic and add to the songs. I have no clue why he used electric solos. If Denver wanted electric solos with distortion, he would have had them originally. The use of electric solos was like an ear-sore to the tracks in which they appeared. With Annie's song remix being the worst of them all. I would have liked to hear the last song of the with some good taste.

Did I say that Nazia and Elita sang very well? Yep, they did, in fact their singing was actually much better that Sumon's. Sumon has a low pitch vocal and John Denver's vocals were comparatively high pitched. Denver also used a lot of vocal sustaining and natural vocal vibrato, which gave life into the songs. But Sumon simply brushed aside these, as if he was singing in one of his regular Bengali albums, like singing a poetry with a tune. He should really have taken great care to match the pitch changes and scale of the song. When one pays tribute to a great singer, one must take great care to it that they do justice to the vocal parts at the least.

And what can I say about Sumon's Leaving on a Jet plane. Most people would consider this song as the most passionate songs of Denver. He seemed to have indicated his death through his song. What did Sumon do? He turned the passionate song into some kind of calypso beat disco track. What bad musical sense! The harmonization of the male and female vocals throughout the album was also not done well. Sumon's voice was nowhere near the pitch of the ladies. Maybe he would refrain from any further mixed duet songs. One song did stand out from the bunch though. Sumon's version of Old Guitar was indeed very well sung. His voice had the right feel and pitch for the song.

All in all, I was much disappointed. I was disappointed in Jewel the most for just that one remix track. An of course by Sumon. According to him, the album took two years in the making. I bet he must have been really lost in those two years. I certainly don't expect this kind of ludicrous effort from him, especially when Denver is in question. After listening to his album , I had to go through all the original songs. Just to remind myself how the original songs sound.

By Tanvir Hafiz
(The writer is an editor of generation-e.info, youth website)

You're not the only ones

You're not the only ones to study that is. To have to go through assignments, teachers lectures, exams, homework and what not. Again you can't give up because your parents have told you a thousand times that education is the means to success, the means to money and sometimes the means to fame and respect. You know you cant count on your luck and hope to just hit it big one day like all those stars you see on television or in the movies or even hear about in the newspapers, whose acting kills, singing skills or beauty and age does not surpass your own (at least that's what you think).Your thoughts on the matter: “Life is so unfair!”

But hey, you know what? Not all the stars are educationally challenged. Not all the stars gave up their schooling because they had their bright futures in the present. Now don't you just admire them? Okay now for facts: Clair Danes, yes from Romeo and Juliet, has been sporting both school and an acting career ever since her debut drama serial “My So- Called Life” in 1994. Now if that's something, listen to this, Danes had to turn down a supporting role in Stephen Spielberg's very own “Schindler's List” because well she would have to spend a considerable amount of time in Poland during the shoot without school! She learnt the hard way that you can't easily manage both an acting career and school simultaneously. Okay now that is what I call determination. She's not the only one though.

Remember Seth Green from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Well this poor guy had to take a major leap from child actor to an adult one and as a result suffer in his education. But not for long because after failing ninth grade, Green managed 10th and 11th grade with honor rolls. Woh!

For Star Wars, Episode 1 star Natalie Portman, studies are a main priority. This Harvard Psychology major feels she's a positive role model for youngsters by not putting her studies on hold. Infact she says shed rather be smart then be a movie star. Now Portman has put her acting career on hold for four years (except for the Star Wars prequels) in order to explore her career options.

Okay now my thoughts on the matter: “Life is again so unfair” They get it all: the beauty, the talent and the brains.

But all the stars do not have the same determination or the same ambition. For Melissa Joan Hart, juggling both was quite impossible which is why she put her studies on hold in 1999. Then there are other major stars who gave up studies to fuel their stomachs like Drew Barrymore, Johnny Depp, Demi Moore, Al Paccino, Keanu Reeves,Tom Cruise, Sean Connery and Jim Carrey, to name a few. But then again, they took a big risk and they were successful. What would have been their futures if success hadn't come their way or had stopped favouring them?

But then again those of you who want to give up studies in the hope of a breakthrough, then think again. Breakthroughs are not so easy whether you have extraordinary drawing, singing or acting skills or just extraordinary beauty. Remember nothing is sure in life and success does not come easy nor does it have so rather fuel your minds. At least you don't have to cope with a huge career and school at the same time.

By Afrina Choudury

Going to school abroad

Most of us plan to go to university abroad…ever thought of going abroad for high school? If you're doing your O levels may be you should start contemplating upon it now! There are boarding schools all around the world that appreciate applications from international students very much. Interested to study somewhere in North America or Europe? Here's how you should start your school search!
The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS)
Link: www.schools.com

One day, I was bored and thought that I should pick up some new songs on my guitar. So I went to google and started to type “blah song blah artist guitar tabs” without looking at the monitor. Magically, my old-battered-broken computer only caught the word TABS. So google.com, with all its brilliance came up with mxtabs, guitar tab universe, a-z guitar…the association of boarding schools???

The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) is a voluntary membership organization for 300 boarding schools in the United States, Canada and some other countries in Europe. They have an advance school search option, which would help you find the perfect school for you in accordance to the courses your interested in, places you wish to study in, extra-curricular activities you want to try out etc. TABS has an extensive collection of boarding school profiles and this is just the right place for starting your ultimate school search!
Canadian Association of Boarding School
Link: www.cais.ca

If you are interested in going to school in Canada or getting one of the Canadian high school diplomas (each province has its own diploma), this is the right place to look at!

The CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS (CAIS) is an association for independent schools that operate within Canada or offer a curriculum leading to a Canadian diploma in a location outside of the country.
Round Square
Link: http://www.roundsquare.org/

Round Square is not just an affiliation of schools; it is an organization that attracts young students all around the globe to help the ones that are less fortunate than they are. Students attending Round Square schools make a strong commitment, beyond academic excellence, to personal development and responsibility. This is achieved by participating in community service, work projects, exchange programmes and many other opportunities the organization offers.

However, you might not be interested in community service, but Round Square has 50 member schoolsmost of them largely emphasize on leadership, which would help you earn scholarships when you apply to universities. I believe it's worth looking though all the schools before you choose the ones you want to apply in. There is no point in wasting $100 of application fee on a school you don't want to go to!

Tuition and Fees:
Budgeting is important if you are looking for a school. Cost of good education is high! Boarding and Tuition fees range from $20,000-$40,000 a year. Most schools expect you to buy expensive sports gears as well! You should budget an extra $3000 for Medical Insurance, spending money, sports gears and travel expenses. However, don't think you can't go to a school just because you can't afford it. A lot of schools offer financial aid, bursaries (need-based) and/or Scholarships (merit based). If you are a competent applicant you might just win a full scholarship! You never know! Even if you can't afford a school and don't find yourself competent, I suggest you should still try. After all, it doesn't hurt to try!

That's all I have to say. If you are really interested and want more information, email me at tridevi.chakma@sedbergh.com. Questions, comments, complains are welcomed as well!

By Tridevi C.


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