East & West, band’s the best

KOLKATA, 20 DEC: East West Metro is finally complete. Not the Metro project that the city dwellers have been waiting to get over, but a musical CD by Boston based Bangla Band ~ Apaar Bangla ~ that was released in Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) yesterday. No, the CD does not have any song on the Metro project or anything that would rake controversy again, but only songs of genres as diverse as rock and roll, urban pop and Bangla folk music.
“Ghorer chhele ghore fire elo ar sathe aro onek lok anlo (We are retuning home and with several others),” says Prithwiraj Choudhury, the lead singer of the band that is set to perform at a series of concerts in the city and the districts this week.
The multi-ethnic band includes members from Bangladesh, India, Vietnam and the USA who compose their own music and play popular contemporary songs. Prithwiraj Choudhury, a professor in Wharton Business School, is the lead vocalist and one of the songwriters for the band. Ramananda Chakrabarti, a post-doctorate fellow from Harvard University, plays the hand-sonic, the harmonica and sings with equal ease. Dabadeep Bhattacharya is the lead guitarist.
Koushik Chakrabarty, another Harward fellow who hails from a village in Midnapore, plays the tabla, dhol and other percussion instruments and also lends his voice sometimes. Fawad Reza plays the piano and keyboards, and is also in charge of arrangement and computer mixing. Laura Borrelli, a school teacher, plays the drums and the flute. Sanin Rahman plays the guitar. Paul Nguyen, a successful hypnotherapist, plays bass guitar and can do it all, from sound mixing to sound-proofing the rehearsal room.
The group was formed in mid-2009 when Prithwiraj, Ramananda and Debadeep met at a function organised by a Bengali association in Boston. Others joined later. The new band had its first public performance “Gaan R Fun” at the Watertown Middle School in 2010 with their own compositions that dealt with a range of issues from star-struck young love to the dilemmas of modern-day living that immediately struck a chord with the Bengali immigrant families.
Soon, they became a rage on YouTube and after over 20 concerts in the USA, they have come home with songs of distant land and the country they were born in. “Next Friday we would be performing at South City Mall. Then we would head to Contai and Digha. We have two other concerts in the city after that,” said Prithwiraj.
As their name suggests, the band endeavors to break the boundaries of music. Some of their original compositions are Corporate, Rainy Day, Romeo & Juliet, Paanch Minute-er Bondhu (friends for 5 minutes), Keu Kotha Rakheni (unkept promises), Bhag (division), and Ke Bollo Bangla Gaan-e Nacha Jay Na (Bengali music can also make you dance).

Soma Basu

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