Together sounds good
“I have tried many things in my life, and failed in most of them. Art gallery, film, a restaurant … but it was with the musicians of Bangladesh when I first felt I could do this,” said Enamul Karim Nirjhar, seemingly emotional at the launch of Gaanshala's “Ek Nirjharer Gaan: 001”. Boasting to be the world's biggest compilation of original songs in a single release, it comprises a whopping 101 songs – all written by Nirjhar, arranged by 11 composers and sung by 43 artistes – from iconic names to virtually unknown talents.
The ceremony held at the Celebrity Hall of the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre on June 12, kept the audience engaged and interested the entire time. From the stage and set design -- that had hospital curtains at the entrance, traffic lights on stage, and a deep well at the end of a fashion-show like ramp, to the thoroughly entertaining theatrics by AK Azad Setu, and the superbly-made music videos shown which was followed by the artistes walking on the ramp like couture models, there was rarely a moment of lull. The monologue by Setu, often playing multiple characters simultaneously and smartly using props like a gun, a football and a wheelchair, dramatically showed the struggles of the contemporary musician. From early school days to forming the first band, entering a professional life, the despair of releasing an album and eventually to a hapless old age, it was touchy, funny, and most importantly an honest story, which was interspersed with music videos from Moitry, Leemon, Konal, Gaurob, Sovvota, Moon, Sohini, Taposh and Proma – of songs from the album.
In between, CEO of Gaanshala MA Maruf spoke about the project and how it came to being. Nirjhar underlined that collaborative work is a rarity in Bangladesh, and it can produce great outcomes if done right. He also pledged releasing 101 songs every year from the Gaanshala label, and added that idea that “the music industry is dying” needs to be overturned in a collective effort. Prothom Alo Editor Matiur Rahman also spoke at the event, saying the music industry needed such an initiative, and voiced his support for the cause. The event's fitting end came with all the artistes, music arrangers and video makers coming on stage and joining hands together, in Nirjhar's said transformation from 'me' to 'we'.
The artistes who have sung for the album include Andrew Kishore, Subir Nandi, Naquib Khan, Shampa Reza, Chandana Mazumdar, Fahmida Nabi, Samina Chowdhury, Hasan Abidur Reza Jewel, Shafin Ahmed, Bappa Majumder, Arnob, Kona, Milon Mahmud, Gausul Alam Shaon, Nobonita Chowdhury, Koushik Taposh, Dinat Jahan Munni, Sohini Alam, Rupam, Konal, Mahadi, Shuvo and Sovvota. The music arrangements have been done by Foad Nasser Babu, Tanveer Alam Shawjeeb, Rokon Emon, Labik Kamal Gaurob, Nirjhar Chowdhury, Rezaul Karim Leemon, Moon and Arko Sumon. The songs were announced to be available on the Gaanshala website, and online on Quinetic Music, as well as international platforms. However, it was a tad unfortunate to find that the website was still not complete, with many artistes' info, song previews and music videos (shown at the launch) not available on it. The navigation of the site could also use some work.