‘Abaar elo je shondhya/
It gets you every time, doesn’t it? It could just be the most touching, most enduring paean to a Bengali heart’s yearning. How it almost meanders through all the right sensibilities, delicately plucking at the pangs felt in the course of an urban existence. The urges and aspirations. It lends something quintessentially of its place and timing to the standard pop song structure that sprang out of the West in the second half of the twentieth century. Something of Dhaka in the 1970s, the city that was.Of course it was Happy that owned that one, but no matter, it is the Akha
nds’, and at Lucky’s passing this week, surely for music lovers it is inevitably a time to pay tribute to both brothers, even if one died tragically short of a full career, in doing what they loved doing best. An opportunity to treasure their contribution to the modernist bend in the music of our nation. They were part of a group that took to coming up with tunes that if marketed right, could have earned airplay on modern rock/world music stations. It did coincide with the emergence of rock music globally, carried on the six strings on the guitar, often electric in both rendering and effect, very often.
It was the period just after Liberation. They signaled a moment in the youth of this nation, where some young men were buoyed by more than a whiff of independence. That is why it doesn’t matter that Happy couldn’t scale the heights over a full career, missed out on some of the awards and the recognition, but people who knew them knew they were part of a moment, on which the mark left by people such as the Akhand brothers, and the original Uccharon line-up led by Azam Khan, will remain indelible.
They were opening themselves up to new inspirations and in the process enriching their art, except of course for those who contended it was ‘the devil’s music’. But sure enough it endured, over time it has absorbed elements of the indigenous keys, and from the looks of things, is here to stay, even if paralleling its cousins’ journeys off the charts. Its place is now somewhat altogether more private, and nothing to lament.
I always feel those who leave behind music are at a very special privilege, for their creations retain such unique abilities to evoke their memory. Imagine the next time you’re humming those opening bars….’Abaar elo je shondha…
It will be a tribute to the memory of two dearly departed souls of our cultural arena; and for some, also an ode to a special moment.
(Enayetullah Khan, a music aficionado, played a pivotal role in the formation of Bangladesh’s first pop band, Uccharon.)