Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Touching Base: Welcome Back folks

Hi all!
1. Restarting this Blog:

I didn’t realize that it has been a year that I did not make any new entries. This delay was all due to the enormous time and pressure I underwent to finish my latest album, (the first in 6 years)
mA’AREFOTER pOTAKA, which at an annoyingly snail pace, together with horrific power cuts and other hiccups took until October 2006 to be completed. It was followed by its successful release courtesy of ATN Music, Bangladesh.

I have of course been more than pleased by the success that followed and this time around it was a noticeable difference to hear my songs being hyped up and played by the exuberant crowd in Dhaka’s two new FM stations, the slick
Radio Today together with the abrasive but fun Radio Foorti. This exposure helped a lot in the initial publicity, and had direct bearing on the sale of the album especially in Dhaka. Additionally ATN Music sponsored 3 new Video’s, of which one is doing its round on ATN Tv, while the other two will be shown on or about Boishakh in other channels as well, (i.e. after 14th April), if everything goes as per plan. I welcome those that are interested to hear the album to buy it online at the music shop in http://amadergaan.com/shop ~~ registration to AG is required which is of course free.

2. Blogging – for reasons unknown:

There is a lot of buzz in the vernacular and English local press of late about the upsurge in Bangladesh Blogging and I was taken up by the thought that there were hardly any soul around when I started in early 2004, other than the ‘exceptional exception’ of Rezwan and his award winning
3rd World View. It was with his encouragement that I got this Blog going and put in - or linked most of the stuff I have written till date. I guess because it is a Blog and totally in my control and has things exactly as I wanted it, I got around saying it was my ‘poor man’s website’ to people who were totally unfamiliar as to what a Blog is? To be true till today, I don’t know what the ‘real’ difference between a website and a Blog site is (other than that you don’t lose your site if you are lazy...) – but I am very proud of what I have painstakingly put together here to share with the world as best as I know it. Blog for one is surely Individual Sovereignty at its very best to flout in a vast Ocean, where each man is a perfectly navigable ‘attack’ vessel if we may!

Looking back, in 2005, the first ever Bangladeshi Bloggers meet was held in my house here in Niketon, Gulshan 1 (with a lot of help from Rezwan), where a dozen Dhaka based Bloggers, met up for ‘real world’ gup shup and a lot of tea and snacks. Then Rezwan left with his diplomat wife for Germany, and everything fell quietly back into its place, and I got busy with my music. Meanwhile SLATE (a daily
New Age publication) magazine reported this week that there are now upwards of 500 Bangladeshi Bloggers who write in English, which kinda staggered me enough to be left with a raised eyebrow and ...whoooaaaaa.... I have in the meantime on my own found some excellent deshi Blogs that are worth a read and it was good to see some of them being listed in the SLATE story as well.

However, what I sorely missed was the enthusiastic and urgent postings that went around the time Emergency was declared (I was out of station all of January) and the speculations that went with it. Surely could have added in my two anas, but no worries; there will be hopefully a plenty to write on politics in the days ahead. Stay tuned!

3. Blogging – the future and where I fit in:

I don’t know why people Blog, but for me I guess it is a harmless addiction that one can get into once in a while, and get OUT, even quicker. Now that was my position and other than fact that I Blog for unknown reasons, I have a hunch that this time around with so many sites cropping up, my period of stay will be longer than I have bargained for. It will of course mean writing in a style that is quite unlike me and posts could be simpler, like a personal letter to a friend or bursts of extempore speech that I am infamous for: but surely they will be a lot shorter than this one I hope!

All said and done, on hindsight, I guess I am more a Yahoo Group’s addict and the thrill one-ups Blogs to as early as 2001. I wrote passionately nearly every other day in half a dozen Bengali forum until 2004 after which I gave up in exasperation due to the unending how cowz and intellectual anarchy and ill health of the forum/s. However many of you may yet be interested to have a peek at
Chutneyz – Bangladesh Open Source Intell Monitors my alternative news resource site in Yahoo Groups, which I have been Moderating with friends in the Security and Risk Analysis profession since 2005. Anybody can join in and receive email updates, and if you have problems feel free to email me.

4. The Bangladesh Music scene – A doom gloom scenario:

That’s the hard truth. A gloom has descended since the state of Emergency was declared and because there is a ban imposed on all public gatherings it means Open Air Concerts are out for a long time. Ban on political activities on the other hand means student bodies that once hired or sponsored bands for shows in campuses have all but disappeared! For those musicians who make music a full time profession, these are certainly bad times; it’s a very hard situation and all have to fall back on recording contracts or Tv ads, and some indoor gigs, which often than not - are not easy to come by.

The underground and alternative bands who were part of the ‘Creed Against Greed’ movement before the interim government came to power tried to organize an open air concert on Independence Day (26th March), but I am told were refused permission by ‘authorities’ as also; I haven’t heard anything about Bangladesh Musical Band Association - BAMBA’s planning to hold its yearly Pohela Boishakh concert this year.

Other than musicians, suffering most are the sound and lighting reinforcement rental companies whose expensive equipments are gathering rust in warehouses. Some have invested millions and in 2006 I know of at least two companies who imported state of art equipments (including audio relay distribution for PA systems, good enough to put Bangladesh on the live circuit of the world’s rock map ), and who unfortunately will have to wait it out until we have a decision from the Government.

Now that’s a decision that is not only been awaited merely by the bands and the rock fraternity that hold open air concerts and other musical gatherings, but importantly the entire cultural arena. I have a feeling it will be a long wait but Event Managers are hopeful that after this period may come a time where it might actually become easier to find venues and hold shows without having to ‘grease anybody’s palm’ or seek blessings to avoid interference from the quixotic 'Hawa House of Power’ of yore, or being too concerned about unnecessary permissions and clearances that are required. Wishful thinking ~~ however lets keep our fingers crossed. Also we have to wait a few more days to see if the authorities permit the traditional Chayanaut concert at Ramna Botomool on 14th April. It might well serve as a reference point for further relaxation of the public gathering ban.

In view of the above, I have taken a break from Music. I have however kept myself open for concerts and other live engagements should they come around, but as far as studio work is concerned I do not see myself entering one before June, when work for the long over due dHAKA album should commence. The band already has the rough cuts of 3 tracks to chew upon in the meantime.

5. World Cup Cricket- My BanglaVision Tv gig:

I find it rather stressful to stay up all night for the game and usually go to sleep by midnight after the first innings is over, and then look up the newspaper the next morning for details and the outcome of matches. The rare exception was probably the Bangladesh vs. India game, but after all that brilliance in the first round and qualifying for the Super 8 ~~ the heady encounter with Bermuda etc, the “Tigers” seem to have lost their roar, and are all but appearing to be paper Tigers? I think they will be facing a lot of close questions when they return home. I mean if it was our intention merely to qualify for Super 8 then it would have been much better that we didn’t if our real intentions were to put up such half hearted and dismal performances later. The state of our first class cricket in home grounds will certainly come in for close scrutiny if the national squad do no perform at its peak and importantly demonstrate that we are to be taken more seriously than the ‘minnows’ title that has already been shamefully tagged to our name.

On my part, the WC couldn’t have come at a better time. BanglaVision a local sattelite Tv channel has commissioned me to host and anchor a daily talk show titled “Bishho Cup Protidin” which is being aired every evening since the Super 8 began. The show will continue on until the finals. Its rather interesting and I get to talk to celebrities like media personalities, actors and actresses, models, musicians, lawyers and businessman, and ex-cricketers, pundits of the game as well as some very sharp critics. It is also a great thrill to get to the Tv station by morning, shoot the episode and return home by afternoon, and tune in at 6:40 p.m. BST to watch it.

So far so good and I must say I am enjoying every moment of it and life is treating me fairly otherwise.

Bye for now and catch you all soon
Mac

2 Comments:

Blogger Rezwan said...

Mac Bhai,

Welcome back. Its been more than a year since the first bloggers meet at Dhaka (in your house). But sadly there were no such efforts in between except some in the Bangla blogosphere (bandh bhanger awaaz www.somewhereinblog.net).

Well as for me I missed your writings and analysis, especially those on Bangladesh's music industry.

I subscribe to you Chutneyz yahoo mail and am notified about the news stories (and some rare ones) about Bangladesh. They are good as an digital archive but the analysis and value addition part is missing. Thats where bloggers come in. One of the reasons I started blogging was to counter some of the propaganda in the blogosphere against Bangladesh.

I think you can start picking one or two articlesfrom Chutneyz, link to them and give your critic on them. Blogging has picked up by more and more Bangladeshis. Even Sajeeb Wazed Joy is blogging. The figure of blogs (500) you quoted was an estimation provided by me in an interview to Mahfuz Sadique of Slate Magazine. Sadly I can't read that article online. The Slate should have published this article a year ago, I remember a couple of journalists in our blog meet in your house.

This reminds me how blogging can be beneficial for people like you. You write articles in news papers which are not widely read. But Blog contents are picked up by search engine and it still can be found by people all over the world even after a couple of years later.

A tip: Please switch to the new blogger which has tagging system and is an improved version. I think Subhan can help you.

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Sharif said...

Good to hear from you. Welcome back!

9:40 PM  

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