Musicians who left a void

Musicians are our closest friends because music can heal, can console a broken heart or can be companion in a lonely journey. When you lose such a friend, it leaves a void inside you. Who on this planet can fill that void? Maureen Nawer, Istiaque Ahmed Nahian and Riasat Raihan write about their favourite musicians who left an imprint in their young minds.

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In recent years, we have lost so many tall trees in the field of music. This loss is irreparable. When Lucky Akhand or Chester Bennington left us, our young people were at stake. Our Facebook newsfeeds were flooded with mournful statuses. These musicians and their music were part of their lives. Obviously these legends will be remembered many years from now.

Azam Khan, widely known as the ‘Pop Guru’, whose popularity transcended generations of music in Bangladesh, was a freedom fighter, singer, composer and guitarist. He was the lead singer of Uchcharan which was the first rock band of Bangladesh. He passed away on 5th June 2011, at the age of 61, leaving a sea of pop songs in combination of folk and modern.

Azam Khan actively participated in the liberation war of 1971. He fought against the Pakistan army in the 2nd sector under the command of Brigadier Khaled Mosharraf. He received guerrilla training at Melaghar in India’s Tripura state. After the war he started his music career professionally and formed Bangladesh’s first rock band Uchcharan in 1972. Azam Khan and his rock band Uchharan’s first performance were aired by Bangladesh Television in 1972. By 1974 he became immensely popular all over Bangladesh for his unique style, lyrics and music. Still young musicians and music lovers call him ‘guru’ as the history of Bangladeshi rock music began with him. Azam Khan was at a time composer, musician and singer. His fascinating pop songs were popular among the youth, not only in Bangladesh in the sub-continent as well. He performed in a number of foreign concerts which attracted not only the migrant Bangladeshis but the music lovers abroad too.

Azam Kahan led a very simple life. By the love of the audience in Bangladesh and India, he had more than 17 hit music albums that had sold several millions of copies. However, copyright piracy, he could not earn much as royalty. An artist, never economically solvent, he paid a price for it. He could not afford proper treatment during his final days when fighting the fatal disease for nearly a year.

MJ – does he even need an introduction? I do not think so. Not for you, not for me, or for anyone else in Bangladesh or abroad hearing this name.

Born in 1958 in Gary, Indiana, Michael Jackson became the lead singer of his family’s popular Motown group, the Jackson 5. He went on to a solo career of astonishing success, delivering No. 1 hits from the albums Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad. The ‘King of Pop’ was dogged by allegations of child molestation in his later years, and died just before launching a comeback tour in 2009.

MJ was born to a large African-American working-class family. His father, Joseph Jackson, had been a guitarist who put aside his musical aspirations to provide for his family as a crane operator. Believing his sons had talent, he molded them into a musical group in the early 1960s, which evolved into the Jackson 5.

At the age of 13, Jackson launched a solo career in addition to his work with the Jackson 5. He made the charts in 1971 with ‘Got to Be There,’ from the album of the same name. His 1972 album, Ben, featured the eponymous ballad about a rat. The song became Jackson’s first solo No. 1 single. That is how it all began. Now, I bet we all will be able to name a few of his super hits like Bad, Thriller, Beat it and more. I grew up listening to the album Bad, in my dad’s records collection. That was how I got introduced to him. And now though he has passed away, he is alive through his music in million hearts just like mine.
Back in 2004 when I just started listening to different types of music, I got introduced to this band named ‘Linkin Park’. That NU metal band had really rough and catchy songs with very relatable lyrics.  The lead vocal, Chester Bennington, had a really powerful and clean voice. I became obsessed with the band within a few days.  Starting from ‘In the end’ I ended up listening to each and every songs from their albums ‘Hybrid Theory’, ‘meteora’,  ‘minutes to midnight’.  Back in my school days I used to have this bunch of friends who were also diehard fans of Linkin Park, we used to memorise their songs and perform them in our free times in front of our folks.  I became so much obsessed with Linkin Park that I used to sit hours in front of my computer researching about the band members, their upcoming songs, their album documentary. Linkin Park was the reason why my music taste diversified. I stopped listening to LP a long, long time ago. But this doesn’t change the fact that they were so massively monumental in my life during my pre-teen years. Chester’s voice not only get me into music, but he also helped me through the hormone filled escapades — having someone to look up to and feeling whole when I felt like a no one at that age. But at one point, my LP phase wore off. I grew up, or so I thought. And last, but not the least, I cried because it hurts knowing Chester felt that the only way out was to take his own life. I know there are many of you going through horrible times — through the hell path of depression, anxiety and stress. These thoughts are terrifying. But, I just want you to know that I am here for you. All of us are. I swear I will try my best to support you, whoever you are, wherever you are. I hope we all will. Even though I buried that part of my childhood with Chester’s death, it still made me who I am today. Today, I cried, because, they’ve also buried the very person that made it possible. For me Chester’s voice was the voice of this generation.
Another artist that gets in to the list of influential is Chris Cornell. The front man of bands Audioslave and Soundgarden also took his life like Chester earlier this year. Chester and Cornell was really close friends and Chester was hurt badly after the death of Cornell. Chester had been good friends with Chrirs and even sang in his funeral. According to Linkin Park’s co-founder Mike Shinoda, Chester was hit incredibly hard and couldn’t even keep his composure during a recent sound check for a performance of their song ‘One more light’ because it’s about the loss of a friend. Chester dedicated the song ‘One more Light’ to his friend. It will be written in the pages of history that how we tragically lost two of the best artists within a very short time.

The name Kurt Donald Cobain brings flashbacks of heartbreak, onstage and offstage controversies and a ridiculous amount of smoking. But in reality, he was everything more than that. Although his band ‘Nirvana’ (1987) was named the ‘flagship band’ of generation x, and Cobain was the spokesperson of the generation, he himself was not very proud of that label. Hi believed that the audience misinterpreted his work and artistic views at some level. Generation x had avid love for the grunge and the hip hop genre. Nirvana started a new legacy through their grunge music among this generation, and at that point, Nirvana was all about Kurt Cobain. Since their debut, Nirvana has sold over 75 million albums which speak for the success of the band’s front man. Within a short span of time he has presented us with gems like ‘Smells like teen spirit’, ‘In Bloom’, ‘Come as you are.’ He was a happy go lucky child and showed interest in both music and art because of his family and ancestral background. But his parents’ divorce brought about a major change in him. His sufferings were reflected in his songs and many personal interviews. During the last days of his life, he suffered with severe heroin addiction and health issues. He also faced problem coping with the tremendous amount of fame he got which led to his suicide at the age of 27. His suicide became a hugely debated issue back then and people started to relate to his songs more after that. This rock and roll hall of fame member will always be remembered in tears and headbangs.

There was a time when every Gaye Holuds and picnic buses hummed with the tunes of ‘Abar elo je shondha’. The singer of this and many other decade defining songs is our much known Lucky Akhand. He sadly passed away on April 21 this year after a hard fought battle with cancer. But he left us with songs that take us back to the days when everything was pleasant. There is a certain harmony in his songs. Lucky was involved with music all his life since his childhood. He started learning music from age 5. During the sixties, he performed in children’s music programmes regularly. His most significant contribution was in the Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra during the liberation war of 1971. His first solo album was released in 1984 which had popular songs like ‘Agey Jodi Jantam’, ‘Amay Dekona’, ‘Mamonia’, ‘Ei Neel Monihar’ and ‘Hridoy Amar’.  He also composed songs for his brother Happy Akhand who was also a musician.

He ended his career for a decade in 1987 after the sad demise of his brother Happy with whom he created various popular songs. His success story was unchanged after his return with solo and mixed albums such as ‘Porichoy kobe hobe’, ‘Bitrishna jibone amar’, ‘Tomar Oronne’. His death left a huge void in our country’s music industry. We are indeed LUCKY to enjoy his time travelling songs.

 

Maureen Nawer, Istiaque Ahmed Nahian and Riasat Raihan are students of various universities in the capital.

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