In a conversation with Dhaka Tribune’s Rumpa Syed Farzana Zaman a lot came up about the artist, his thoughts about music, the situations of our current musical institutions, copyright issues, the reasons for his disappearance and a lot more
‘Aaj tomar mon kharap meye… pori tumi vhasbe megherbhaje,’ ‘Brishti pore ajhor dharay’ -the songwriter of these beautiful songs and many more, Sheik Rana, has been out of the country for quite some time. How is this author doing in foreign lands? Does his emotion still float with the clouds, or did the distance take him far away? In a conversation with the Dhaka Tribune’s Rumpa Syed Farzana Zaman, Rana discussed his thoughts about music, the situations of our current musical institutions, copyright issues, the reasons for his disappearance and a lot more.
The way the city was – the same way it has been in my heart
His irregular visits for the last five years. Is his relation with the city still intact after all of these? His answer was quite simple. “Of course it is. I still harvest within myself the roadside tea shops, the endless chat with friends at the narrow roadside turns. You know what the funny thing is? I think sometimes that my body is the only thing that has travelled to the foreign lands. My soul is still feasting on ‘Singara, Cha, Puri’ at one of the narrow lanes of Puran Dhaka” he replied laughing. For this reason, when Rana sits abroad writing songs and articles for artists back here in the country, he does not feel far away from home. This city is like a well-known poem to me! How will it become a stranger in such short time?
The conspicuous changes
Songwriter/ lyricist Sheik Rana has been travelling in and out of the country, but that does not mean that the ever-growing music industry has eluded his eyes. He mentioned how he finds the transition from cassettes to CD, and now from CD to online,very interesting. The rapid change truly shakes him up. Sheikh Rana’s comments are quite clear about the trend of YouTube songs and the hype of listening to them.
“It’s really easy for a singer to compose a song and distribute it amongst the fans. The most hopeful of thoughts are the ever-growing practice of home studios that are taking over. This is a blessing for music,” Ranasaid: “Since making music has been so much easier, we often come across a lot of garbage… Omitting the few bad ones, only the positive sides of the industry are more vivid. “
Things lost to the world of music nowadays
“Like I mentioned earlier, the happiness of making music together, the joy and bonding that came from rehearsing and jamming together does not prevail anymore. Someone is at home playing the guitar alone, someone’s leaving hastily after a vocal take, just like me writing songs for other people from way out here, without even knowing at all about the concept,” saidRana.
According to Rana,it’s the “ice-age” of music. The connection of souls was lost somewhere along the way. Only seven to eight years back, people had a real knack for well written and composed songs. The practice of singing well written songs and the urge of listening to such songs has disappeared from amongst us.
He added passionately, “Well written songs make good music and we must accept that. And of-course we must get rid of the tendency of selling songs and harness the love for the words.”
Forgotten tunes in a restless world
According to Rana, the era is of restlessness has taken over. Anxiety is one of the biggest reasons he believes.
“There was something about the feeling of taking that cassette out of that cover and slowly listening to the songs in a tape recorder one by one. Relating to the words that has been printed out on the cover. There is none of that now. Now we keep listening to songs online and keep doing our regular work. This is how the listener loses touch with the song. And if there is no relation between them, how is the song supposed to last?”
The songs that are good will last a lifetime. The songs that are great, will last like any other song that has lasted through history, he said.
Music to see; Music to Listen
“It would be great if we could have ignored this topic, or could say- it’s not real. But we are unable to do so. I agree that songs these days are more oriented towards viewers rather than listeners.” Rana said with a sly smile.
He continued saying, that he hasn’t always thought this to be a negative thing. A good video to a good song will definitely put a mark on the listener’s mind. But “Regardless of the music, the video must be great” is a notion he can’t support.
What still remains in the words
Rana started by accepting the fact that change will occur with time. There’s a lot that has changed in his writing too.
Hesaid: “Especially during the 90’s there were rebellious songs. With the contemporary world in mind, I don’t find myself writing. The songs of Renaissance, LRB, Prometheus and Nova would make your blood boil.”
He also said, for the first time so many songs were created based on “Gonojagoron Mancha” and it has never happened before. He also agrees that his songs lack the contemporary aspects. He has written a few songs, which no one was willing to lend their vocals to. So,he wonders what a songwriter can do at such moments. Even the bands these days lack such passion in them. And for that reason, we change, giving into the demands of time.
Rana believes, as painful as it is to the old listeners; the solo artists will soon understand in time that even being a solo performer, it’s possible to sing words that bring hope for betterment of the society.
The songs written for Bappa Mazumder
Rana started writing songs from his will to survive as a lyricist. He went to a lot of people, but never could make a connection. The teen arriving is Dhaka from Rajshahi suddenly fell in love with the songs from the album ‘Aha’ by Dolchut. Then he thought that this must be the band for which he is supposed to write songs! So he went to BappaMazumder and played his songs for him, after a year the tracks got released with BappaMazumder behind vocals.
After releasing the song “BiswhasheteBostuMelay” the relation between him and BappaMazumder started to deepen, which remains till this day. He found the perfect singer for his songs.He also deeply appreciates the respect that BappaMazumder has for other artists. People must respect the fact thatBappaMazumder introduced the trend of acknowledging the songwriters on stage and making sure that they are paid according to copyright laws.
Survival still remains the true struggle for lyricists in the country. For the love of words, a writer here must do other jobs to make ends meet. Some works at newspapers and others at advertisement agencies. Rana asks himself “do the writers actually get paid what they are truly owed?” He believes that laws protecting the rights of lyricist could save those who wish to make a living writing song.
When the topic is writing
Since words and writing are indestructible, thus Rana has dedicated most of his time writing. He has published and released two new books in this ‘Ekushey Boimela.’ A daily journal that he has been writing slowly since 2013, along with a song poem book named “Shobdo Pakhir Dol’. Both of the books were published by “Borsha Dupur”. He also mentions that his previously published travel story “Rule Tana Khata” and his first book “Aaj Tomar Mon Kharap Meye” is available at Annesha Publishing Stall. The other one is available at Maw Publishing Stall at the Little Mag Square recommending Russel O’ Neil, DehoLobhi, Marzuk Russel, Tony, Masum and a lot of other prolific writers. I really miss good songs, may they live in words are the words Rana ended with.