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Dhaka Tribune

Joy Bangla Concert: Untold stories of how the mega event came to be

Ending young music lovers’ long wait, the concert was held successfully on Wednesday

Update : 09 Mar 2023, 03:36 PM

Like every year, Joy Bangla Concert 2023 has been organized by Young Bangla, youth platform of the Center for Research and Information (CRI). It was initiated in 2015 to commemorate the historic March 7 speech of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The biggest live music event in the country could not be held for two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ending young music lovers' long wait, the concert was held successfully on Wednesday.

Tonmoy Ahmed, engineer and coordinator of ALBD Web Team, has shared the behind-the-scenes stories of organizing the mega event for the seventh time.

He mentioned the planning and implementation of the concert with Bangabandhu's grandson and CRI trustee Radwan Mujib Siddiq.

“In February 2015, the country was mired in BNP-Jamaat's anarchy – petrol bombs, people being burnt to death, and vandalism” said Tonmoy.

“All of us, including Bobby bhai (Radwan Mujib), used to meet at office from time to time and talk about what we could do. Many pro-liberation organizations were protesting at that time. Bobby Bhai said, ‘On March 7, Bangabandhu had inspired seven and a half crore Bangalees to fight, despite the extremely adverse environment, and youths overwhelmingly responded to that call. Why can't we do something on March 7 that can inspire the youths of the country to be more patriotic?'” – Tonmoy recalled.

The ALBD Web Team coordinator said, “Since 2015, Joy Bangla Concert has been held every year. It continues to instil a sense of patriotism among Bangladesh's young. March is the month of Bangabandhu, our independence and Joy Bangla Concert.”

Referring to Radwan Mujib's role behind the concert, Tonmoy said, “The person behind this event for the youths is Bobby bhai. The youth of Bangladesh will truly be indebted to him. With ‘Mujib' as his middle name, he is an energetic young man holding Bangabandhu in his heart. I have been working with him since 2013 – for 10 years now, yet every day I see Bobby bhai coming up with something new. Working with him has been a learning experience.”

Earlier Wednesday afternoon, at the concert in Dhaka's Army Stadium, youths swayed to timeless war-time melodies and rock songs.

This year, the Joy Bangla Concert was held on March 8 due to Shab-e-Barat. The concert coincided with International Women's Day. On the occasion, Young Bangla launched separate registration, urging women to join the concert.

The presence of women in the concert was certainly noticeable. There was also a separate corner for women.

Fahima Tazreen Avija from Farmgate area, who attended the concert, said, “This participation of women in this celebration of the country's independence sends out a positive message.”

Mahfuzur Rahman Rokon came to the concert with his friends. He said: “I'm really enjoying the live music. Our female friends are here too. The security here is good. We're all having a good time”

The performing bands encouraged the youths gathered at the concert. Along with the rendition of songs originally aired by Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra, the rhythm of contemporary favourite rock music made for an unforgettable event.

This year's Joy Bangla Concert started with a minute's silence in memory of the victims of the blast at Dhaka's Gulistan. Artcell, Avoid Rafa, Lalon, Chirkutt, Cryptic Fate, Karnival, Meghdol, Nemesis, and Arekta Rock Band came up with performances one by one.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina returned to Dhaka on Wednesday afternoon after attending the fifth UN Summit of Least Developed Countries in Doha, Qatar. Later in the evening, she joined the concert.

Chief of Army Staff General SM Shafiuddin Ahmed and Radwan Mujib Siddiq accompanied the premier on the occasion. She waved from the VIP box and greeted the youths at the Joy Bangla Concert.

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