• Sunday, Sep 23, 2018
  • Last Update : 01:18 am

German-Swiss groove from Raggabund in Dhaka

  • Published at 12:48 am September 12th, 2018
Raggabund
From left, brothers Paco Mendoza and Don Caramelo along with Da Luca on guitar and Mikey Board on keyboard make up the German-Swiss band Raggabund Courtesy

It did not take much time for Raggabund to get their predominantly young audience on their feet. The band’s performance was interspersed with the interaction of the audience in few Bangla sentences they learned, just to increase the energy. Apart from the first song, where the students were introduced to the style of music that will be played, not one single song went without the students dancing to the music. It was the teachers who first stood up to dance with the students, albeit on their seats. Of course, the parents stood up for entirely different reasons

Imagine sitting in a theatre in Bangladesh, not just any theatre but the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy’s National Theatre Hall, with an auditorium full of school children. They are the same students you see going to school, and then from one coaching to another, which eventually makes you sigh with relief “those days are over.” Of course their teachers and parents have accompanied them too. 

There are just three instruments on stage: an electric guitar, an acoustic guitar and a DJ station. It was not expected at the beginning of the Raggabund’s concert, celebrating 10 years of ‘Pasch initiative” by Goethe-Institut in partnership with five prominent schools of Dhaka, to have the school children getting excited and wanting to dance to the music, especially as their parents and teachers were around.

However, it did not take much time for Raggabund to get their predominantly young audience on their feet. The band’s performance was interspersed with the interaction of the audience in few Bangla sentences they learned, just to increase the energy. Apart from the first song, where the students were introduced to the style of music that will be played, not one single song went without the students dancing to the music. It was the teachers who first stood up to dance with the students, albeit on their seats. Of course, the parents stood up for entirely different reasons.

“Pasch initiative” that can be elaborated with “Schools: Partner for the Future” is basically a language exchange program, for both students and teachers. It has five partner schools which are Oxford International School, European Standard School, South Point School and College, Maple Leaf International School and Chittagong Mastermind International School.

Inaugurating the event,Goethe-Institut Bangladesh Director Dr Kirsten Hackenbroch said “Over the past 10 years, German as a foreign language became increasingly popular in Bangladesh. The Pasch partner schools, with their commitment to train teachers and hold interactive foreign language classes, are setting a crucial basis for this. 

“We look forward, in future, to interact with the alumni, to intensify our global networking, and to support those who are eager to continue higher studies in Germany. On behalf of Goethe-Institut Bangladesh, I would today like to thank all who made the Pasch network in the last years a vibrant space for intercultural exchange!”

The deputy head of mission of the German Embassy in Dhaka, Michael Schultheiß, spoke about the Pasch initiative, “Learning another language is a gift. You not only learn a language. You also learn about another culture, another way of thinking, achieve new perspectives. That’s why I think it is extremely important and worthwhile to learn a language. By learning German the students in Bangladesh not only improve their language skills, but also become ambassadors.”

Michael announced the names of four students who were winners of a competition held to makemusic videos for Raggabund songs. The first prize was participation in a Pasch Youth Camp in Sri Lanka, and it went to Samiul Gani Daihan and Mehedi Khan Mojish of Oxford International School. The second went to Shohaib Hossain and Sakiyun Noor of South Point. 

The band performed after the announcements were made.

The band comprising of two brothers Don Caramelo and Paco Mendoza along with Da Luca on guitar and Mikey Board on keyboard inspired their fans with a mix of offbeat, dancehall, cumbia, muffin and nice music for quite a long time. They have toured in San Francisco, Hanoi, Rio de Janeiro and Zurich. The predominant themes in their music, they said, were everyday topics, political messages and especially a positive approach to life. 

Towards end of the concert I was gasping for breath, having danced my feet off, my voice hoarse from screaming. The school students continued dancing in front of the stage and will not accept an end to the concert. They were relentless even after making the band play three songs on request.

The parents who at first stood up to rein in their children were retaking their seats after standing for two hours, with smiles on their faces.Theydid not have the heart to ruin the party the children were having. I was overjoyed at perceiving that none of the students were reprimanded by any of the adults after such blatant display of dance, excitement and hoarse screaming during the concert. Some of the pretty female teachers were tying their hair, for they had to untie them to sway with the groove

Such was the stage presence of Raggabund, a German-Swiss reggae band in Dhaka.