Concert from Bangladesh, which expands on the 50 year legacy of Concert For Bangladesh, will begin on August 1
The original charity concert initiated by Ravi Shankar and George Harrison of Beatles' fame, was organized to aid the relief effort and refugee crisis during the Liberation War of 1971. A best-selling live album and a concert documentary were released in 1972. In a matter of year, the entire world came to know about the struggle for self-determination and the subsequent victory snatched by a new-born South Asian country Bangladesh.
To honour the 50 year legacy of the concert, Concert From Bangladesh seeks to take audiences on a virtual audio-visual journey through the country’s past and present, encompassing mystical Baul singers from rural Kushtia, experimental electronics and hip hop from the streets of Dhaka.
Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming concert -
Who are the organizers?
The upcoming concert is a groundbreaking digital collaboration between UBIK Productions (London) and Samdani Art Foundation (Dhaka) supported by the British Council Digital Collaboration Fund. The organizations have commissioned acclaimed British-South Asian artist Shezad Dawood to create a virtual reality stage for the concert, which will be released on August 1, 2021 via Pioneer Works’ (NYC) website.
Co-curated by Diana Campbell, Artistic Director of the Samdani Art Foundation (SAF), with Dhaka-born music producer and artist Enayet Kabir, together with assistant curators Ruxmini Choudhury and Shoummo Saha, Concert From Bangladesh will showcase a wealth of talent across varied Bangladeshi musical traditions, from mystical Baul singing to experimental electronics and socially engaged Dhaka hip hop.
What is the goal?
The concert will primarily raise funds for the Bangladeshi charities revolving around climate change and human rights. All proceeds raised will be equally distributed between the performing musicians and Bangladeshi charity organisation, Friendship, which provides healthcare for climate change refugees and promotes women’s rights in Bangladesh.
In the words of SAF Founder Nadia Samdani: "As Bangladesh celebrates 50 years of independence, we are delighted to be a part of producing a work that allows the world to listen to the wealth of music and culture found in our country, and to reconsider the role that music and art can play in banding people together to fight for a better and more equal future."
Where will it take place?
Concert From Bangladesh will go live to audiences via Pioneer Works’ online platform on August 1, accompanied by live events at Yorkshire Sculpture Park (Wakefield) as part of Yorkshire Sculpture International and Pioneer Works (New York City), 50 years on from the original concert. Additional events will take place with Chisenhale Gallery (London), at Leeds City Varieties Music Hall (Leeds) and Srihatta Samdani Art Centre and Sculpture Park (Sylhet). These institutions are located in significant diasporic or rural Bangladeshi areas and will further de-centre and democratise the project’s reach, amplifying the experience to diverse Bangladeshi and international communities.
The concert will take viewers on an expansive sonic journey spanning six centuries, beginning with renowned Baul singer Arif Baul accompanied by instrumental virtuosos Nazrul Islam, Saidur Rahman, and Sohel. This will be followed by a piece composed by Enayet and Nishit Dey exploring the shared musical language between Nazrul sangeet, classical raga and 90s jungle, by blending cutting edge electronic production and arrangements by Enayet, Provhat Rahman and Adittya Arzu aka Siaminium, with classical raga and Nazrul sangeet vocals by Meerashri Arshee and Moumita Haque, Bansuri flute by Jawaad Mustakim Al Muballig and sitar performance by Nishit Dey. The concert will end with the Bangladeshi hip hop duo Tabib Mahmud and 12-year-old Gully Boy Rana, whose socially engaged lyrics highlight some of the pressing issues the Concert aims to fundraise for.
A journey through Bangladeshi landscape
Shot against a green screen by a Bangladeshi team in Dhaka, Concert From Bangladesh will feature the musicians performing against shifting virtual sets that will immerse audiences in vibrant Dhaka streets, and transport them to the riverbanks of Gorai River Kushtia via mangrove ecosystems and Somapura Mahavihara, one of the best known monasteries in the Indian Subcontinent built in the 8th century, culminating with a performance in the iconic Beauty Boarding, a historically vibrant literary hub in Dhaka and a meeting place for intellectuals to this day.
The performances will be interspersed with archival and contemporary documentary footage, and the concert will be amplified by Augmented Reality assets, including a free filter activated through audiences’ phones and laptops, bringing 3D objects from the screen into viewers' immediate surroundings. The Concert’s graphic identity is developed by long-time Samdani Art Foundation collaborator Fraser Muggeridge Studio. Concert From Bangladesh will revisit the history of solidarity embedded in the historical Concert For Bangladesh: a concert album and ethically produced merchandise will be made available via the online streaming platform on Pioneer Works.
August 1, 2021, 6pm Dhaka, 6pm London, 6pm New York: As-live stream across three time zones on pioneerworks.org/programs/concert-from-bangladesh
August 1, 2021, entry from 7:15pm, screening at 9:15pm - Yorkshire Sculpture Park (Wakefield): An outdoor screening of Concert From Bangladesh and associated tours of sculptures in the grounds in English and Sylheit, in partnership with artist Thahmina Beg um. Book via: https://ysp.org.uk/events/shezad-dawood-concert-from-bangladesh-an-open-airfilm-screening
August 8, 2021 - Pioneer Works (NYC): A screening of Concert From Bangladesh as part of the Second Sundays event series, which engages Pioneer Works disciplines through live music, food, artists' open studios, and interactive programs.
August 31, 2021, 1pm - In the Neighbourhood (London): An outdoor screening of Concert From Bangladesh - https://www.allpointseastfestival.com/nbhd/
September 16, 2021, 7pm - Leeds City Varieties Music Hall (Leeds): A screening by Yorkshire Sculpture International in partnership with Hyde Park Picture House’s On the Road programme followed by a talk with Shezad Dawood.
For registration, visit: https://pioneerworks.org/