Photo: Farjana Afrin Shumona
The first time that I got to experience Old School’s music was back in July 2008, in an unplugged session organized by North South University Shangshkritik Shangathan (NSUSS). I was there when the members of Old School performed together as a band for the first time. I was there as the young musicians mesmerised the audience with cover songs such as “System of a Down”, and “Khachar Bhitor Ochin Pakhi”, which later became one of their signature songs. I was there, witnessing history being made in the arena of Bangladeshi music.
Old School is a Folk-Fusion or Nu-Fusion band consisting of five members. Though I am calling their genre of music as being Folk-Fusion or Nu-Fusion, the members of Old School themselves don’t like to restrict their music to one particular genre by labelling it. For them, their compositions are not based on a genre, but rather based on different kinds of music that has inspired or influenced them.
The usual line-up of Old School consists of Mobassher on vocals and violin, Shadman on tabla, Mustakin on bass, Pallab on guitar, and Salauddin on drums. Together, these five talented and energetic artists have created pure magic through their songs. Apart from covering songs by other artists, Old School has also gained immense popularity through their original tracks. Their most famous track, “Aj Raate Kono Rupkotha Nei” has now become a household song for each and every young Bangladeshi. Moreover, their songs “Bango”, “Ostitter Khoje”, “Moner Kache Khola Chithi”, and “Nikhoj Ishshor” have also gotten wide positive response from fans and music lovers across the country.
One of the highlights of the band is when it’s original song “Aj Raate Kono Rupkotha Nei” won the ‘Airtel Radio Foorti Youngster of the Month’ competition. Listeners from all over Bangladesh voted in order to make the song top of the list. Apart from this, Old School has had a number of TV appearances in channels such as RTV and NTV, and also given memorable performances in Embassies, public and private universities, prestigious concerts, and various lounges.
Old School emerged for us music lovers at a time when the underground music scene in our country was seemingly stuck in a rut. When hundreds of bands were busy trying to imitate the Western style of music, members of Old School quietly entered the scene with their tablas, flutes, and violins, to show the rest of the bands what originality and creativity is all about. Since then, they have never had to look back.
Unfortunately, and to the utter disappointment and heartbreak of thousands of fans, Old School announced last month that the band is going to dissolve due to some health issues and due to one of its band members going abroad to pursue higher studies. They also announced that they were going to perform for the last time at North South University at an unplugged session organized by NSUSS, right where they started off from four years earlier.
I was there the day they played for the NSU students for the very last time. I was there to experience the now veteran musicians mesmerise the audience with their soulful and moving performance. I was there, some will say, to witness the end. However, I think I was there to witness the beginning—the beginning of a new era in Bangladeshi music that has been instigated by Old School. Thank you guys, this one is for you.
(Tamoha Binte Siddiqui is the former President of North South University English Club and former teacher of English at Scholastica)
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