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The Armeen Musa band delivers from the heart

They performed some of their new Bengali releases, besides some other singles and covers of Hallelujah, Moyna goh and Jaago piya

By Urvashi Bhattacharya

  • Published 9.09.19, 7:37 PM
  • Updated 9.09.19, 7:37 PM
Armeen Musa at TopCat CCU
Armeen Musa at TopCat CCU Picture: Rashbehari Das

Good music never fails to enthral, much like Armeen Musa’s voice which effortlessly hits the highs and lows. The Armeen Musa Band, from Bangladesh, was on their debut tour of India to promote their new album Live From Space. And their first gig was at TopCat CCU (Topsia).

They delivered some of their new Bengali releases, besides some other singles and covers of Hallelujah, Moyna goh and Jaago piya. Armeen also recited a few self-penned poems, and Dare was a t2 favourite. City-based musician Bodhisattwa Ghosh joined the group on a few songs.

This is the band’s first tour in the country!

The band’s, yes. But I’m in this other band called EBU with Mainak Bumpy Nag Chowdhury, Ratul Shankar and Bodhisattwa Ghosh; we have been on a tour of India. I was not the one organising that tour though but I have a feel for what’s going on.

How is touring India different from gigs in Bangladesh?

You definitely need a certain set of skills. The boundaries that we make in the universe really affect music, even though Bangla is a shared language. This man-made line is really difficult to cross, even though there is the Internet and everything. I do a mix of Bangla music but I wanted to meet the other Bangla music lovers which I know exist as I’ve been here before. One thing I love about Indian artistes is that even though Bollywood dominates everything, the quality of musicians who have done music outside Bolly, hasn’t dropped; but it has in Bangladesh.

Tell us about your latest album, Live From Space.

We are releasing songs as we go forward with this tour. It’s an 11-track album, of which two of them are spoken word. Every Wednesday, starting July 24, we have released a track and today (August 16), we released the fifth track.

This is my first live album... these are songs that we do on tour and my last album had come out five years ago. For the last few years I’ve been doing my poetry in my sets too. It’s (the album) a snippet of what is happening in my musical life right now with my Bangla songs... a little bit of jazz, little bit of singer-songwriter. It’s live and I haven’t got the chance to do anything extra with it, so it’s all natural and honest.

What news of Ghaashphoring, the choir you conduct?

I was in a bunch of choirs when I was in the US because I love singing. So when I went back to Bangladesh, the first thing I did was make my own choir. We do Bangla vocal arrangements, which is quite uncommon because people usually sing in groups but not in harmony. We are releasing our album this month. This has to be the hardest thing I’ve done because they’re not full-time musicians and managing 18 people is hard. The album is a vast interpretation of the Bangla songs that everyone knows.

You’re from a family of renowned musicians. Has your mother (Nashid Kamal) or great grandfather (Abbasuddin Ahmed) inspired you?

Absolutely! The genes, the passion, the drive and not understanding anything but music is something that I have inherited. Most interestingly, the genre I do is very different than that of my family members and that’s liberating, because I don’t have to follow anyone’s footsteps but it’s nice to have their support.