On a Soothing Note

Photographs By Ashraf Uddin Apu

New Orleans, a city where the scorching heat and opulent culture will leave masochistic blisters on your soul and skin, is a most befitting birthplace of the jazz and the blues. A melodious agglomeration of European musical ideas and African-American styles, it expresses the complexities of hurt, angst, yearning and love. Originating in the 18th century, jazz and blues has worked their way up the Mississippi River throughout America, across the pond and after more than a century, across half the world to the metropolitans of the Bay of Bengal. Whether it is the soulful vocals, the earthy euphonious instruments or poignant lyrics, the harmonious notes will be nothing short of a euphoric musical experience. From Marvin Gaye to Norah Jones, jazz can be experienced through any musical outlet. However, for the first-hand experience that doesn’t involve an excursion across the world, let’s explore the bands in Bangladesh who are recreating the rich genres on this hemisphere.

Hectic corporate jobs by day and passionate music enthusiasts by night; The Blues Brothers are a protagonist in the jazz and blues scene. True to their name, the band consists of four musical brothers and one soulful sister, whose chops are a force to be reckoned with. Consisting of one vocalist, Tashfia Fatima Tashfee, an acoustic lead, Shafkat Ahmed Dipto, acoustic rhythmist Nahyan Imam, drummer and percussionist Pantha Kanai (PK), and bassist Imran Rabbani, the personal connection of these musical siblings transcends into their performance; they want the audience to experience the magic as if they were a member of the family.
Specialising in acoustic, low-key numbers, The Blues Brothers have played in a number of eclectic platforms from International Club to the relaxed and rustic Farmer’s Market. The band predominantly plays classical numbers such as Ain’t No Sunshine by Bill Withers, Cocaine Blues by Bob Dylan, and Bad Moon Rising by CCR. Perfecting some of the classics, they are expanding their tuneful enthusiasm to creating originals.