Popular Bangladeshi band Chirkutt recently celebrated 18 years of its journey in the music industry. The band was formed in 2002 by Sharmin Sultana Sumi.
Recently in a conversation with The Business Standard, Sumi talked about how the band came into being and its journey through the years.
"We grew up in a musical atmosphere in our family. I started learning music in my childhood. In 2002, I was studying at the Department of International Relations at Dhaka University. At that time, I thought of creating a music band. I started it with a few younger brothers of my department. On the second floor of TSC, there was a room of an organization called Jayadhwani. We started practising music there," said Sumi.
Reminiscing about the past, Sumi said it was a crazy time. "I used to hang out at the campus, collect aid for people and do music."
The band's name Chirkutt was given by Sumi.
Chirkutt means a small message and the band always tried to gives a message through its songs. Chirkutt has composed songs of love, rebellion and obstacles. Each of the songs convey a message.
The lineup has changed a lot since the band was formed. However, many members have survived until now. For example, Emon Chowdhury joined Chirkutt in 2006 and Pavel in 2008.
The first studio of Chirkutt was the kitchen of Emon's house.
Recalling that memory, Sumi said, "Emon's home was in Dhanmondi. He was a bachelor then. We turned a portion of his kitchen into our studio. We practised and composed new songs there."
"Bondhu" was the first song recorded in Emon's studio. Then, between 2006 to 2007, they built a studio in Moghbazar. That is where Chirkutt started working on their first album titled "Chirkutnama".
What were the difficulties Sumi faced as a woman and how did she handle those obstacles? Answering this, Sumi said, "I didn't handle anything. I did music in my own way. There were some obstacles but I did not pay any attention to those. I have done my job. I also got help from my family."
Chirkutt, as a band, received the cooperation and affection of the landlord of the house where they built their studio. Sumi added, "Chirkutt has progressed for over 18 years with everyone's love."
Chirkutt became popular to people through its song "Khajna". The band has won the hearts of many with songs such as "Jadur Shohor", "Kanamachi", "Ahare Jibon", "Dunia", "Moray Jabore", and "Bhalobashle Keno Khide Pai Na".
When asked about the best three achievements of Chirkutt in the 18 years, Sumi instantly said that their first, second and third achievements were the love of their audience and nothing else.
The reason behind this love is the two commitments Chirkutt made to its audience since its inception - making original songs and telling people's stories through their music. Sumi thinks that Chirkutt has been fulfilling the commitments and that is why people love the band.
Both the lyrics and composition of the songs are done by Chirkutt members themselves.
Sumi said, "I have got into trouble many times while trying to get the lyrics and melody from other people. Many things do not match. That is why I have learned to do it myself."
Chirkutt has accumulated innumerable memories in the last 18 years: memories of shows, songs and the people's love.
Recalling the memories of three of their shows, Sumi said, "I went to a big music festival in the USA in 2016. It was so big that 2,200 bands performed at that festival. We were invited there to celebrate the festival's 30th anniversary, which was inaugurated by the then-US President Barack Obama."
"Being able to perform at that festival was a big deal for Chirkutt as Chirkutt got a standing ovation from the audience, which did not happen to any other band," said Sumi. After that incident, all the big media houses of the country published stories on Chirkutt.
"It was a great achievement for us," Sumi added.
Another memorable incident took place at MA Aziz Stadium in Chattogram in December 2016. "After we got up on the stage and started singing, an audience of 40,000 at the stadium stood up and started singing. We all fell silent on the stage. The audience sang the rest of the song. Words cannot explain how great the achievement was," she said.
Chirkutt did a show for the mothers of all the band members on Mother's Day a few years ago. It was also a great joy for them.
Eight members of Chirkutt have left the band in the last 18 years but Chirkutt's love for them is still intact, Sumi said.
"But sometimes we get involved in quarrels. Then it feels as if I will leave Chirkutt," Sumi said.
Towards the end of the conversation, Sumi added that Chirkutt does not belong to her only. Now it belongs to 18 crore people of the country. Chirkutt will live through their love.
The best five songs in Sumi's eyes
1. Ahare Jibon
2. Keu Jonak Jele
3. Jadur Shohor
4. Ekta Chera Din