According to Shallum Xavier, guitarist of renowned Pakistani band Fuzön, medicine is needed for the treatment of our body, and music is necessary for the treatment of our souls.
Shallum was speaking Bangladeshi singer, songwriter and musician Labik Kamal as the two collaborated on the creative discussion project, "Safar Suroon Ka" (Journey through music).
Participating artistes at the session from Bangladesh were Labik Kamal Gaurob, Nobonita Chowdhury and Arif Baul while from Pakistan Alycia Dias, Shallum Asher Xavier, Ayesha Rasheed, Abdul Rafay and Tooba Khalid participated.
The participants talked about crosscultural experiences, the pandemic and how to deal with it.
"This whole engagement with all these fantastic musicians will be a collaboration of positive energy, fun and music," said Labik while welcoming everybody to the session.
The most interesting part of the show was Arif Baul's soulful performance of folk songs. He said, "I am nobody, I know nothing, I am just a messenger of the Sufis and Bauls and have been trying to convey their messages through my music."
Nabonita Chowdhury also mesmerised audiences and her Pakistani counterparts withthrough her powerful voice. Towards the end of the discussion, Nabonita sang a few lines from a Lalon song.
"Wow, I think we should do this every day," was Shallum's remarks on Nabonita's performance. Shallum also played the guitar at Labik's request.
Talking about the project, Labik Kamal told The Business Standard, "Shallum and I are working as moderators and arranging the dialogues as hosts."
"This is a really exciting project and we are really enjoying. Although for now our collaboration is mostly online, we are producing music this way as well. Maybe in the near future we will do more works in person and perform together."
During the session, the Pakistani guitarist hoped of coming to Bangladesh soon to meet Arif Baul and perhaps collaborate with him.
The first talk of the creative discussion, "Reimagining Changing Times" took place on September 8 on Zoom which was live-streamed on social media and later was uploaded from Shallum's official YouTube channel.
The initiative is a part of the "Transforming Narratives" project by the British Council and Arts Council of Pakistan, which aims to bring creative individuals from Pakistan, Bangladesh and England under one platform for creative dialogues and cultural exchange.
Recently, Labik also worked in another project with the British Council, to celebrate the South Asian Heritage Month. Labik took a contemporary approach dealing with the roots of Bangladeshi folk music.
In the 45-minutes musical session, Labik talked about different aspects of Bangladeshi folk and folk fusion music, touched on different genres within folk music of Bangladesh, Western approaches to Eastern melodies, and how this form connects young people through music to a bigger philosophical space.
Speaking about the project, Labik said, "I have been working closely with the British Council for the last 10 years on various projects as music director and organiser. Every year, the British Council organise such events, but this year it was a little different."
"For the pandemic we couldn't organise any event, so we came up with the idea of this online musical session to demonstrate and talk about folk musical instruments used by Bauls and folk singers,." he said.
"Although, 45 minutes isn't enough for such sessions, I tried to talk about the important instruments that are part of our folk music."
"In my script I had written about 14 instruments, and I demonstrated how to play eight instruments from the list and discussed the rest," Labib said.
"This was actually a project of the Manchester Museum, funded by the British Council."
The session was posted on the official Facebook page of British Council Bangladesh and Manchester Museum's YouTube channel on August 14.