During the 1960s, in the pre-independence era of Bangladesh, there was a surge of rock music in the country. Bangladeshi artists derived inspiration from British and American rock music, and fused it with elements of Bangla classical music and 'adhunik' music of the time. This trend continued for the next six decades.
Over time, artists began developing a distinct sound of their own. This type of music was popularly referred to as 'band music' in the country. The movement led to the inception of iconic groups such as LRB, Souls, Feedback, Feelings (presently known as Nagar Baul), and many more. From the 1970s to the 2000s, it became one of the nation's most popular genres of music.
Like many aspects of the Bangladeshi culture, the phenomenon went largely undocumented.
However, writer and journalist Haque Faruk, approached Milu Aman with a proposition, in June of last year, which is about to change all that.
Together they are set to launch a book, Banglar Rock Metal, detailing the history and evolution of 'band music'. Banglar Rock Metal is set to launch at the ongoing Bangla Academy Book Fair.
Faruk and Milu have been affiliated with the music industry for more than two decades.
"The book is divided into two parts. Initially we explored the history and evolution of the genre. However, we later set out to feature profiles for each band to encapsulate their story," said Faruk to The Business Standard.
"We listed the bands in a chronological order," added Milu.
Banglar Rock Metal features about a hundred bands, ranging from pre-independence groups such as 'Iolites' to more recent ensembles like 'Shonar Bangla Circus'.
"You see, as unfortunate as it may be, we don't have sufficient records or archives to document the history of this musical movement. So, if anyone wishes to know which bands were active during 1993 or what was the original line-up of Miles, they can look them up here. I want this publication to be treated as a reference book," said Milu.
Faruk and Milu undertook and completed Banglar Rock Metal in just eight months. But it was not an easy effort.
"I have spent five days at Bangladesh National Archives collecting information for the book. I would go in as soon as the place opened, I was their very first visitor. I spent the whole day researching from old newspapers and magazines until they closed it at night," said Faruk.
Some band profiles also proved to be harder to create than others.
"Four of the original members of the 'Aces' (one of the most influential heavy metal bands in Bangladesh) presently reside in Canada. I had reached out to them through Facebook. It took over two months to compile their whole story," Faruk continued.
"We are also extremely grateful to all the musicians for their invaluable help. I can't name a single band that has not cooperated with us throughout this endeavour. We even sent back copies of our work to each band for verification," added Milu.
Faruk and Milu hope to publish Banglar Rock Metal during the last week at the Book Fair. The book will be published and distributed by 'Anyaprokash'.
"This publication is an encyclopaedia of Bangladeshi band music. We hope to update it every year," said Milu.
"We don't want to miss a single band. There are some up-and-coming bands who are yet to be featured. We have mentioned their names in a back index. But we will create profiles for them in later editions," he added.
Recipient of Citi-Ananda Alo Literary Award (2019), Haque Faruk is the author of books 'Nisshongotar pakhira', 'Meghdoriyar Majhi', 'Shohore Debshishu', 'Joler Jomin' and 'Dhiman Kothon'. He also served as a lyricist for the popular band 'Metal Maze'.
Milu Aman specialises in writing about Bangladeshi rock music. He is the author of 'Floyedian', 'Ganer Milon,' and 'Rock Jatra'.