When it comes to music, lyrics are the component that devours us. With expressions sprouted straight from the heart, accompanied by thoughtful composition and just the right people to put it forth, the spell of music can extend from merely providing some much needed stress-relief or cheering up a sad soul to inspiring millions. For a versatile band like Chirkutt, debuted in 2002, intricate sound composition and surprising improvisations using our everyday musical instruments have made them stand out. Their diversified lyrics, well complemented by their skillfully composed music, have enthralled thousands all over the country.
Sharmin Sultana Sumi, more commonly known as ‘Sumi’, the sensational vocalist of Chirkutt, reflects on their voyage, “Our debut album ‘Chirkuttnama’ was released in October 2010 but unfortunately, due to lack of proper publicity and management, we failed to receive the recognition we had hoped for.
Nevertheless, our initial mishap only motivated us to take our passion further with more enthusiasm than ever before.” When asked how Chirkutt had come together, Sumi says, “We found each other by fortune. You know it’s very hard to find the right people these days to work with, possessing an actual passion for the music rather than the meager thoughts of monetary gain.”
‘Khazna’, ‘Jadu'r Shohor’, ‘Kanamachhi’, ‘Bondhu’, ‘Katakuti’, ‘Ami Janina’ are the noteworthy compositions that made Chirkutt a sensation among the mass nationwide, especially youngsters and university students. Of all their tracks, Jadu'r Shohor (The City of magic) with its eclectic melodies stole the hearts of thousands straightaway just weeks after its release. It thrilled the youth whose massive response led Chirkutt to top all the music charts in the country for their originality, with help of the immense creativity portrayed in their music and their diversified use of instruments. It brought about some surprising changes to the contemporary music scene of this country. Needless to say, they never had to look back.
Chirkutt has even revolutionized the music scene of film industry with their ‘Kanamachi Mittha Kanamachi Sotto’ on Mostofa Sarwar Farooki’s film ‘Televsion’ which is one super hit till date among music lovers, home and abroad. Talking about the young musicians in the industry today, a band member says, “Our young generation is extremely talented and cut out to take every challenge thrown at them head on. They are passionate about music, more than qualified for this industry and know how to use their skills properly. It gives us all a healthy competition.”
Chirkutt's fame has travelled all the way to places all over the world, not just limiting within the borders of Bangladesh. Their performances at numerous reputed international music festivals include the ‘Indian Music Week’ where they represented Bangladesh among the other 50 bands from 17 countries from all over the sub-continent. They were also invited to the ‘Jaffna Music Festival’ held in Sri Lanka where they showcased new dimensions of Bangladeshi band music. Chirkutt has also performed on Coke Studio, arguably the most popular and highly rated Indian musical TV show, broadcasted on MTV India.
Echoing on their recent grand tour to Norway, Sumi continues, “Our trip with Norwegian rock band Casa Murilo gave us a huge platform and a great opportunity for us to blend our traditions through music. The European audience requesting numerously for ‘Kanamachi’ and ‘More Jabo’ opened our eyes to the realization that how far-reaching and boundless the power of music truly is. The audience back there humming ‘Kanamachi’ along with us felt simply astounding.”
Pintu Gosh, known as the ‘Kanamachi man’ also shares his excitement, “We enjoyed our time in Europe tremendously. The love, support and appreciation we received from the audience that too miles away from home, rendered us speechless.” ”Just think about a place where people won’t properly recognize you, or fully understand your language. Sharing from that perspective, it was a huge challenge for us to perform under such conditions. Little did we know that our work was the reinforcement for us. The audience’s overwhelming response and the ambience was unbelievably perfect! ”, adds Sumi with her eyes beaming with joy.
Sumi also talked about their time in ‘Hulen’, a renowned student driven rock club in Bergen, Norway where young fans from all over the world had gathered for the concerts. Their concert venue at Bergen was designed after a cave that used to be a bunker during World War II. She further elaborates on her experiences with Casa Murilo, the band with whom they have performed most of their international shows. “Words will do no justice to describe the love, kindness, support, admiration and respect they have given us. The passion and inspiration they have ignited in us is truly amazing.” Chirkutt and Casa Murilo have also performed 'Blend of Traditions' in one of the concerts, which might also be officially released as a single in the near future.
Music is the language that speaks of volume when mere words fail to. It inspires us, guides us, makes us smile, and makes us cry. The power of music goes beyond what our feeble minds can perceive. But its impact on our lives cannot be denied, and hence people choose to ‘listen’. Sumi believes, “There are very few people today with real passion for the art of music, people who can really ‘sing’. It’s a matter of practice, perseverance and devotion. If you’re not passionate about it or whole-heartedly devoted to it, it is impossible for you to make it in this industry. Whatever the career is, it is important for a person to work with an open mind in a peer-friendly environment. To me, that is what matters the most.”
Thus, in the coming years and beyond, Chirkutt aspires to live in the hearts of people through their melody, and keep bringing fresh, good music for their fans with the same sparkle, energy and enthusiasm till the end calls.
This story was first pubished in INTELLECT Issue no. 3, dated November 2013.