And another weekend rolls around!
"All my 10 tickets have been promised out. I have 5 more if any of you are still looking. We will be sold out by Monday and you can't enter without a ticket so please confirm asap.
Amra Kojon literally means “a few of us” in Bangla. A few years ago, a group of music lovers from both Bengals came together in celebration of their motherland and language, beyond the borders of religion, country, politics and local organizations. For more information, check us out at http://www.amrakojon.org Here we present behind the scenes glimpses into Amra Kojon life around the clock
The tragedy of AK...
Last night, I was exchanging emails with a friend of mine, Shafaq Islam, who had been unable to come to the rehearsals this weekend. He has to travel from NYC to make it to the rehearsals, and we had to pick 3 weekends out of the 5 for him to come rehearse with us.
“Amra Kojon” is an explosion – an explosion of passion, nostalgia, harmony, and youthfulness. It is like the “big bang”, with which a universe is re-created, in the image and in the spirit of a universe that lives in our hearts and that exists thousands of miles away. Being a part of this creation was an extraordinary experience. Thinking back, it’s hard to believe how this enormous task was done with such perfection! We had the ideal leadership; the right mixes of personalities (hard to find it in a group of 100 individuals!), and a sense of belongingness and ownership that liberated the spirits. Music was the vehicle. What can be a better way to embrace our deepest longing for the culture and milieu that we lived and breathed in our tender years!
“Amra Kojon” is a platform from where I could connect with my friends who are at arm’s length, and, more importantly, with friends living in a universe half the world across, with whom I shared my dreams, of changing the world, of wiping out all distress, and of cheery stories, of a world full of optimism. They say people turn more cynical as they age – this is not the case with Amra Kojon. It’s lead by such upbeat energy that it only progresses in fervor with the passage of time. It is like a cyclone, except that it doesn’t destroy, it builds, and it elates anyone who comes into contact with it. It’s not a group, nor an organization or association; it’s a concept, a way of life. It’s a tribute to our loved ones scattered all over the world, and to our origins, proclaiming that we haven’t forgotten, we don’t forget, and we draw our energy from what they have given us – it is their spirit that we uphold…- Mahrukh Mohiuddin (Nadia)
When on one such "work and rehearsal night" you meet a newcomer who sings like a dream AND composes and writes her own music...
When she is amazed by how amazed we are by her and amazed at our general excitement and enthusiasm where music and working together isconcerned...
When she catches the AK fever and leads us to jam with her after a grueling day of rehearsals -- till 6:30 a.m. the next day -- including a really cool version of "With or Without U" with impromptu harmonisation and music....
When you sleep for 4 hours and wake up refreshed and ready to go with more AK madness and realize you had the most fun ever......
You thank your stars for the people you know, the folks you get to meet, the things you get to do by being a part of the life-enhancing experience that Amra Kojon is for an ordinary person who certainly leads an extraordinary life.
Welcome to the family Jhilmil, and here's to many more such nights of madness and bonding!
We just kicked off the official rehearsal season for the Amra Kojon April 22 concert. Amra Kojon will be proudly presenting 20 of their best solo artists from the New England area, and ATN Bangla will broadcast the show live, worldwide. This is in preparation for our 'AKotRo - London 2006' project. If you don't already know about it, here's the relevant link: http://www.amrakojon.org/April2206Show/april2206show.html
Last week, I opened my e-mail at work to find several e-mails from members of my AK crew. My inbox had a link to this blogspot as well as e-mails from several people about how, “Amader Sohini-ke amra Boston-e anbo.” [We will bring our Sohini to Boston] I can tell you that I was surprised and touched, but couldn’t possibly describe how much, so I’m not going to get all mushy and try (because I already cried at work). As Naina said in her first blog, many of us AK members, including me, are students and/or young professionals on limited budgets. However, as we did during the 2003 show, we put our money where our mouth is. We don’t just talk about being a big family, we act like one. Family-r karo biye hole jebhabe ghorer manushder ghore ashar bebostha hoye jaye, sherokom obostha! And just like you automatically form bonds with family members you had never met before, new additions to our Amra Kojon are welcomed with open arms on the very first day. I should know: back in 2002, I was a new addition myself.
It was a warm summer evening when I drove up to my brother’s place for dinner upon my bhabi’s request to meet some of their friends. There they were, Taposh Da, Mamun Bhai, Harmonium, Tabla, Gaan, a truly breathtaking performance, a wonderful friendship, all tied together in one. I casually sat down to listen but was caught completely speechless. At the end of the evening, I was even given a gift by this dynamic duo! It was a cassette with songs for a show to be held in Feb 2003. I refused, after all, I just met them, how could I accept it? They would not take no for an answer. I was hesitant, yet eager to grab the opportunity, after all, this was a very unique approach to a show unlike any other I had experienced, and that itself in my book was my first encounter to set Amra Kojon apart from all others.
When Taposh Da asked, I casually agreed to become an organizer assuming with group politics and as a new recruit, I would be at the bottom of the list. I enjoyed peforming and loved organizing, so I didn’t want to brush off the idea completely. The first rehearsal was simply overwhelming! I was amazed to see the number of eager performers that turned up. Having no idea how I was going to fit into an already close nit group of friends, I was intimidated, wondering should I back out? That was just the first 5 minutes of the rehearsal. Greeted with warm hugs and big smiles from everyone, I was not even given a chance to have a second thought. Since then, I never had the need to look back or feel like an outsider. The newly made group of friends that I referred to as “them”, quickly became “us”. Amra Kojon was mine just as much as it was everyone else’s. Amra Kojon became very much a part my daily life, as I looked forward to spending each weekend with my new friends; not one, not two, but one hundred of them! The professionalism, discipline, rigor, yet fun and casual rehearsals became an integral part of my weekends. Days and months went by and there came Feb 9th, 2003! With sold out tickets and long lines of people still waiting to get in, gave us a sense of accomplishment like none other. Over 1100 seats were filled? For us? At the end of the show there was not a single soul that did not shed tears of joy. All the hard work had paid off. The evening ended with hugs, tears, laughter and a sense of fulfillment.
That was then, this is now…Amra Kojon, harboring all its energy is ready to come back with full force, better and stronger, to embark on its new journey, the World Tour, starting with the London trip. As we look forward to our new adventure, I always look back at the old memories that I cherish so dearly, cannot help but wonder where I was, and how far I have come through a true learning experience and a journey like none other. As a team, we support each other, sharing each others‘ sorrows and laughter. I find myself rushing to the computer every morning as I look forward to everyday‘s e-mails, forwards, updates, and news from London. Each day holds new hopes and challenges, filled with anticipation, excitement, endless possibilities and an unexplainable drive to conquer it all. We take pride in our prompt action to rise up to all obstacles as we strive for perfection, yet learn from mistakes. What defines us? We are not just friends, we are a family. My biggest pride? The group of talended individuals that I am honored to associate with every day. Its not just the gesture of that first cassette that sets it apart anymore, its many more of these small encounters that create the unbreakable bond we have today. As I stumble through the chaos of every day life, Amra Kojon brings a breath of fresh air; it adds color to my life and makes each day that much brighter.
Taposhda and I were on the phone, talking about the performer list for April 22 show, about rehearsal schedules and about how to coordinate rides to and from
In a moment of inspiration, we just threw around the idea – why can’t we all just chip in and help her with the trip to
I was on the phone with another friend for 10minutes after that. When I came back, my inbox had been filled – a lot of the Amra Kojon family members had jumped in with their contributions – Auditi, Tuhin, Pusha, $25, $50, whatever they can spare. All of us are students or young professionals with limited budgets – yet put in perspective, there’s really not a price you can put on the fun you can have with your close friends!
What’s the point of this entry? Not much. I had had a long day, and had been ready to collapse in a heap of exhaustion past , having worked almost around the clock for hours on end. Yet I felt oddly energized. Excited. Rejuvenated. The speed with which our friends had jumped onto board to make something happen, the spirit of sharing, of trying to make the impractical happen – that’s what makes dreams come true. And Amra Kojon makes dreams come true: through its people. That’s our unique strength. The gift of friendship.
on behalf of Amra Kojon
on behalf of Amra Kojon
You've always wanted to know why Amra Kojon is so unique. What makes the family stick together so tightly, despite such diversity in its members? How can they achieve so much, deliver so much - always?