Saturday, April 29, 2006

Midnight Bulletin

This is friday midnight...the weekend after the show...atiq'm not reading a midnight bulletin to you...just saving you the effort to scroll down to see who it is....rather than thanking everyone involved in the show I prefer to express my gratitude toward everyone to make it an enormous success. I feel honored to be a part of such a unique and one of a kind event. I specially would like to acknowledge the roles the behind the scene people played. Taposh da, Sujan, Tuhin, Fawad, Naina, Auditi, Pusha, Sujan (MIT), Noreen....and the list continiues.......jobab nei tomader......and of course the performers.......I know...Amrakojon is a such a close knit family that thanks and acknowledgements are hardly enough to capture its grace but I wanted to share my thoughts anyway.......Soon we'll be preparing for the London show....and I know Amrakojon will continue its journey to simultaneously setting standard and raising the bar.....last but not least....Tuhin is moving to CA this Sunday.......I don't want to say he will be greatly 'missed'........because the feeling in 'missed times 100'....don't seem to find a word in english or bangla to express it....we really need to add some new words in modern languages...our best wishes with you Tuhin :)

-Atiq Rahman
on behalf of Amra Kojon

Thursday, April 27, 2006


My Lalu could say things that you couldn't quite believe. He would spin his precious yarn of tales about his childhood and adolescence, that would sound so wild, so remote and, therefore, quite incredible. He had us in stitches when I last saw him in Dhaka, telling my wife and me about how strict his father had been when he was growing up, and all the ways he got punished for his waywardness.

And all his unbelievable conspiracy theories about American foreign policy, Israel, 9-11! Very interesting indeed, but hard to believe. And if you know him like I do, you had to wonder - could it be true?

Lalu, of course, is what I call my youngest "Khalu". Its a thing I picked up as a child, calling him Lalu and his wife - my mother's youngest sister - Lala. And I never lost it. Lalu wouldn't let me.

After 14 years of marriage, Lala-Lalu were blessed with a beautiful son too. But before him, they doted on me. Lala still calls me 'boro chhele' (older son).

Lalu - the life of the party. Loud, raucous, rambunctious and humorous. Full of love and laughter. But being a barrister's son, he would never lose an argument. It was hard to hold any stance against his.

My Lalu died last weekend, during AK rehearsals, of a heart attack. I can't believe it.

I couldn't cry that day, for some reason. Maybe it was the presence of all the friends around me. The air of positivity we revel in. Or maybe I just didn't want to believe it. Like many of Lalu's stories, maybe I was hoping this would just be such an incredible episode.

But as I write this today, I cry, knowing that I have lost my Lalu forever.

But I still can't believe it.

- Sujan Bin Wadud
on behalf of Amra Kojon

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

shoutout to the backstage people.

Had to share excerpts of this email exchange with you guys:

Taposhda wrote us an email, thanking us for backstage support and volunteering. To which, Sujan Kabir replied, “Three cheers for Taposh'da...Hip Hip........................Three cheers for Amra Kojon...Hip Hip.........................

Commenting on the event will be patting our backs, so let others do that. It was fun, will always be cherished, specially the new ties and bonds we just made :-) Amra Kojon is a large family in the true sense."

Taposhda countered with a shout-out to Tanvir bhai, “And my dear Bondhu Tanvir: All this personal emotional talk goes to you too. I know Noreen was pretty upset with you and Sujan for AK related over work!!! Thank God, your wife was not in Boston.
Welcome to AK family my friend. Aami bhalo bhabe kotha bolty likhty pari naa, aamar okkhomotaa etaa [I can not speak or write well, that’s my shortcoming]. But mone mone tomaader sobaar mongol kamonaa kori [But at heart, I wish the best for you all]. What ever all of us did, its not for me or ak or for us...its for our bangladesh, for our motherland, jaar kachee aamder ontoheen reen [for our motherland, to whom we are indebted infinitely].

Noreen: Here is your husband Sujan, take him back to your life again...keep him for next two months. Will borrow him again from August 2006, hee hee heeee.....”

Noreen apa quick replies, “What??!?!? August 2006?? We never talked about August Taposhda! Oh wait, I won’t even be in Boston, okay, do with him what you will, but I want him back in early September again!”

Sujan bhai writes in, “Bhai aar bon-er majhe aami "shuttle cork"! "Keep him" "take him" choltase. Ki aar korum! [I’m the shuttle cork between the brother and the sister! What can I do?] BTW: How are other 2 AK Sujans' doing!”

Sujan (ATM) writes back, “Hey, Sujan-bhai, I'm doing well.
Just got back home and am reading this thread of mails.
It was all a whirlwind of an event. Looking back, it seems like a dream,...well, borderline nightmare because of the pressure! With the responsibility of the "Sound of Music", I probably looked the most grumpy on stage. Taps tried to get me to smile, with his warm and encouraging "Has na, shala!" but to no avail. Also, I messed up many things. But next time will be better - there will be 4 keyboards for me alone! I'm just kidding. (Or am I?)

Anyway, here's a suggestion for Taps - we know how important backstage is to the main show, so why not bring the backstage to the front (say, at the end), and highlight the backstage crew in an elegant way? They deserve to be seen by the audience, to give them a sense of the sheer magnitude of work behind some of these shows, and for us to express our gratitude for being able to stand on their able shoulders and sing. After all, Amra Kojon isn't just the 20 or so singers and a few musicians, but much much more.

Anyway, Taps, thanks for creating this platform for us. I feel very proud to be a part of it. You da man!”

I had to pipe in, “I vote for glass backstage walls, sound proof though, and then at one point, we airlift the glass walls away, and reveal the chaos and madness behind scenes. :) hahahaha.

Sujan bhai - there were no messups that you guys all didn't deal with exceptionally well.

Frankly speaking, and you guys might hate me for saying this, but I feel that we're focusing a bit too much on "highlighting" those who made the production possible. In my view - we all wanted to do something fun, present something aesthetically pleasing, and share bangla gaan with our audience. Wwe did that. Doesn't matter who helped - we were all in it for our personal satisfaction and not for the recognition. Acknowledgment and recognition gets into the tricky game of "who did we leave out" and other icky areas I love to avoid :) but that's only me.

Alright, now for the next one week - I forbid all AK show related thanks, acknowledgments and the like. We need to all focus on recharging, strategizing for the next projects, and surging forward. Yes, part of that can not come without learning from our experiences, but I think Taposhda needs this week and the weekend TOTALLY off from AK life and AK. Just sleep, eat, and vegetate. Everything else, we will handle, and keep going.”

A quick support from Nadia, “I second Naina, 210%. Everyone, please vegetate.”

Yet almost simultaneously, the jhari pours in from Fawad, “Naina, Two words. Be quiet. Who needs to rest anyway? (This comes from the person who didn't make it to the afterparty since he was too tired.. hehehe) I am up and ready for our next array of rehearsals. So damn excited and ready to kick ass, not even funny. As far as Taposh da goes….. we all know he doesn't need to eat, drink OR sleep. And asking him not to think of AK for a week is like asking him not to breath for a week (even worse, smoke). Anyway, I can't wait to watch a recording of our show. Any words on when where and how???

Sujan (ATM), Tumi jodi maiya hoita [if only you were a girl]..... ok never mind.. hehehe

Hope to see you guys soon.”

My quick reply, “Recording of our show - ETA at least a week from now. Our direct audio capture from the first half of the show was "burnt out" - so we've requested the audio track from ATN Bangla, and it will take them a few days to get it to us, and then Chip will do the video editing and prepare a DVD. One week, 10days from now.

Show pictures - Auditi and I took some that are ready for viewing – by the end of the weekend. The professional pictures will take a bit more time - we expect that the photographers will give us their collection by the end of this week.

Performer profile pages will be up soon. for a sample, click on "Abhijeet Bhutra" from the show page, you will see what I mean. Fawad mia - profile dao [give me your profile].

I'll be quiet, promise. but "da man" needs to recharge.

For antsy performers who want to do more RIGHT NOW - send me your profiles, send me blog entries, send me notes on the songs you sang, so we can put it in the description section under each mp3 clip :) I know this email isn’t going to reach the performers, but I will rely on Fawad bhai's exuberance to call people/email them and badger them for profiles, blog entries and song descriptions :)”

Feedback from our visiting audience from Bangladesh

Dear Taposh and everyone of "Amra Kojon",

This is to convey our heartiest congratulations and appreciation for the
performance of "Amra Kojon" held on April 22 ,2006.
It was an excellent and well managed programme and outstanding performance
of each of the participants impressed us very much.
It was above and beyond our expectation to have enjoyed such a quality
programme in a far away land with a limited resource base.
Please keep up your efforts for continued improvement and excellence. We
pray and hope that some day the name and fame of "Amra Kojon" will spread
far and wide and will bring glory not only to its participants but also to
Bengali music and culture.

With best wishes,
Nilufer Karim
Dr.Abdul Karim

more audience feedback

Dear taps!!!! my thanks to you again for this most wonderful show; I really enjoyed it a lot -- that girl Jhilmil was so cool and her expressions are so cutre!! my god! Patrick enjoyed it a lot too; I enjoyed each and every song because I could relate to them and of course many of these I have heard before and hearing them with your wonderful instrument coordination was just out of this world; as for Patrick, he told me he really liked the songs where there was a rise and fall or cadence of beats like the Raag, Jhilmils' two songs, Atik's songs -- however for the slightly slower, mournful song! s, he could not tell the difference --- that was his feedback -- though overall, he was very happy to be able to come; I was also able to speak with another girl who is not from bangladesh but is heritagewise bengali -- so she said that although some of the songs were so wonderful and touched her, the fact that there were so many solos one after the other became a little monotonous -- I just wanted to tell you this as some people did find the continuous solos a little too lengthy. if it could be interspaced with maybe one dance piece betwen each solo segment -- thats just a commenty i heard and i wanted to share it with you.
But I think people who really love bengali songs appreciated each and every song
because they were all so rich in content and each performer is so talented;

- Farah Zaheer,
on behalf of Amra Kojon

Audience feedback starts pouring in

Much awaited audience feedback that we want to share with you all:

"Dear Taposh Da,

I just wanted to let you know how good the Boishakhi show was! It was a great treat to listen all these rich melodious bangla songs. I do not know all the performer's names but Nadia, Mukta (both), Sujan, Nita, Niva, the person who sang "Moina Go" and the person who sang "Ami Mela Theke Taal Pata er" - Hats off to all of them! The stage looked great and the total presentation was awesome! Thanks a lot.

Fida Hasan"

At the show and after

Again, I have to share this email a few of us received from Pusha:

"How am I feeling today? Ek kothaye proud! [In one word, Proud!] This time the show gave me an opportunity to work with some of the most wonderful individuals that I did not get to work with in the past. I only got to capture the first few minutes of the show. I saw everyone line up with “Ami Banglaye Gaan Gai” playing in the background and that was it. I came out of the auditorium with tears rolling down my cheeks as it brought back many fond memories of 2003. AK is a reflection of everyone’s hard work, their dreams, and their passion for music and it gives a true meaning to what team work is all about. The fact is, I did not need to see the rest of the show because I was happy and fulfilled within the first few minutes. It allowed me to work very closely with two of AK’s soldiers this time: Tuhin/”kash” and Sujan Kabir. While everyone did their best, I will not even attempt to thank people because that is something only Taps is good at, but I do have to say a few words about some of the individuals that made an impression during that weekend.

Tuhin/”kash”: The more pressure, the more calm you get. I have never met anyone who can remain so focused and composed under so much pressure (Taps, don’t fire me for telling the truth! he he he)…I think you should forget Red Roof Inn, and consider yourself an employee at the Shaptaak Inn!

Sujan Kabir: We were really the “bad guys” at the show. But you were absolutely terrific at handling everything that day, most certainly better than me! I had no choice but to direct people to you! he he he..

Sohini: Thank you so much for your kind words and a big hug backstage. Yes, once again that day, your words brought tears to my eyes.

Audi: The only one who noticed that I didn’t get to eat and got dinner for me. Thank you!

Abhijeet/Naina: Thank you for making sure I was not lost on friday and for calling me up every few minutes to sweet :-)

Taps: Thank you for the opportunity that allows me to meet such great people. I may not always be able to make it to all the fun parties, but you can always count on me at other times when I’m needed.

Lots of love,
P :-)

- Pusha Karim,
on behalf of Amra Kojon

How am I feeling - II

This is part of our email exchanges from April 21, before the show, from Abhijeet:

These songs like shaat bhai champa...are not only in my head all the time, but they almost got me killed last Saturday morning.

so, we have all had neighbors who play loud music the night before you have an exam, interview or something very important the next day...and practicing with all the musicians and performers in AK family (whom Tapushda calls amateurs for some reason, I still cant figure out why...) is not easier than writing any exam.

so anyways, this black guy (african american guy) lives in the apartment below mine, who is always playing loud music until I start jumping in my apartment like a mad man dancing to Koi Kahe Kahta Rahe song...

to make long story short, I am half asleep at 9 on saturday morning only after sleeping at 5 (after 8 hours of practice all friday night) and I knock on this guys door, cursing like anything and at the same time wondering that this guy playing shaat bhai champaa doesnt sound right.....and the guy walks out and beats the shit out of me saying why the $%@# did you wake me up at 9 on a Saturday morning...of course he wasnt playing any music and all this was only in my head...

and BTW, for you people who wrote stuff in Bangla in this email exchange, SAME TO YOU!

see you all tomorrow. get some sleep people.

- Abhijeet Bhutra,
on behalf of Amra Kojon

Saturday, April 22, 2006

How am I feeling?

How am I feeling? Like I'm single! Sujan has been in an AK world the last week
or so.

The other day he needed to go get printouts after we had come home.
Normally he tells me before going somewhere, but this time the only way I knew he was gone was the slamming of the front door!

Today I was talking to him on the phone and all of a sudden the line
went dead. I call back, it goes to voicemail. I call the home number "I'm talking to
Tanvir" *click*

Taposhda, after tonight I want my husband back!!! :-)

- Noreen Zaman,
on behalf of Amra Kojon

The show is in a day!

These are my feelings the day before the show:

I am very very excited to be part of the Amra Kojon venture this time
around! It has been great fun for me to attend the jamming parctice sessions
at Shaptaak Bangla House. I have learnt a lot from fellow singers and
musicians. I am also amazed to see such great passion for the love of Bangla
music and devotion to our culture among the Amra Kojon team. I am looking
forward to tomorrow's show as I will be able to enjoy and see the whole
thing to come alive, I am also scared that I will be lost on my way to the
auditorium and will not even make it to the show....

- Sabina Ahmed, Tani
on behalf of Amra Kojon

Friday, April 21, 2006

The day before.

The show is tomorrow. I'm so excited – I really want to see what the finished production will actually turn out to be like. What are the others thinking? Are they excited, nervous, tense? I wanted to find out – so I asked. Here are some excerpts:

Abhijeet was the first to reply, within a few minutes of the email going out, “tense :-( I am trying to convince Shafaq to play for me in all songs...haha.”

Himi wrote, “I know who would want to write a lot!!!! MY MOTHER !!!!! about getting casted as a volunteer... he he he”

Jhilmil answered, “Honestly, I think I'm most nervous about the thought that my sari is going to fall off on stage... or that I'll trip over it going to the mike!”

Sujan Kabir wrote back, “This girl......Jhilmil......I am yet to get introduced to, and the song she's going to sing (Ta, ta......) is banging inside my head since morning today. This is Sujan (MIT). I shouldn't have gone for the rehearsal on 15th. Now I eat, drink & sleep Amra Kojon”

Nadia perked in, “Jhilmil, same with audi and me -- for the few minutes we see of each other during the week, we spontaneously break into singing Pa, Pa Ma Ga Re Sa! What have you done!”

The voice of reason and reassurance comes from Tuhin bhai, “I am not worried at all. Those of you are worried "I got your back". A Kuna Ma Ta Ta. “

Shafaq wrote, “Me, I have "Shat Bhai Chompa" stuck in my head. Especially the interludes. Last Friday night I went to sleep with the 'ta na na na na' stuck in my head, and Saturday morning I woke up with the song still firmly lodged in my head. I listened to the song at least 25 times on my way back to New York from Boston. Ektu ghumai, ektu gaan shuni [I sleep a bit, and I listen to the music for a bit]. And guess what, even now I can't get it out of my head.

He khoda [Oh God]. Someone save me. Please.

Da na na na
na na na
jabo na jabo na jabo na re
da na na joubon jala
tomay deke deke shara
da na na na


Tanvir bhai wrote, “Initially, Sujan bhai more or less coerced me into buying a ticket for this show. Then I found out that my wife’s cousin, Anila, will be performing so I got the ticket to see her. Now I am finding myself working as a volunteer....Amazing transition for me....hahahaha. “

Past 2am Auditi wrote, “How strange, do people on this list never sleep?” leading to a string of an entertaining late-night exchange.

This morning, Himi wrote, “For some reason I have Mukta's 'jete dao amaye dekona' stuck in my head. That's what I am singing all day. I can't wait for the after party!”

Tuhin bhai chimed in, “T - 31 hours and 18 minutes.”

Pusha wrote, “This is one active group!!! Lots of energy, no desire to sleep...perfect for AK! verrrrrry excited about tomorrow!”

Jhilam wrote, “Sujan... it's true, I don't think I've met you. Yet from the sound of all these emails, you've been to all these rehearsals. How did I miss you? Were you hiding under the keyboards? To all of you- I apologize... my songs are completely stuck in everyone's heads... and I can't imagine the kind of banging Dhe Dhe Ta Dhe Ta Dhe will cause in people's heads if it's on replay! Thank god I get to sing it and just get it out of my system! haha.”

Later on, I was speaking to Abhijeet on msn messenger, and he commented, “I am not really tense for the show, but I am tense for 'after the show', since the beating would be all after the show based on how good/bad you performed....”

There's this vibrant energy in the air somewhere. I have a splitting headache from not sleeping much throughout the week, and yet its fun to blast music in Taposhda's dining room as we work frantically trying to make posterboards, checking last minute packing details and figuring out logistics of trying to move a few truckloads of decoration material from Providence to Boston.

on behalf of Amra Kojon

Our Promise

David, We could not say it any better. You just said what had been hidden in our heart. I welcome you again as part of our family where “all for one, one for all”.

For those of you who will be on stage, I want to promise you on behalf of Naina, Auditi, Pusha, Noreen, Sujan and the team, “ We will make you look good”. You guys knock everybody down with your voice, your bits, and your piano. We will impress the hell out of them by our decor, presentation, and professionalism.

We will set the standard for the world of Bangla music and let the other follow.

on behalf of Amra Kojon

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Amra Kojon, The Ideal Bangla Nation

Amra Kojon defies description. You have to be there, feel it and LOVE
music to know what AK is. But since I've been gently nudged *wink* by
Naina and Taposh da to write up something on AK, here it is.

If there were ever a true, ideal Bangla nation, it would be AK because
AK is what Bangla nation should be: self-less hospitality, crazy
passion for Bangla culture, infectious merryment and pride in being a
Bengali.......and all this without any of the religious/political
narrow-minded nonsense that afflicts most Bangalis! As far I am
concerned, AK is more home to me than Bangladesh. At AK, we worship
Bangla culture, we uphold Bangla ideals and we passionately sing
Bangla songs!
What more could a Bangali girl like me ask for? :)

Thank you SO much for bringing me into your family, AK!

- Faarzein Mahmud,
on behalf of Amra Kojon


I dont really know what to say because other people are so eloquent about their feelings and experiences in being part of the amrakojon family and I am not! But i will say this...Amrakojon to me is about memories. I have memories of the rehearsals that we used to have for the 2003 show...sitting in the corner with Afreen...and trying not to get caught while we whispered to each other. Getting yelled at by Taposh da and Mamun uncle because we got caught. I have memories of the show, of being exhausted but so amazingly happy that we pulled off such a great show. I have memories of laughter and joy, of getting to know new people and of strenthening old ties. Now with our new show and London trip and the world tour...i look forward to creating more memories ...filled with love and music:)

- Tahira Sharmeen, Ruhina
on behalf of Amra Kojon

sharing an email

Sometimes I feel that a glimpse into our email inboxes is the only real way to get to know the emotion, sacrifices and the strong bond of friendship that keeps Amra Kojon together. From time to time, I'm going to use the blog here to share an email or two precisely for that purpose - to show you guys what AK really means to those who work with the team.

Here is a short email that Mahdi bhai sent to Taposhda this morning.

on behalf of Amra Kojon

"yes, Boss. I have done so far 11 T shirts, I/2 Back screen, 1/2 both
boards, haven't start with orange sari, I will finish back screen and board
tonight and yes we will be able to finish our Back screen at Morse school
tomorrow by the evening. Tshirt and Sari will be finished by Friday
midnight. after long time feeling like working for "UTTORON" was
my AmraKojon at BM College. Some tears on my
Thanks Taposh Da letting me do this work. It has been long time I haven't
touched "Tuli & Rong"...........Now I remember Badol Bhai ( My Guru) ,
Partho Da ( My Light house), Roton( half of me), Udichee. Im crying Taposh
Da...............Thanks. After 10 years you made me cry."

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Rehearsal pictures

Selected pictures from the Rehearsals are being uploaded now. Check:

on behalf of Amra Kojon

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Steps of 391 Hope

I sat down on the cement front steps of 391 Hope Street and breathed in the fresh air and blinked at the warm afternoon sun. I looked at my watch, was it already 6:00 PM? How had I missed the whole beautiful day? I thought back through the weekend. Fuwad picked me up at 6:30 PM last night from my Boston apartment, and there I was 24 hours later, with about 4 hours of sleep, ears drumming and blood pulsing in Bangla music and the Amra Kojon spirit. I even smelled like Amra Kojon. Don't ask me- I can't describe it... but there is a smell to the hours of keyboards, harmoniums, tabla powder, people singing into reverbing mikes and Indian food all meshing together. Where did the time go?

Others slowly followed me outside, blinking into the sunlight and plopping down onto the steps in exhaustion. It was beautiful. Everyone was happy to be there... to feel exhausted from playing music. And Naina was happy to be snapping away at us with her camera outside and not have to worry about the flash! It's nice to feel like we've used all of our senses for hours and hours at a time. It made us feel alive until we were tired but proud of what we had accomplished. Yet, there is an antsy feeling in the air as well. The show is exactly one week away and there is still much to be done. Everyone feels like a little more effort would allow for even more quality, but we also know we've done our best for now. We know that we still have a week to make everything perfect for the show- and it is so nice to know how many people are invested. It's sold out and even more are wanting tickets!

- Jhilam Biswas
on behalf of Amra Kojon

From sunny NoCal

There's a saying in Bangla, "Killing two birds with one stone". Likewise, this trip east-ward representes a fulfilment of many goals for the three of us. First and foremost, we get to see everyone! It's been almost 3 years since we departed Beantown and took the Northern trail to sunny NoCal. Second, it gives everyone the opportunity to meet one of the newer members of the "Kojon" family; Zaif. :) Just what kind of participant he will be - well y'all will find out soon enough, Insh'Allah. Finally, this trip is about music. It's been a while since the stubby fingers typing these words have participated in a righteous jam session; 'Kojon will fix that I hope. And in the end isn't that what Amra Kojon is all about? A few honest souls making honest music? I am excited, Munazah is excited, and Zaif is excited. Borrowing from "that" quote: "music fills all our hearts!"

- Razab Q Chowdhury
on behalf of Amra Kojon

Monday, April 17, 2006

Shoes and cold feet

I was chatting with Pusha today and marvelling at the joy of being able to do that in person again. We were talking about what great team spirit AK has. When Taps tells us that no one gets to wear shoes on stage, there is no argument about whose feet will get cold and whatnot. We understand that we are being told to maintain the uniformity of the team. We understand, without being told, that those who look shorter without their heels will just stand in the front. There is no room for grandstanding, but that does not mean that we just accept what is said without independent thought.

Taps asked me to sing songs of his choice for the show. Upon learning that I was tired of singing the same songs over and over again, he allowed me to present alternatives until one met with his and Sujan Bhai's approval. What was implicit for all of us was that I would sing the original selection if nothing else worked because others were already singing similar songs or if the music would be too hard to coordinate at this stage. I had no problem with that, and Taps certainly didn't. I appreciated that Taps was willing to listen to me and understood my desire to do something different and thus more interesting to me. At the end of the day, though, we do what's best for the team, and that goes for all of us. We look out for one another and we welcome with open arms, people who understand and appreciate the concept of teamwork. It seems that all my blog entries about about how we are family. We really are lucky to have more than one each.

- Sohini Alam,
on behalf of Amra Kojon

I quit

Ok here how it goes. AK’s show is coming soon in few days. We have lots of things to do. This will be one of the best shows ever. With all this exciting things happening it is very hard not to stay away for it. Every day we are singing, making lists, sending emails, making plans etc, etc. I thought with all this happening there is no point wasting time at work. So this is what I did. I QUIT!!!!

Now I can spend my 100% time with AK’s show. There is one thing though which I did not think about.


- Dewan Kashem (Tuhin)
on behalf of Amra Kojon

It's good to be back

I am reminded of what makes us family. It's more than rehearsals. It's washing dishes for the stream of people coming through, as you would at home. It's working around the bedding situation so that everyone fits under the covers. It's making tons of food so that no one goes hungry. It's making a dash for the table so that you can get some food before it's gone. It's forgetting to make that dash because you were so engrossed in the music. It's being too happy to sleep and too hyper to sit still. It's catching up with old friends and making new ones in the blink of an eye. It's smiling and crying at the same time at the thought that if Taps were given $500 and asked to choose between buying something for AK and heating his house during a cold Providence winter, he'd choose the former....and Nita Di wouldn't bat so much as an eyelash at the notion. Wow, it's good to be back.

- Sohini Alam
on behalf of Amra Kojon

Playing Bengali Music with Amra Kojon

Charlie Parker wrote: “Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn. They teach you there's a boundary line to music. But, man, there's no boundary line to art.” This made sense to me and I thought I understood it, but then I played with Taposh.

This week during practice I felt the vibrations of thousands of years of songs and stories and wishes and rainstorms. When all the singers broke into the opening chorus, I recognized the passion in all their voices. Their bodies were gently swaying and mixed in with sweat and notes and foot-tapping then, there came some tears. At first they seemed to sneak out of her eyes, and then after playing hide-and-seek they poured out loud and joined the bellows of the music. Taposh noticed and without any hesitation he embraced her and he too began to cry. These were tears of joy, of memories, of possibilities, of days of hunger and days of plenty, of travelers, of friends, and of souls who know each other. After a few more seconds of music, others began to cry; they struggled to keep on singing with that lump in their throat. This I knew: the pain of losing someone, the passion of the first kiss and the excitement of the ones that will follow, the touch of renunciation, the smile of a stranger, the notes that my soul has been chanting for a millions of years. I stopped being a foreigner, a Colombian, an outsider; this I knew. And like that, the Bengali music was born in me.

Forget about the accents, the key signature, the scales, the bars, the measures, the patterns, the rigid ways of melodies; leave behind the structure of songs and let go of the mechanics and then, then you’ll be playing Bengali music with Amra Kojon. Like being found by the love of your life, who you’ve been searching for in silence all your days and nights, like holding her hand, like that, just right.

- David Upegui,
on behalf of Amra Kojon

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Note from Albany

Amra Kojon was an idea, then became reality! Thanks to Taposhda and many others for bringing everyone together. This past weekend, more people joined the group and it feels like we are getting better and stronger. What seemed impossible is starting to feel easy to do if we can all stick together. The best thing about Amra Kojon is that there are so many of us from all over, and everyone has something to bring to the group! The talents are incredible. We were all mesmorized by Modhumita's songs. We appreciate each other and can learn from each other, the group is unique because its deciplined but at the same time a lot of fun and the most informal group in terms of food, staying togehter, cooking and cleaning together. A big thanks to Naina for cooking such big meals this weekend, there were countless number of people who always show up at AK house and feels welcome instantly. Its where we meet friends and find out about each other's common friends from Dhaka (Nadia and Me:), this is probably the only place where a non-bengali wakes up in the morning and takes charge of the whole kitchen and cleans it up after there were 70+ people who ate the night before. Thanks to Liana. Thanks to Atiq for driving 5 people from RI to Boston when the sun was rising at 6 AM and dropping each of them to their homes and getting home at 7:30 AM. This is all crazy, but thats who we are and we just love it!!

-Shaila Zaman Dina
on behalf of Amra Kojon