Shame on me for I had not been able to witness the departed legendary rock musician on stage more than once in my lifetime. He would be around, I told myself; there would be more opportunities, I would console myself. But alas, the rock lullaby singer, the Pied Piper to many of us, young and old, but especially audiences from Generation X, has finally passed away. Rest in peace Ayub Bachchu.
They say the flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long. If nothing else, Bachchu’s career has been an unending array of musical compositions, productions, TV shows and concerts. The man worked relentless hours on his craft and has left an enviable legacy.
Many would consider Ayub Bachchu to have become too mainstream over the years but he remained relevant throughout his musical tenure and what a lifetime of showmanship it has been! Not many musicians have showed such virtuosity with a guitar, those little tricks, and his various improvisations were all a part of the live experience. It added spice, it added more flavor; no two shows seemed the same. I had not come across any individual who had not been impressed or amazed by a live Bachchu experience. The man shook the ground with his guitar and deep, husky voice. Watching him live was reminiscent to witnessing a beautiful orchestrated chaos.
Being a 90’s kid, my introductions to Bachchu’s songs were through my older brother’s album collection. We would play various band musicians’ songs on the cassette player and drift off to sleep to tunes like “Taara Bhora Raate”, “Koshto Pete Bhalobashi”, “Rupali Guitar” and so many more. It was only a matter of time before he would finally leave behind his Rupali guitar for good. But it feels too soon. We wish there was more time.
The man wasn’t impressive looking. A little butch, always adorned with a headgear to cover a receding hairline, almost always casually and comfortably dressed with accessories that label you as a rebel. However, despite his success and legendary standing in Bangladesh’s music, he did not seem to have an inflamed ego. The formidable figure was approachable, amicable; a kind and friendly soul and remained a man of the people and an incorrigible servant to his craft. Bachchu seemed to breathe music. He mentored, performed, composed and was our companion in heart break and sorrow.
He had explored all forms of genres, divulging into Metal music with songs like “Mon Chaile Mon Pabe, Deho Chaile Deho”. His compositions introduced a Mediterranean flavor to Bangla music traversing scales that howled with sorrow and yearning. Even later on in his career, he continued to rediscover himself with the outrageously grungy number “Ami Toh Preme Porini, Prem Aamar Upore Poreche”. The audacity and attitude with which those lines were delivered were intoxicating. With his departed soul, Bangladesh’s music has lost one of its greatest rock musicians and rock patron saints. He may not be with us any longer, but our hearts will continue to play the melody to “Shei Tumi” forever long.