Lalon is a Bengali folk, rock, and fusion music band originating from Khulna, Bangladesh, mainly influenced by Fakir Lalon Shah. During an exclusive interview with Humayan Kabir (RJ Nirob) at The Daily Messenger's office in Bangla Motor of the capital on October 15, Lalon Band members, Mohonto Sarker (Guitar player), Arafat Bosunia (Keyboard player), Tahjib-Ur-Rashid (Bass Guitar Player), Thein Han Maung (Drummer & Band Leader), and Nigar Sultana Sumi (Lead Vocalist), shared insights into their journey as a band and recent endeavours. Here are some excerpts from the interview:
The Daily Messenger: You have brought Lalon’s songs to the new generation, which was a necessity as well as a bit challenging. But you have managed it. What can you tell us about this achievement?
Lalon Band: It was probably a response to the demands of our time. Even if we had not done it, someone else would have. The seeds of Lalon's philosophy contain the essence of growth. What's crucial is that Lalon Sai’s teachings remain relevant throughout time, which is why the younger generation is drawn to his songs.
Messenger: Despite our country’s rich music heritage, why do we lag so far behind in terms of commercialization on the global stage?
Lalon Band: Our media lags behind the rest of the world, and the same goes for our musical education. We lack institutionalised teaching and practical knowledge. Musicians often learn music on their own. There is a glaring absence of institutionalised education. Although some universities offer music courses, they are not very effective or are quite limited. There are no bachelor courses in audio engineering in Bangladesh. Consequently, music doesn't receive the necessary support to be pursued as a career. This is where the government could play a vital role, similar to what the government of South Korea has done. Additionally, it is also a matter of societal acceptance of music in our country.
Messenger: There have been rumours that all of you in the band use weed. Is this true?
Lalon Band: No, that’s not true. We do not use any kind of substance. In fact, we advocate for a drug-free country. When we perform, we require a tremendous amount of energy, which would be impossible if we were using any substances.
Messenger: Can you tell us about your new song?
Lalon Band: Our new song, ‘Pagal Hoye Pagol Chini Na,’ has been released on Lalon Band's YouTube channel. We hope the audience enjoys it because it reflects what we are passionate about. Moreover, the music video allowed for great artistic freedom.
Messenger: It has been rumoured that your band has had several lineup changes. What can you say about this?
Lalon Band: Actually, we have been a band for 16 years, and after 13 years of playing together, three members chose to settle abroad. I wouldn’t call it a lineup change, but it’s the reality faced by many talented individuals in our country. They have to go abroad for better opportunities despite being a band member of a renowned band.
Messenger: The lead vocalist of a band often receives the most attention. How about the other band members?
Lalon Band: Firstly, it’s a misconception. Those of us involved in making music do it out of passion and love. However, at a certain point, music has to be considered as a source of livelihood, and that’s where it can go wrong. Music is hardly a sustainable profession for the majority of individuals. However, it's also common worldwide for a lead vocalist to be the face of the band. Additionally, every band member has the freedom to explore their individual talents, without restrictions. For example, someone can compose music and become a well-known figure, much like AR Rahman.