Sadness looms over Nabami celebrations as music world mourns Ayub Bachchu’s sudden demise on Thursday. The legendary singer, guitarist and songwriter Ayub Bachchu passed away this morning following a cardiac arrest. The singer, 56, was the founder of one of Bangladesh’s leading bands, LRB (Love Runs Blind).
Bachchu, the lead guitarist of the band, debuted in 1978 with the band Feelings. From 1980 to 1990, he was a member of Souls as lead guitarist. It was in 1991 that he formed his own band, LRB. In 1986, he released his first music album titled ‘Rakto Golap’. He tasted success with his second album titled ‘Moyna.’ Many of his songs including ‘Cholo Bodle Jai’, ‘Ferari Ei Monta Amar’, ‘Ami Koshto Pete Bhalobashi’, ‘Ekdin Ghumbhanga Shohore’, ‘Ekhon Onek Raat’, ‘Hashte Dekho Gaite Dekho’ have been extremely popular.
Sahana Bajpaie, who grew up on the singer’s songs, is heartbroken. “I was 12 when I first realised there is a Bengali musician who plays the guitar like Jimi Hendrix. He was one of the pioneers of Bengali rock music. My teenage was inspired by his music. He became a family friend when I was in Bangladesh,” she said. According to her, he never lived like a rock star despite his stardom. “His simplicity was outstanding. His contributions to music will be remembered by generations to come,” she added.
Music composer and percussionist Bickram Ghosh reminisced his collaboration with the legendary singer. “His passing is such a shock! So young, too soon to go. He was an iconic artist who ruled the hearts of an entire generation. We had collaborated some years back for a Bangla rock fusion show at the Salt Lake stadium.” Describing him as “down to earth” and “rooted”, Ghosh said, “Our stage chemistry was palpable and I remember both of us having great fun while performing. I will always hold dear the fond memories of our collaboration and pray to the Almighty to grant peace to his soul. He will be sorely missed by scores of his fans.”
His ballads, including ‘Shei tumi Keno Eto Ochena hole’, garnered massive popularity among youngsters. “I was in college with I first heard Bachchu bhai singing,” said musician Anupam Roy. “It was 2000 and I remember buying cassettes of LRB. Later, we met several times during our Dhaka tour or whenever he would come to Kolkata,” Roy said.
Recently, he came to Kolkata and performed ‘Tumi jaake bhalobasho’. “He really liked the song. We also performed in Bangladesh. However, we didn’t perform together. He performed after I wrapped up my set. I will really miss him,” he added.
Even those who did not know him personally were fond of him. Musician Prabuddha Banerjee told us that he has been a big fan of his voice. “I found his voice extremely romantic and I always wondered if he could sing Bengali retro numbers. In fact, though he was a rock musician, his style of singing always captured the romanticism of adhunik Bangla gaan,” he said.
Composer Arindom Chatterjee said, “I have grown up on his songs. Not only did he have an amazing voice, but he also managed to capture the curiosity of an entire generation. It’s a big loss for the music industry.”
Brand consultant Roopsha Ray Dasgupta, who personally knew Bachchu, is struggling to come to terms with the news. “’Sheyi Tumi Keno eto ochena holey’ is not just another song to me. It is a part of my life, my nostalgia. It is the first 'Opaar Bangla' song that left an indelible impression in the mind of a teenager. I would borrow our neighbour’s tape recorder and keep listening to it on holidays. I remember rewinding and playing to write the lyrics in the blood-red diary that I maintained.”
Bachchu, she said, was largely a self- taught guitarist. “He chose his own learning path and was very proud of his son. The first day the father-son duo took to stage, he became very emotional. Today is indeed a black letter day for Bangla music lovers of the world. While we were swaying to the rhythm of the Nabami morning ‘dhaak’, one message just shook us up,” she said.
A kind-hearted, witty and supportive heart is often too rare in the world of celebrities, she said. “He was an exception. We had plans to meet before the year ends. I wish he never left so early,” she added.
Composer Indraadip Dasgupta, too, shared his feelings over the singer’s demise. Describing his untimely demise as a “great loss”, he said, “Not only was he a great singer, he also was a wonderful human being. It’s an irreplaceable — both for Bangladesh and India,” he said.