THE URGE TO LIVE
& BEYOND INDIVIDUALS
the journey... still unknown...
Path Chalaar Galpo… Ekhono Ajana..
Bangla band CACTUS has withstood the sandstorm of time and emerged…Victorious? Shaken? Inspirational? Revolutionary?
A group of six members performed their first ever live show on 24th August, 1992, at National Medical College’s Fest Agon, only to be summoned by the judge’s panel to be informed that they were disqualified for the music competition (eastern group song category) owing to their use of western instruments like bass guitar, drums, etc. So the members packed their bags and left the venue with a heavy heart.
Once bitten, twice shy was definitely not the case with these guys- so they found themselves registered for another completion a few months down the line- Spring Fest IITKGP it was! The budding musicians were super excited to compete with their contemporaries.. alas.. enthusiastic heartbeats were dampened by refusal from the organizers who informed them that “bangla songs” were a complete unfit for the western music category.
This gave rise to a seeming paradox of identity crisis- “English e toh amra gaan kori ba korbo na.. harmonium, sitar, tabla o use korbo na.. “ (we will never perform English songs or use Indian classical instruments) .. then what is the identity of our music at the end of the day? How would we showcase our music..?
haye haye uraaner gaan.. haye haye shikorer taan..
thus began the soul searching story of #CACTUS.. and manifested in evergreen numbers like Holud Pakhi..
Amra bheeshon eka baachbo ki baanchbo na morudyaan ki pabo na..
Its surely been a roller coaster ride in the past years..
Withstanding a sandstorm has never been easy.. we have had our share of failures – “broken up” in the colloquial term of the Page3 columns in the face of adversities..
Screwed up performances, washed Cactus’s dirty linen in public with most fall outs in change of line ups, been criticized for being anti national, anti- religion in pursuit of freedom of expression, been hauled down from the stage, lashed at the backstage, almost been robbed of our compositions at production houses, cornered into musical crisis in the midst of performances; only to find ourselves in an oasis from time to time- exhilarated at the thought of several USA tours, a few UK tours and recently a Middle East tour playing our very own chart busters, been a ray of hope to many youngsters or simply played to a throbbing few thousands emancipated on the spirit of rock n roll through our music.
poth cholar golpo… ta ekhono ojanai thekey gechey.. afterall ..
It was never easy being CACTUS..
In the past years, if there is one phrase feedback that has agitated, infuriated, instigated AND inspired us, it is
“Bangla e ki ROCK hoy? Bangla e toh ROCK hoyna….”
IT NEVER END
Passion never die. It grows
stronger every day.
What differentiates a Band from individual artists is the BAND itself. A Band is beyond individual artists and Cactus has been no different to this prerequisite. A change in the line-up is inevitable with every band member’s own growing needs as a musician. As a Bangla Band, Cactus has perhaps had the most controversial discography- our first album “Cactus” published in 1999 was itself a non-existent line up as we have never performed with the same set up on stage.
Enter millennium and we were the first Bangla Band to be featured in a mainstream Bengali movie Nil Nirjane in 2002 with a new line up. The song “Mon” from the soundtrack became extremely popular and is still a crowd favourite. A Hindi version of the song was used as the intro song for Love Story, a TV series in SAB TV. We released our second album titled ‘Rajar Raja’ in 2004. The band with this album moved ahead and incorporated new sounds with the changed line up. Different genres of music were experimented within the album. Buddho Heshechhen and Lash Kata Ghore being examples of classic rock, flirting with folk rock in Bodhu re while Rajar Raja portrays influences from funk rock. Though this album had new sounds, the nostalgic quotient was very much there with songs like Udaaner Gaan, Krishti, Ude Jete Chay and Kamalar Swami representing blues and the psychedelic facet of bangla band sound. Our third album, Tuccho, was released in 2008. With Tuchho, we moved ahead and incorporated new sounds. Different genres of music were being experimented with in the album with new musicians joining the Cactus wagon.
Traces of hard rock was clearly visible. They were then featured in the Rock Street Journal’s February 2009 issue. Tuccho contained the hits “Bhalo Theko” and “Rater Pari”. Cactus became the first ever Bangla Band to celebrate its 18th Birthday in August 2012- a practice which became a rage with contemporaries and an annual pitstop on our calendar, henceforth. 2013 saw the reshuffle of lineup followed by the release of “Blah, Blah, Blah” – the last externally produced album by Asha Audios with experimental numbers. This album was significant in its own ways as we metamorphosed our old numbers like “Mon” “Nil Nirjaney” and “Noah”. We chanced upon the idea of doing something unique for our 25th Birthday in 2017- what gift can surpass the gift of music from musicians to their lifeline other than music itself?! We gifted ourselves a single “Jawler Dhaarey” and produced it ourselves. Our new lineup of 2018 has taken us to travel to the land of cactus-the Sahara Dessert. So yes, poth cholar golpo is still onjana..