The story of Blues Brothers & Soul Sister in BD

Blues Brothers & Soul Sister team in one frame--(from left) Imran Rabbani, Mithun Dey, Wahida Hussain, Bikash Roy, and Nahyan Imam
Blues Brothers & Soul Sister team in one frame--(from left) Imran Rabbani, Mithun Dey, Wahida Hussain, Bikash Roy, and Nahyan Imam

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A Bangladeshi singer singing her heart out with songs like ‘sweet summer o’ mine’ on a stage of Bangladesh is not a familiar scene to us. The stage is not just decorated with a talented singer or a group of skilled instrument players, it is also enriched with other ornaments such as perfect colour, the right light, the enthusiasm of a perfect ambience. They are the ‘Blues Brothers & Soul Sister’ for us.

In the 1980s, a musical film was released with the name of ‘Blues Brothers’ and the artists that worked in the film somewhat influenced this band to form. But the ‘Soul Sister’ aka Wahida Hussain, the present lead vocal joined during the Covid-10 pandemic in 2020. To Wahida, in this period almost everyone got a chance to explore their own passion and identity and she was no exception. She left her 9-5 job at radio to be a full-time singer. At this date, she feels amazed to even think of the adventure she threw herself in. But the journey was definitely worth it, or even more for her as she improved herself as not only a singer, but also a thrilling performer.

This band started back in the year of 2010 and in this journey of fourteen plus years is nothing but a passionate adventure for the members. Imran Rabbani, a founding member of the band believes that it was like mindedness among them that inspired them to start in the first place. They are very certain about the music they play– “We are not into Hip-hop, we are not into Hard rock or pop songs, we are solely into blues music with a lot of Jazz influence.”

The diversity of professional backgrounds of the members is quite surprising. There is a banker, a chartered accountant and a disaster risk expert, a former teacher and a radio jockey and so on. But beyond their individuality of a profession, the passion for music exceeds it all and brings them under one roof to play as one team. The balanced harmony between the members is what keeps them united just for their love for it, not any other incentive. The spirit of showmanship lies within their hearts.

All these years, they have improvised not only the music but also themselves as artists. The shyness of being in front of people, not understanding the technicalities of a live performance has evolved into a confident, experienced set of band members who are now invited to the corporate events every now and then. The transformation of the group saw many addition-subtraction of the members till date and many former members are now well established in their musical career.

They desire to bind music with fashion and present to the audience not only a song, but also a full-packed performance. Every light or every colour that has been chosen to incorporate– has to sync with the music they play and for them, there is no compromise with that. Even the dress they wear carries a reflection of the message they believe in, ‘sophistication’ in a word.

The Blues Brothers & Soul Sister offers a mix of some classic selections of Jazz, Blues, Funk, Soul songs from 60s to 90s, featuring Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Elvis Presley, Eric Clapton, Frank Sinatra, John Denver, John Lennon, Leonard Cohen and many more. They are more into easy listening numbers as they do not want to burden their audience with something heavy. They want the listeners, or even viewers of the performance, to feel happiness when they are in touch with this band.

The experience of the band members imply that the audience of the events they have performed till now have been mostly thrilled. They were also also surprised, as there is no other substitute of the same genre of music in Bangladesh. But they are not all about being exclusive with Jazz or Blues culture, they wish it to expand and popularise more and more.

At present there are five members in the band. Imran Rabbani plays multiple musical instruments such as piano, organ, saxophone and blue harmonica. Nahiyan Imam is the lead guitarist, Wahida Hussain is the lead vocalist. Bikash Roy talks on the beats of drums and Mithun Dey plays the bass guitar.

While reading about this exclusive band, one may think about them being not so popular in our country. How does it work for the audience? As Imran states, “The audience is like a food lover. You have to provide them with good food and they will start developing the taste for it.” And they already have a very established niche set of audiences from different embassies, corporate organisations and conglomerate business spheres along with private events.

This band is all about doing regular practice and selecting the proper songs to perform. While some of their first originals are still in work, at present they are focusing on the cover songs with a very special touch of their own by keeping the originality untouched. When the right time comes, they are hopeful to release their own songs– all written and composed by the Blues Brothers & Soul Sister.

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