BANGLADESH: Dhaka Sessions @ The Bookworm / Indigenous Bangladeshis

That interesting interview with author Saad Z. Hossain from an earlier post was part of a the Dhaka Sessions, a series of interviews and performances at The Bookworm, a really cool little indie bookshop in Dhaka.

Some neat examples include a performance by the Farooque Bhai Project, a pop-funk-hip hop band started by a group of Bangladeshi students at university in Toronto. Really fun, bouncy jams:

Or a Miftah Zaman‘s beautiful mix of Bengali folk mixed with warm acoustic guitar – his music makes me feel like relaxing in a hammock on a summer afternoon.

And F-Minor, Bangladesh’s first female indigenous band – the members are Marma and Garo, and mix their own musical traditions with Bengali folk and guitar.

Bangladesh has struggled with even identifying and recognizing indigenous peoples – many non-Bengali groups, mainly along the borders with Myanmar and Assam, were classified in 2011 as “ethnic minorities” with the government insisting there were “no indigenous people” in Bangladesh.

The difference between “indigenous” and “minority” is actually significant. In any country, indigenous means the group was there first, and other ethnic groups have moved in around / over them, while ethnic minorities are just that, someone belonging to an ethnic group that is not the majority in a country. Indigenous people have claims for self-determination and protection of language, land, and culture.

That language seems to be shifting, with Bangladeshi press praising F-Minor’s success in sharing “indigenous cultural traditions”. The band also takes a broader feminist lens:

As the first female indigenous band of the country, F Minor’s songs strongly emphasises on women rights and women’s independence. “We are not working for the indigenous or tribal people only, we are working for women’s rights, women’s recognition as well,” shares lead vocal Pinky. “We want to talk about women’s lives, their struggles, their achievements through our music.”

Daily Star, “F Minor: Winning hearts through diversity and rhythm

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