With his legacy etched into the folklore of Bangladeshi music history permanently, here are top 5 facts about Azam Khan.

ILLUSTRATION: YAFIZ SIDDIQUI

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Rock Guru Azam Khan

ILLUSTRATION: YAFIZ SIDDIQUI

Pioneer of modern contemporary pop music in Bangladesh, Azam Khan holds a significant value in Bangladeshi music history. Not one to shy away from carving out a revolutionary presence in the music scene of Bangladesh, Azam khan introduced modern western instruments and infused it with compositions based on the Bangladeshi society of his time. With his legacy etched into the folklore of Bangladeshi music history permanently, here are top 5 facts about Azam Khan.

A freedom fighter

Born in Dhaka in 1950, Azam Khan grew up in capital’s Azimpur. After passing his SSC exam in 1968, he got involved with the mass uprising of 1969 and in 1971 and, got the blessing from his father to go and join our liberation war. After having been trained in India’s Agartala, he fought bravely in the war, as part of the guerrilla team, ‘Crack Platoon’ under Major Khaled Mosharraf in Sector 2. Being the artist he is, he used to sing songs to keep morale high of his fellow fighters at the camp, which ultimately played a part in his transition to becoming a full-time singer post-independence.

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Pioneer of modern pop/rock music in Bangladesh

Once the war ended, Azam Khan decided to trade his weapons for music, forming his band ‘Uccharon’ and was featured in a performance in BTV back in 1972. He understood the need to address the youth of that time, who wanted a more modern approach in music. Thus, he was one of the earliest musicians in Bangladesh who decided to use western instruments like guitars, keyboards and drums and infused them with his brand of catchy music that spoke to the youth unlike any other contemporary musicians of that time.

A part of a fabulous five of pop music in Bangladesh

Azam Khan was part of a movement to reenergize the musical landscape of Bangladesh. Along with him, four other singers also started gaining prominence by fusing western instruments with Bangla pop sensibilities. Together with Azam khan, singers Ferdous Wahid, Fakir Alamgir, Pilu Momtaz and Firoz Shai made pop music in Bangladesh more accessible to people, laying down the foundation for the blueprint of modern-day Bangladeshi music.

Self-taught singer

Azam Khan never took any formal training on music, nor could he play any instrument, but that did not hinder him from becoming one of the most legendary singers of Bangladesh. A self-taught artist through and through, he instead relied on his raw writing skills that came up with songs that spoke to everyday people.

Every song had a story

Azam Khan’s music is more than just catchy tunes; each song tells a story that grips the heart. His biggest hits like “Ore Saleka, Ore Maleka” and “Hei Allah Hei Allah Re” have made audiences fall in love with his unique compositions. However, what sets him apart is his ability to infuse raw emotion into his music. Like his song “Alal O Dulal,” was a humorous tribute to two close friends while the song “Rail liner bostite,” was born from his encounter with starving children on a railway line, where he tried to help extremely starved children suffering from a famine by giving them everything he had on them, but it wasn’t enough for them, and that left him emotionally devastated, serving as a backdrop for the song.

These stories highlight what made Azam Khan so popular among everyday people of Bangladesh, as he could poignantly compose songs from his personal experiences that made people relate with him more, which made him a true ‘Pop Samrat’ in the eyes of people.                                                                                                                                                        


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