That he is the most electric performer in our part of the world is general knowledge stuff by now. What the general audience never got to see is the songwriter self of the man, the intimate side of the rockstar. Rupam would just pick up his guitar and sing - leaving a format, or a song list, or all other things that make a performance a rule-bound affair far behind. Mesmerized to the core, this man is equally as scintillating, if not more, when he drifts along his songs all alone. It would have been unjust to the man, to his audience, and also to the Bangla music scene as a whole if these performances were restricted to only a handful few - the history of Bangla music would miss out on an enigmatic chapter.
Rupam Islam Ekok - Oprokashito Gaan er Shondhya (The 1st chapter)
A little group called "Osohojog", booked a 200 odd capacity auditorium, and nervously went to him and said, "you owe it to your fans, and yourself". It took a little prodding, but then he agreed - the first ever solo show of Rupam Islam was born thus. The rest, as they say, is history. They did not have any other medium than Facebook to promote the event, and boy they did not need anything else either! 180 tickets were booked in a matter of 3 hours! Rupam Islam played live to a packed auditorium on 3rd August. 5 instruments - acoustic guitar, electric guitar, harmonica, ukulele and keyboard; 3 hours and 20 minutes; one man and his repertoire of unreleased songs. Around the theme of death, he made the audience smile, laugh, cry, stand united in protest against social (in)justice, fall in love, nostalgic, determined to fight the odds in a very personal space - a landscape of emotions that mature us into better human beings, compelled towards playing our parts being a citizen of this moment in time. It was nothing short of a journey, an escape to solitude crafted by haunting lyrics and soulful tunes - an incredibly complete performance, yet so very distinctly different from the way the audience are used to seeing him. And they were left screaming for more - so much so that there had to be an encore, which is about as rare in the Bangla music industry as a Rupam Islam solo show !
Teen Ghonta Eka Rupam - Aankora Gaan er Shondhya (The 2nd chapter)
Its decided to take on the challenge and make it bigger, open up to a larger group of people. From a 200-strong audience to a 600-strong audience - pretty much a leap of faith. But there are good grounds for this faith. After Kabir Suman, we have not seen someone perform all by himself, playing all the instruments by himself, singing songs written and composed by himself in Bengal; the 'one man band' space in the Bangla music industry has been quite a void over the last decade, so there is a rightful demand and very little supply of this spectacle.