Tashfia Sui Tashfee
How are you doing music during quarantine?
It's no news that performance arts took a big hit because of the pandemic. However, I try to think positively. I've done some collaborations with some of the most incredible musicians during quarantine and decided to be productive and start working on my originals that I've been planning on, for the longest time. I bought my own small home recording setup because of the pandemic and I've been working from home ever since.
Are you planning on covering new songs?
Maybe. I have plans to sing some of the classic rock songs I grew up listening to. However, at the moment, I've been extremely busy with the original songs I plan to release this year. I'm very excited for those. But, if I get tired of them, I just might do a cover very soon to change the air.
How did you feel about being featured in 'The Telegraph'?
It was a pleasant surprise! I really didn't see it coming. It's amazing to see my growing fanbase in Kolkata, India. It truly makes me happy to see them appreciate my art. It was really nice talking about me and my journey, and about my upcoming collaboration with Ritaprabha Ray.
How did it feel to collaborate with Ritaprabha Ray? Can you talk about your collaboration?
Ritaprabha is a Mumbai-based composer and guitar player who approached me to do a quarantine collaboration. We did Eto Koshto Keno Bhalobashay by Hasan. It was such an amazing experience to work with him. We had an unbelievable musical chemistry. So, despite the fact that he is in Mumbai and I'm in Dhaka, it was no issue and the cover came out great and was very well appreciated. That's why we decided to collaborate with an original song this time. The song is called Jodi Tumi. I can't say much about it since it's still work in progress, but I can't wait to release it soon.
Do you have anything new planned for your music?
Apart from Jodi Tumi, I am currently working on my EP. However, I plan to release the songs one by one as singles. There are also many collaborations going on with Bangladeshi and international artists from India and Singapore. I am also particularly excited about one song with Fuad Almuqtadir in his next project which will be published from TM Records.
Will you continue doing live shows after the pandemic is over?
One thing I realised during the pandemic is that you can never take anything for granted. I used to do very limited shows, but I have made a promise to myself that after the pandemic, I will do more live shows and make more music. Anything can change anytime and you should just do what you love to do in life. And for me, it's music. So, yes, I will definitely do more shows after the pandemic is over. I can't wait for those days to come!
How is your choir practising during the pandemic?
We are not practising during the pandemic. We have months and months of practice from the time before the pandemic, so we made two songs while staying at home. The songs we made were Shadhinota Tomake Niye by Happy and Lucky Akhand, and Mon Shudhu Mon, which was a tribute to the band Souls. We had practised these songs several times before the pandemic, and we learnt how to record the music at home. Then we each recorded our parts and mixed it together. We also made videos of us recording at home.
Aside from the 'Ghaashphoring Choir', do you have any project the readers should look forward to?
The pandemic has really affected a lot of plans I had for this year. I was planning to go on a tour abroad this summer, but the pandemic caused it to get cancelled. I'm a fulltime musician, and I realised that I needed to find an alternative source of earning money as the pandemic is not letting me perform. So, from the second month of quarantine, I started taking online classes for music theory. I also set up a home studio so I can record jingles or voice-overs from home. In the first few months of the pandemic, I had to get used to shifting all my work to home, and now that I am fully adjusted to this setting, I am thinking about releasing an album I have been working on forever. I made this album with international artists from seven or eight countries. It was never my main project, so it was put on hold a lot. It isn't finished yet, but I hope to release it this year.
Do you have any live show planned when the pandemic is over?
I'm not sure if I can still do the tour I was planning to do once all of this is over, but I do plan on doing an online show when I release this album. I have been considering selling tickets for it and doing private shows. But, to do that, I have to make sure that the streaming quality is top-notch, and I also need to have the proper sound equipment for that.
What are your post-pandemic plans?
I haven't thought about something so far ahead, but I think I will do what I wanted to spend this year doing, and that is spreading my music to people around the world.
How have you been spending your time indoors?
I am currently registered for a bunch of classes where they teach Nazrul Sangeet and Rabindra Sangeet. I also have a group of online friends, and we work-out together five days a week. I also sit together with a group of friends who are all writers or poets, and we fix a time every week where we sit and work together. We work on our own projects, and then we show it to each other. But, the thing that consumes my time the most is teaching music theory online. I teach staff notation, and that is something most musicians in Bangladesh don't even know. I think that there are only around twelve people who teach this. My course is designed to enable a musician to express themselves through staff notation. I would say that it's a shorter course designed for musicians.