There is something about losing yourself in music in a third world country. Sublime.
When visiting Bangladesh, it wasn't always a bowl of roses. I was a lone, naive and inexperienced traveller who, armed with mock bravado, often dealt with hairy situations. I was even warned off by one person who accused me of trying to socially mobilise poor people and ruining Bangladesh's heritage. My response? Yes, I am.
But I slowly learnt who was genuine, dug out the authentic good food, cut out the con men and hung out with the folks who never met foreginers, and witnessed their everyday beauty, it was bliss.
For every awful bed I slept on, (as I often slummed it), to the crazy traffics jams, the distress and heartbreaking stories I would hear from kind, poor folks smiling and pleading for help, it was worth it. I would return to my room, and turn to my favourite musicians.
These are the artistes I would listen to, while Dhaka and Sylhet's sights and sounds would rage on outside my hotel window. Thank you, thank you.
Anythign and everything by Coldplay, U2, Simpel Minds, Bombay Bicycle, Bob Marley, The Cure, The Smiths, Maximo Park, Keane, Divine Comedy, The Editors, Imagien Dragons, Ludovico Einaudi, Peter Gabriel, Maccabees, Brian Eno, David Bowie, Stereophonics, Bombay Bycycle, Nelly Furtado, Deacon Blue, Prince, Vampire Weekend, Damien Rice, Lana Del Ray, Florence & The Machine, Shakira, Abba, Radiohead, Hemant Kumar, Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshker, Fleet Foxes.
Other wicked tracks:
Jamelia - Thank you.
The Cure - Picture Of You.
Simon Webbe - No Worries & Lay Your Hands.
Nelly Furtado - Turn Off The Light.
Donna Summer - State Of Independence
Other people who inspire me.
Angelina Jolie, Princess Diana (RIP), Mohammed Yunus, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Shakira, Bianca Jagger, Mia Farrow, Nelson Mandela. I'd track and watch your activities on YouTube whenever I faltered.
People who helped me.
Bipul Ranjan Datta, security manager at Sylhet Airport who kept me safe during political strikes and street protests, Sanaul Hoque Choudhury, Sylheti driver Mamun, entrepreneur and hotel owner Nazim Kamran Choudhury, the Dean and his team of professors at Agricultural University of Sylhet, Mrs Ferdaus Ara, ceo of BUILD. Mina, Ira, Rocky Mahmud, Rustum, Shuhag.
And the entire villagers such as Shaheda Bhabi, Jumu, Jumon, Ainul, Mayabi, of Ali Nagor, Beani Bazaar Sylhet. Principal and academics of the local village school (seen above wearing some of the uniforms I self funded.).
UK: Nursel Yas, Jacqui Phelps, Mrs Sharifa Khan at Bangladesh UK Embassy. And volunteers Mia Willamson and Aminah Jagne.