Today is the birthday of celebrated singer, guitarist, and composer Faruq Mahfuz Anam who known by his stage name James.
James was born on October 2, 1964 in Naogaon and raised in Rajshahi and Chittagong. His father was a government employee who was later appointed as the Chairman of the Chittagong Education Board.
James is currently the lead guitarist and vocalist of the band Nagar Baul. He has also played back in few songs in Bollywood movies.
James rose to mainstream fame in 1990s as the frontman of ‘Feelings’ now renamed ‘Nagar Baul’ which is one of the ‘Big Three of Rock’, who were responsible for developing and popularising rock music in Bangladesh, the other two being LRB and Ark. James is considered to be the pioneer of psychedelic rock in Bangladesh.
From his teens, James developed an avid interest in music, an interest which his family did not accept or support. He first played guitar with his friends when he was in class seven in 1973. Following a huge dispute with his family, James left his house when he was in class eight.
He started living in a dormitory called Aziz Boarding in Chittagong. This is the place his musical career kickstarted and flourished after he met the musicians from the band ‘Feelings’. He joined ‘Feelings’ as the vocal and lead guitarist.
He became popular among musicians as ‘The one who can play Mark Knoepffler with the right feels’. After several years of stage shows, they came to Dhaka to record their first album, ‘Station Road’.
All the tracks were composed by James, with five of its lyrics being written by him as well. Though the album was not a hit, some tracks like ‘Ager Jonome’, ‘Amai Jete Dao’ and ‘Rupshagor’ enjoyed moderate success.
In 1993, they released their second album ‘Jail Theke Bolchhi’ (Speaking from the Jail). This album was a major hit and Feelings became a mainstream band.