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Nation mourns pop icon

Tens of thousands pay last respects to musician Azam Khan

Nation mourns pop icon
Azam Khan (photo: reporter, Dhaka

June 8, 2011

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Tens of thousands of people from all walks of life turned out on June 6 for the funeral for Bangladeshi pop icon Mahbubul Haque Khan, popularly known as Azam Khan Khan, 61, considered one of the pioneers of pop music in Bangladesh died of cancer on Sunday in a Dhaka hospital. Mourners paid their respects to the artist and veteran freedom fighter at the Language Martyrs’ Memorial in the capital before he was buried with state honors at the Martyred Intellectuals’ Cemetery. One of most celebrated musicians in the country’s history, Khan’s popularity transcended generations of music lovers and was often called Pop Samrat (Emperor). In 1970s he formed the band Uchcharan (Enunciation) and introduced an energetic brand of music. Many Christians were among those eulogizing Khan for his contributions to music. “Azam Khan was a great singer yet modest. He had the deepest love for music and was not motivated by money,” said Anima Mukti Gomes, 32, a Catholic folk singer. She said today’s singers who are becoming more commercially minded should could learn some great lessons from Khan. George Lincoln D’Costa, vocalist with popular rock band Artcell said he is enormously indebted to Khan. “He was a great man and always encouraged young talent. He helped me learn so much. His death is a huge loss for the country,” the Catholic singer said. Khan also fought as a commander in the liberation war in 1971 against Pakistan. Many former veterans also attended yesterday’s funeral to pay their respects to their former comrade in arms “We’re bereaved at the death of such a great patriot,” said Bangladesh Christian Freedom Fighters and Family Welfare Association general secretary Andrew D’Costa. “He was our comrade and always loved this country wholeheartedly.”
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