Street Noise: Songs from Bangladesh

by Tim Bang

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about

My wife and I spent the last year living in Khulna, Bangladesh where she was working on a research project. I wrote all these songs while I was there.

One of the most apparent cultural differences I encountered (and eventually came to appreciate) was the constant street noise. The chorus of cars honking, sirens chirping, rickshaw bells ringing, and fishmongers touting was an inescapable part of our daily lives. I quickly learned that these sounds would bleed into any recordings I made in our apartment.

After returning to the US, I decided to finish recording these tracks. Although I was working in a quiet house in Ithaca, New York, I wanted to give the listener a chance to experience the soundscape I inhabited when I wrote these songs; so I left the original street noise in the mix. Hence the album name. You'll hear buses, cars, bicycles, and, during the second half the album, the daily rain of the monsoon season.

I had a lot of fun making this. Like all the music I write, record, and release, I made this just because I love doing it, and I love sharing it with anyone who's willing to listen. Thanks for taking the time to check it out.

credits

released November 26, 2016

All the music was written and performed by me, Tim Bang. I also recorded everything myself. I had it mixed and mastered by David Brown at Unity Studio in the Southside Community Center in Ithaca, New York.

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about

Tim Bang Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand

I've been writing and recording music for more than 15 years. I played in a number of bands over the years, but I'm doing the solo singer/songwriter thing now. Thanks so much for listening!

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Track Name: Bideshi (Foreigner)
Modesty scarf on your shoulders
And back at home it grows colder,
But it's always warm in Khulna, Bangladesh.

4:41 - The call to prayer strikes my drums
Reminds me just how far we've come.
8:02 - A cold shower has to do
Another lesson I've learned from you.
9:03 - I'm dying to be
Anything but bideshi ( বিদেশি ).

I got the blues as I was reading the news,
An Italian man was shot in the street,
Gunned down I guess 'cause he looks like me.
12:04 - I stroll out the door,
The State Department's warning ignored.
12:05 - Why thank God I'm alive?
It's him that they're killing us for.
It's like when both teams are praying to score.

Modesty scarf on your shoulders,
And though it has not gotten colder
You've got the chills in Khulna, Bangladesh.
Track Name: Tomake Bhalobashi
We heard Brian Wilson on my car stereo.
You sang along:
"We could be married and then we'd be happy."
On the beach in Bintan, I got on one knee with some platitudes:
"Will we be married? Will we be happy?"
On a Friday in July with grey skies above we said the words:
"We will be married. We will be happy."
Finally.

I first saw you
In the union
By the jukebox
In those polka dots
You were running late
The conversation was long but the hours short
You're the last girl I'll ever court
Cause after you
No one else will do

I soured on love songs
I thought 'em bad taste
Usually a hodgepodge of clichés
I don't want it that way

আর আমি সব সময় ভালবাশি তোমাকে
(ar ami shob shomoy bhalobashi tomake)
We'll move to Khulna, amra ekshonge ( আমরা একশঙ্গে )
Playing this guitar, I hear songs from the street
You can hear them now

I first saw you
In the union
By the jukebox
In those polka dots
You were running late
The conversation was long but the hours short
You're the last girl I'll ever court
Cause after you
No one else will do
Track Name: Dhaka to Bangkok
I told you, darling, I've never lost a set of keys
Yeah, it's one of the more irksome differences
Between you and me
Now I'm traveling all over Dhaka to get them back
The police (পুলিশ) in Gulshan will stop me
But won't search my bag
I've got bideshi privilege and a flight to Bangkok to catch

I saw you in the airport and love conquered all
Though I put up a fight sometimes, make sure that the order is tall
The walls that I've built up I hold you they crumble and fall

There's a chicken in the car but the car won't go
All I want to do is get back to Chicago
There's a chicken in the car but the car won't go
How're we going to get ourselves back to Chicago
Tweedledee and Tweedledum play tic tac toe
The other guy just talks shit about Mexico
There's a chicken in the car but the car won't go
All I want to do is get us back to Chicago.
Track Name: Pitter Patter
We're off our knees
And on the street
We're rising like the summer heat
I feel the beat inside my feet
Is incomplete and bittersweet

Let's fix it all and make it right
Preparing for a vicious fight
On second thought I'm occupied
I feel so numb; my brain is fried

Talk about it
Think about it
Hear about it
Start to doubt it
Pitter patter of grey matter
Hit the wall it starts to shatter

It's automatic, emblematic
Systematic and dogmatic
I'm akratic, problematic
And to boot monochromatic
My heart mechanic is organic
Tells my brain it's time to panic
Must be godly, sycophantic
Lest it be something satanic.

Talk about it
Think about it
Hear about it
Gotta doubt it
Pitter patter of grey matter
Hit the wall it starts to shatter

We're burning down this shanty town
Injustices are all around
This ship is soon to run aground
So take the tiller hard to lee (leeward)
I'm thrown askew and must review
My inventory all anew
This feels a bit like Déjà vu
It's looking like my Waterloo

Talk about it
Think about it
Hear about it
Never doubt it
Pitter patter of grey matter
Hit the wall and let it shatter
Track Name: Snowbound
I woke again in Bangladesh
I guess it's not a dream
I saw your lovely faces
On my computer screen
Things move fast sometimes
They come apart at the seams

The monsoon is gone,
And it chills me to know.

Two of my favorite people
Buried in the snow
Always so warm to me
I would never have known
I think your perfect spring is just around the bend
Even if it's broken bad past the point you can mend

The monsoon is back
And I want you to know
I hope you find some way you can melt the snow
Track Name: 5th of December
Today it has been ten years since I saw you last.
I started to wonder if I could recall the sound of your voice
Like I could on the day they put you in the ground.

I see you less and less in my dreams.
That's what I used to want.

This year I shed no tears on December fifth.
And I started to wonder if time has healed the wound
Or if that's right, maybe I've just become more adept at feeling numb
Perhaps they're the same
How would I know?
All I have is a scar to show

I see you less and less in my dreams
I wish that you'd come back
Track Name: Amar Meyer Jono (For my Daughter)
When we first met
You were a heartbeat on the screen
And what it means
Is there's a you 'cause of me
So I'll take a look and see
What can I offer you
Purge all my weaknesses
Lest they become yours you

And If I find some strengths inside
I will share those with you
And I'll hide my frailties
As I am wont to do
Whatever good you find in this world
I want you to pursue

Will we succeed
Let you be who you want to be
They say that you're born free
That's 'cause the chains take time to see
What does it take? Am I the man I ought to be?
I look to your mother; she's the ballast we both need

And we'll find the strengths inside
We will share those with you
And you'll find our blind spots
As children tend to do
Whatever good you find in this world
We will help you pursue.