For those of you who don’t know – Psychedelic trance, psytrance or psy is a subgenre of trance music characterized by arrangements of synthetic rhythms and layered melodies created by high tempo riffs.
I have to admit that the learning curve regarding ‘Psy’ music in its contemporary form was quite high in spite of listening to and covering electronic music stories for more than half a decade. The genre seems to have evolved a lot which I had no clue about, courtesy to my Psy loving friends.
I only heard about some Goa Trance events happening once in a while in and around Goa, a state in lower western India. I also knew that it is very popular in Israel and for me Infected Mushroom has been the only recognizable Psytrance artist I was properly aware of.
Hence my surprise was huge when I learnt about the closely-knit communities of Psytrance all over South Asia when a brave group of kids who call themselves ‘Delta Tribe’ put together a Psy rave at Sreemangal. The event was named after the place itself ‘Psymongol’. It was an eye opener as it happened for two straight days at the otherwise silent town in northeastern Bangladesh known for its tea gardens and its huge diaspora in London.
When I spoke to Ozzy, one of the ‘Delta Tribe’ members the first time about their plans to do an open air rave I literally thought these guys must be crazy to even think about it. I couldn’t fathom how they would manage to pull off a rave in Bangladesh which is socially super conservative. The recent panic attack caused by terrorist attacks in Dhaka only made things worse. It’s all work and no play in Dhaka most of the time.
So, their plan included a number of DJs travelling to Bangladesh to spread ‘Psy-love’ which was diligently made successful by the entire team in a graceful manner. To keep things under the blanket none of the 200+ participants were told about the exact location until they were in its vicinity. My skepticism which has developed over the years trying to do events in Dhaka was shattered when I saw all these people from all over Dhaka and probably a dozen other countries was setting up the booths and panels which were all Psy-themed.
I knew that I had to tell this story of this remarkable feat and that lead me to do interviews of some of the members who told me about what’s it all about. They describe ‘Delta Tribe’ as a community who believes in community lifestyle with idealistic notions of openness, understanding unity, love and freedom to express. While probably not as open as the hippie counter culture, I couldn’t get the hippie association out. I think it’s fascinating that they have been able to organize themselves so smoothly.
The team told me that for them it was a way to put Bangladesh on the map, which is something I personally support, as well as building on the cultural capital. They were frank about highlighting the abundance of beautiful natural spaces of green Bangladesh. It’s after all an ecological gem. Overall the objective was to create a safe space for people to attain Psy-Nirvana (no pun intended).
When asked about how risky they thought the whole venture was, they came clean by admitting that they too were very nervous, but the teamwork of a well-knit community with complimentary skill sets sort of made it all happen alongside help from tribes over the border, namely ‘Epic Tribe, Lost Project, Moon Mountain crew, Atman Tribe, Free Earth and Quanan.
An epic start of a psychedelic scene in Bangladesh”, said Kosh one of the five international artists
So, without any sponsors, security to protect foreigners in an otherwise panic ridden capital they diy-ed one of the bravest events ever hosted in Bangladesh. I hope this event encourages other event promoters to take some risks because otherwise it’s not going to happen at all. As they said, “It’s about inspiring good in other people. It’s about coexisting. It’s about harmony.”
words by Khan Mohammad Faisal