Omni Music: For musicians by musicians
The life of a musician in Dhaka is not easy. At start-up, barriers to entry into the industry alone stop a significant proportion of those interested in music. Whether it is the lack of infrastructure to learn music academically, from the perspective of education or simply being able to afford the necessary instruments.
When I started playing guitar in 2007, buying a guitar was no easy feat for a college student with no disposable income. Add to that the idea of buying a good instrument – one that will not only get you through the preliminary learning stage, but also function as something that you can use in the long run – is extremely daunting.
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The first mistake many musicians make is investing in inferior instruments just to save costs. While the urge to buy something inexpensive is always present, it is not always a good thing. Investing in an instrument that can last for years is always better, because otherwise buying cheap usually leaves you with an instrument that is nothing more than a dead weight in a few years, sometimes even months, explains Neo Mendes.
Neo Mendes, the founder of Omni Companies, launched Omni Music in 2002 with the intention of providing quality musical instruments at an affordable price. Originally a local distributor of Yamaha, Omni Music has continued to expand its range over the years, bringing more and more brands that meet the diverse needs of a musician.
Recently, Omni brought Fender guitars to Bangladesh, which is a first. As a guitarist myself it has always been a dream to own a Fender, especially a dark sunburst Mexican Telecaster. I think as a guitarist the quintessential guitars most people want are either the Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster line or the Gibson Les Paul. The fact that people can buy a Fender guitar in Bangladesh, this too at an affordable price, is an idea that people could not have conceived of a few years ago.
However, Omni is more than just a music store. Mendes is a founding member of one of the pioneering rock and roll groups formed during the pre-release era called “The Lightnings”. His understanding of our musical heritage and culture, as well as his perspective of having been a musician himself, is why the place is unlike any other store. It sounds like a landmark in the history of music to be discovered. Those who have visited the Genetic Plaza store on Dhanmondi Road 27 and met Neo Mendes will know what I mean.
One of the first things you’ll notice upon entering is a photo of Mendes with English rock guitarist Jeff Beck. Next: a group photo of “The Lightnings” from the late 1960s; young drummer Mendes standing with an original Ludwig drums sporting the band’s logo.
Meeting Mendes face to face feels like a moment in a story you know to be special. There is a certain aura around him, like the presence of a legendary character that you only read in books and stories, but never meet in real life.
As he shows us around his store, discussing music, instruments, the local ’70s scene and his travels around the world, it all comes together. He passes us a photo of a letter signed by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, ending their 1972 fundraising tour of India.
We spend the rest of the morning discussing guitars, music festivals, Bangladeshi music and a variety of other topics. As we discuss more about our musical ideologies and our dream gear, something he says really hits me.
“I’m involved in a lot of different businesses, but this is the one I am most personally involved in. As a young musician, I know exactly what it feels like to be looking for good instruments and equipment, but that an affordable solution cannot be found. Omni Music was designed with this vision. Providing musicians with a place to find all the variety of musical instruments or equipment they need in one place, at one place. affordable price.
Whether you are looking for an instrument, music workshops, lessons, music certification courses, or just a place where you can go and chat with someone to figure out what you need to get started in music, Omni Music can be. everything you need. these places grouped into one.
As for me, I come back with my next paycheck to get a Fender.
Find your music fix at Omni Music / Omni Concept at Level 3, Genetic Plaza, Dhanmondi Road 27. Follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OmniMusic