Vol. 5 Num 709 Sat. May 27, 2006  

Kaderi Kibria
Close to the roots

TO the TV and radio audi-ence of '70s and '80s Kaderi Kibria is a familiar name. Kibria shot to fame with his refreshing style of rendering Tagore songs. According to many fans, he is one of the few artistes to be credited for re-popularising harano diner gaan (songs of yesteryears). However, since his move to US in the '90s, music aficionados have missed the artiste with a 'golden voice'.

Kibria came to Dhaka for a few days recently to attend his mother's funeral. "She was my best friend and source of inspiration," says a visibly moved Kibria. He flew back to US yesterday. At the office of The Daily Star, Kibria reminisced on the simpler times when only one TV channel existed, the radio audience was thriving, talented contemporary artistes and more.

Kibria received music lessons from Ajit Roy and Debobrato Bishwas. In 1975 he went to Shantiniketan for post-graduation studies in Tagore songs. Regarding his move to TV as an artiste, Kibria says, "I was a member of Zinga Shilpi Goshthi. Other members of the group Linu Billah and Nazma Zaman were quite a rage back in the day. We used to perform adhunik and Tagore songs. My first TV appearance was in 1967."

"In 1969 HMV released my first record of two Tagore songs. I became more inclined towards the genre after the Liberation War," he adds.

In the '80s Kibria's renditions of some haran diner gaan, attained major popularity among the TV audience: Prithibi amarey chaye, Shono shono (a duet with Shaheen Samad), Jetha ramdhanu othey heshey (with Sabiha Mahbub) and Tumi jey amar kobita (with Shakila Zafar) to name a few.

Asked about his apparent detachment from the Bangladeshi music scene, Kibria says, "I may be away from the country but I'm not alienated from Bengali songs." The artiste conducted music classes (on Tagore songs) in different states of US -- Maryland, New Jersey and New York. In 1994 Kibria performed at the 'Bango Sammilan' in Chicago -- a colossal event attended and organised by Bengalis from both Bangladesh and West Bengal -- alongside noted artistes Anup Ghoshal and Hoimanti Shukla.

Kibria has also worked on some albums during his visits to Bangladesh. In 2001 Tonatuni released his solo album Diner Sheshey. Madhur Amar Mayer Hashi -- an album comprising Tagore songs, harano diner gaan and songs of Atul Prasad, which Kibria dedicated to his mother, was released in 2004. The artiste has also been featured recently in a programme hosted by singer Agun on BTV. Madhur Amar Mayer Hashi, a solo musical programme is to be aired on ATN.

About the current state of our music scene, Kibria says, "I feel our musical arena has become more diverse and enriched. More and more people are taking interest, the audience has become more interactive and appreciative of our own songs and an array of talented singers is keeping the scene lively. An increase in the number of quality Tagore singers, which includes artistes from different generations, is just an example.

"However, all is not hunky dory. As the production process of albums has become easier and more cost-effective, the market is often being flooded with albums featuring artistes of 'questionable' standards. One must never overlook the power of practice and devotion. I used to practice each song a 100 times before public performances. I rarely have to look at the lyrics when I perform."

Does he plan to return? Kibria smilingly says, "Certainly! However, after I move back, I intend to move towards the production aspect and not singing."

Kaderi Kibria