Abdul Wadud, a seasoned Tagore singer and teacher, is an enthusiastic cultural activist as well. He has been involved in the organisation of many Rabindra Sangeet programmes and festivals since the '70s. His immaculate diction together with subtle melodic twists makes his rendition bold and masculine.
Dwelling on the contrast between musical programmes and festivals of yesteryears and today, from the perspective of an organiser-activist, Wadud says, “Arranging programmes in the '70s and '80s was not an expensive affair. For the organisers and activists it was a labour of love. Everyone would come together and the arrangements would always be collective efforts. Now many activists are moving away from that tradition. Corporate giants are getting involved. The informal approach is being replaced with rigid and often pointless formalities.”
Wadud's initiation into music happened in 1968. In 1973, he enrolled at Chhayanaut's Rabindra Sangeet Department. Among his teachers were renowned Tagore artistes, Zahidur Rahim, Waheedul Haq, Dr. Sanjida Khatun and Selina Malek Chowdhury. Wadud trained in classical music under Ahsan Morshed, Narayan Chandra Basak and the late Ustad Phool Mohammad. Wadud taught different classes at Chhayanaut for 20 years beginning in 1977.
The first recorded song by the artiste was “Tumi Nabo Nabo Roop-e Esho Pran-e”. The song was included in a long-play record titled “Bishwabeena Robey”, produced by the Information Ministry, Government of Bangladesh in 1986 on the occasion of Tagore's 125th birth anniversary. Among his solo albums are: “Boshontey Boshontey Tomar” (Bengal Foundation, 1994) and “Poush Phagun-er Pala” (Bengal Foundation, 1996).
Changes are creeping into other quarters of the cultural arena, according to the artiste. “Many singers on BTV nowadays don't want to record live performances. They insist on lip-syncing with tracks/ CDs,” says Wadud, who has been an enlisted artiste at both Bangladesh Betar and BTV since the early '80s.
The gifted singer is disappointed about the younger generation of singers who crave for fame overnight, but don't work hard to create their individual rendition styles.