Saturday, February 18, 2017

S P B thanks fans with 50th anniversary world tour

Sripathi Panditaradhyula Balasubrahmanyam, who is responsible for the on-screen singing voice of Indian superstar actor Rajinikanth, needed his son, 45, to nudge him into holding a 50th anniversary world tour to thank his fans.

The 70-year-old playback singer, who is better known as S P B, tells The Straits Times: "My son said to me, 'Without the audience, you would not have travelled around the world for the past 50 years, so don't you think that the minimum courtesy is to give a thanksgiving concert, anywhere and everywhere possible?'"

He will be performing in Singapore tonight as part of the tour to mark his 50 years in the music industry.

The concert at the Suntec Singapore Exhibition & Convention Centre, scheduled to last 31/2 hours, will feature a condensed version of his discography - he has recorded a staggering 40,000 songs in 14 languages, including Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada and his mother tongue Telugu.

His hit songs include the National Film Award-winning Thanga Thamarai from Minsaara Kanavu (1997) and Balleilakka from Rajinikanth- starrer Sivaji (2007).

It is no wonder the singer says that the hardest part of the tour was deciding the setlist for the concert.

"The tough part is which songs to keep in and which songs to leave out," he quips, adding that if asked to pick a favourite, he would have "a list of a thousand songs".

In the Singapore leg, S P B will be joined on stage by other playback singers - namely Karthik, K S Chithra, Shweta Mohan, S P Sailaja and his son, Charan - who will be singing famous songs from his career.

When he started out in show business in his 20s, he thought he would record about 10 or 15 songs and call it a day.

Unlike many of his counterparts, he was not classically trained and he learnt everything by ear.

"I know that I'm not as theoretically sound as some of the other singers because I never learnt music from anybody," says S P B, who earned only 300 rupees a song back in the 1960s.

The secret to his stamina all these years is the audience.

"The energy of the audience keeps me afloat," he says.

"In 2017, when I come on stage, they still embrace me with the same love and affection... That satisfaction is something I can't explain."

His world tour kicked off in August last year. He made stops in Canada, Russia, Dubai and Sri Lanka and will next head to the United States.

While he is not as instantly recognisable as actors such as Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, both of whom he has been lending his singing voice to since the 1980s, he says that playback singers such as him are as much actors as the on-screen stars.

He says: "In the same way that actors inhabit characters in front of the camera, playback singers inhabit characters and have to emote in front of the microphone."

Demonstrating his point, he sings Unna Nenachen Paattu (from 1989 film Apoorva Sagodharargal), once vocalising plainly and, again, with a pained expression to reflect the pain and suffering of the lyrics of the song.

"Without expression, a song is nothing."

Courtesy: Straitstimes

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Balu dedicates award to lyricists

Rotary Club of Vijayawada honours him with lifetime achievement award

Famous playback singer and Padma Bhushan awardee S.P. Balasubrahmanyam on Sunday said the lifetime achievement award he received from the Rotary International here was an honour for all those involved in the making of a song.

He said he was a blessed child for he was lucky to make a mark in the field of music without knowing much about the basics.

“Maybe I could not finish my job in my last Janma [birth] that is the reason the Almighty had sent me to earth to enthral you for decades,” he said amid applause. He said he had been singing songs in more than 15 languages for 50 years.

He bemoaned the lack of interest among the new generation singers in enhancing their knowledge about the lyricists and music directors.“There are many lyricists like Senior Samudrala, Malladi, Arudra, Dasari, Narayana Reddy, Jaladi, Jonnavitthula, Samavedam Shanmukha Sarma but Veturi Sundrarama Murthy stood tall among them.”

He said the modern-day lyricists were capable of writing songs on par with the legendary seniors but unfortunately to make a living in the commercial world of cinema they were forced to compromise with their words.

He also advised the fans of top heroes to prevail over their idols in doing some meaningful films along with commercial films. “It is unfortunate that the awards are going to movies made in other languages,” he said.

Mr. Balasubrahmanyam said retirement meant not giving up work but giving up professional work and taking up the pursuit in which one’s heart is. “In my case, both profession and the pursuit are the same”.

Elaborating on his participation in the famous Padutha Theeyaga, a music programme aired by a popular channel, he said the programme was meant not to create singers but suggest corrective measures. “Some are lucky to sing songs in films.”

He said every programme was a learning curve for him and for the past 19 years he had been immensely benefited by the programme.

Senior Rotarians M.C. Das, Gopal Rao, K. Pattabhi Ramaiah and P. Krishnaji took part in the programme.

Ms. Roja Prassanatha, city’s noted whistle singer, won the appreciation from Mr. Balu for rendering a song from Sankarabharanam .

Mayur Orchestra honours Balu

In the evening, Mr. Balasubrahmanyam took part in the 37th anniversary of the Mayur Orchestra at the Tummalapalli Kalakshetram in which singers Vinod Babu, Vijaya Lakshmi, Rasool Babu and Mohammad Khaja rendered songs for close to three hours.

He was felicitated by founder director Mohammad Khaja.