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In honour of a legend

S.P Balasubrahmanyam was recently felicitated by the Visakha Music Academy.



ACCOLADES Playback singer S.P. Bala Subrahamanyam during the felicitation Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam

V isakha Music Academy, which began in 1969, organised a felicitation ceremony in honour of the legendary cine playback singer S.P. Balasubrahmanyam who is also popularly known as Balu. The academy has been organising classical music concerts for a while besides felicitating eminent exponents of Carnatic and Hindustani music..

Balasubrahmanyam has recorded about 36,000 songs for films and in as many as nine languages including Hindi. An insurmountable record indeed for the highest number of songs recorded (averaging a little over three songs a day). During his long innings of 39 years, Balu has sung for ventures across the country spanning south and north India. Besides singing, he has acted and composed music for projects outside the cine world as well.

Another unbeatable record is the way he has managed to modulate his voice to sing for the highest number of actors. He is known to explore the many shades of emotion embedded in a character and his songs have touched the hearts of many. Balu imbibed his singing talent from his father Sripathi Panditharadhyula Sambamurty who was a Harikatha exponent of high esteem. Divinely destined, Balu had his first opportunity to sing playback with the song Emi Ee Vintha Mohamu and in 1967, he gave up studying engineering for good. He won the National award in 1979 for Viswanath's Sankarabharanam, and two years later for Ek Duje Ke Liye. Four more awards followed for songs in Tamil and Kannada and after being awarded the Padmashri in 2001, he was given the prestigious Ganga and Swaralaya Kairali Jesudas awards in 2002.

With all this to his credit, it comes as no surprise that Balu was the first male artiste to have been honoured by the academy. He is the first to have been given a gold bracelet along with a souvenir titled SP Balasubrahmanyam Felicitation Volume— a collection of articles and poems on him, written by popular authors and poets. The volume was released at the felicitation ceremony.

Renowned director K.Viswanath was the chief guest of the evening, while other guests of honour included the VUDA Chairman, P.S.N. Raju, noted auditor V. Sitaramayya and MD Vijay Nirman. They recapitulated how the greats among music directors S. Rajeswara Rao, M.S. Viswanatham, Ilayaraja, R.D. Barman and the likes hailed Balu as a paragon of talent, virtuosity and versatility personified. A great moment it was indeed when the celebrated Royal Albert Hall echoed the voice of Balu besides that of Jesudas and he, along with melody queen Lata Mangeshkar was given a warm welcome at the White House by President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary in June 2001.

A.R.S

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