This blog is usually about my travel experiences. Since COVID-19 has put a pause to travel, today I will take you down my memory lane of musical muse.
Sometime in 2005
Place: Chennai Mahabalipuram Beach
Event: Live musical show
That was the first time I saw Balu (SPB, S.P. Balasubramanyam), the legendary singer performing live for our organization (Satyam Computer Pvt Ltd) event.
I knew who Balu was. I grew up listening to his songs but at that time my connect with music was more towards new movie song or a hit chat buster. It was never oriented from a singer’s perspective.
But this live performance was at a different level. On stage, he was melody brahma. The focus he had while performing was amazing. The sound of sea and sea of music, this amalgamation made the evening memorable.
After this Live performance, the songs were no longer same. Those songs took me into a different world.
I realized that it was not the music nor the lyrics but it was the voice of Balu that highlighted the emotions and made those songs come to life. From then I became so devoted to Balu that I used to download songs he sang irrespective of actors in it.
Here is one song from Rudraveena which always inspires me and helps me be on the ground. The great epics which teach simplicity of life is bought to common man in beautiful lyrics with exemplar singing from Balu
Prati madini lepe prabhata ragam
Pade pade choope pradhaana maargam
Yevi sontam kosam kadanu sandesham
Panche guname paote prapanchame shoonyam
Idi teliyani manugada kadha
Dishalerugani gamanamu kada
Below song is from movie Kanne Vayasu. This movie was made when I was not even born. But whenever I listen, this song does not sound like retro song. Just love the melody and no wonder he is “Gana Gandarvudu”.
The kind of voice transformation between charanam and pallavi is possible only with one and only Balu.
Nee roopame divya deepamai
Nee navvule navya thaaralai
Naa kannula vennela kanthi ninpene
Ye divilo virisina paarijathamo
Ye kavilo merasina prema geethamo…
The power in Balu’s voice cannot be matched by any of the present singers. This song is where protagonist is struggling to break shackles of society and finds no one but music to convey his feelings. Each one of us can feel that force to break.
Nenu saitam viswa veena ku tantinai moorchanalu pothanu
Nenu saitam bhuvana ghoshaku verri gonthuka vicchi mostanu
Nenu saitam prapanchagnaku tella rekai pallavistanuNenu saitam nenu saitam brathuku bataku gonthu kalipanu
Balu and Illayaraja are a super hit combo. I donno how many million times I would have listened their songs. Among all romantic numbers, the one that caught most of my attention is breakup song.
Anyone listening to this song, even if they are in successful relationship, they will feel that their partner has left and will be in deep sorrow.
Marupe teliyani naa hrudayam, telisi valachuta tholi neram
Anduke ee gaayam
Gaayannaina maana neevu
Hrudayaannaina veedi povu
Kaalam naaku saayam raadu
Maranam nannu cheraneedu
Picchi vaanni kaaneedu
A.R. Rahman, the revolution in Indian cinema music. Balu has major role to play in not just bringing life but pouring soul to his songs.
Here is one song that echos the relief our freedom fighters got after Indian independence.
Tepparelli Poyaka Muppu Tolagipoyinde Chinnamma
Nattanadi Ratirilo Navvu Mogga Vichinde Chittemma
Udayam Varaku Poradinaa Rudhiramlone Nadayadinaa
Gaddipocha Kattaite Dukhamanta Dhulaite Chinnamma
Similarly, here is song which talks about how we are throwing away their hardwork in the name of caste, religion, language and pulling India back.
That pain can only be delivered by Balu. I am sure you will have goosebumps listening to this.
Kulaala Kosam Gumpulu Kaduthoo..
Mathaala Kosam Mantalu Peduthoo
Ekkadaleni Theguvanu Choopi Thaguvuku Lesthaare.
Samooha Kshemam Pattani Swaarthapu..
Mottham Desham Thagaladuthondani…
Thelisi Bhujam Kalipi Raare..
Alaanti Janaala Tharapuna…
Evaro Endhuku Poraadaali
Pori Emiti Saadhinchaalee..
One epic song when I heard, I thought Balu was trained classical singer. Otherwise it was not be possible for any normal singer to pull off such classical lyrical songs.
It was in his interview when I heard he never learned music, I realized he is called “Gana Gandarva” for a reason.
Praanamu neevani gaaname needani, Praname gaanamani
Mouna Vichakshana, Dhyana Vilakshana, Ragame Yogamani
Balu has sung so many songs that one blog is not enough to pay him tribute. He will be celebrated with his songs in every occasions of our life.
His destiny was to become a soulful singer who can match body language of any hero on screen irrespective of language, generation and situation of music.
Not just music, he was into dubbing and acting. If it was not for Balu, I would have never enjoyed:
- Kamal hassan’s Bhamane Satya Bhamane or Panchatantram movies. Balu was Kamal’s identify in telugu movies that got dubbed from Tamil.
- Rajinikanth’s power packed introduction songs
- Loving father’s role in Premikudu or Pavitra Bhandam movies
- Music he bought into our homes with TV programs like “Padutha teeyaga” and “Swarabhishekam”
There were lot of talks that Balu sings all songs and he does not give chance to anyone. But if you follow him closely, you will realize that he was best singer and anyone who wanted him, he sang for them. Best is always wanted.
With Balu’s absence, for music lovers, it’s
“Dil Deewana Bin Sajnake Maanena,
Yeh pagla hai, samjhaane se, samjhe na..”
Annamacharya wrote 32,000 Sankeerthanas and our Balu sang almost 40,000 songs.
Balu sir, wish you were around singing more. But we cannot fight fate. As you are on your eternal journey, you will always Live on ………
We are blessed to be born and grow in your time.
REST IN PEACE MY SOULFUL SINGER !!