'Hope to sing for 50 more years': In conversation with KS Chithra, KJ Yesudas and SP Balasubramanyam

Musical legends SP Balu, KS Chitra and KJ Yesudas, who will be performing live today at the ‘Legends Live in Concert,’ believe that as long as they continue to be students and keep learning, their fan

Published: 29th November 2019 10:58 PM  |   Last Updated: 30th November 2019 04:27 PM   |  A+A-

Singers KS Chitra, KJ Yesudas and SP Balu at Legends Live in Concert curtain raiser event on Thursday | S Senbagapandiyan

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: The trio are known as Singing Legends. South India literally worships the ground they tread on, thanks to the enormous talent they possess and their ability to have kept us mesmerized with their vocals for over a few decades. Yet, they sat there like anxious school kids about to take their board exam. “Yes, we are all scared. BHAYAM!,” said KJ Yesudas animatedly, the senior-most singer, stroking his white, flowing beard and adjusting his white crumpled silk kurta.

Sitting next to him was SP Balasubramanyam, aka Balu for the south film industry and millions of his fans, also added to that saying, “Maaku bhayanga vundi.” The soft spoken lady, KS Chitra, known to have stolen millions of hearts with her melodious voice, also joined her seniors to announce to the world that while they are being hailed as musical legends, each of them are anxious, nervous and downright scared at the thought of performing to thousands of fans at 5.30 pm today at LB Stadium as part of Legends Live in Concert. 

“It is this anxiety to excel, to perform better and deliver a flawless rendition every single time we sing is what makes us what we are and why you love us,” said Balu, answering questions on the process they adopt when they have to sing live to a rather restless crowd. While Yesudas has been singing for over five decades, Balu has been since four decades and Chitra for the last three decades or more.

Yet, they say they would never dream of stepping out to sing without having practised. “We are eternal students, learning every day. There is no such thing called perfection and every time I sing, I feel I can better this. Hence, no matter for how many decades I have been singing, it feels like I am a debut artiste,” said Yesudas, speaking to the media. 

Balu is known for improvising songs impromptu based on the audience reaction. Can we hope for the same? “We love to change and improvise but you folks never allow us. In Carnatic music, the rasikas in fact enjoy it when we give those twists and tweaks. But I think the film music fans like it the way they have heard it at first. So we will remain loyal to the film music for now,” said Yesudas.

Adding to the improvisation bit, Balu and Chitra chimed in to say, “Be it Carnatic classical or light or film music, the ingredients or the base premise is all the same. Imagine cooking Chinese or Indian. It’s the same veggies and spices, but different styles. So is this. We are all adept at singing whatever we are expected to”. The legends also talked about the role of technology in music, how the new singers need to practice like in good old times to nurture their lung power and then use technology to better the original song. 

Balu said the event will feature roughly 12 songs of each of them, a mix of old, new and of course some classics and super hits. Will there be songs from languages other than Telugu. “Yes, of course. Hyderabadis are receptive and we will be giving them a taste of the music from the neighbouring states,” added Balu. Will there be a song where the trio will sing together? “Aah well, KJ and I are singing together. Chitra and I will have duets and so will KJ and Chitra. But yes, I think we should think of having one together for the concert,” he added,  giving his fans more hope for the Saturday concert. Tickets for the concert being organised by Eleven Point Two and Statts are available on Bookmyshow. The New Indian Express is an English print partner for the event. Pro Tip: Take a cab or a bus as the organisers say there is limited parking at the venue. 


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