KOCHI: Even when an artist dies, his art lives on. It has been about a month since popular ghazal singer Umbayi passed away, but his nephew and singer C K Sadique is keeping the legacy of his uncle and other legendary musicians alive through concerts across the country.
“I was blessed to be born as Umbayi’s nephew and also train under ace composers, like G Devarajan and Rajamani sir. I never felt inclined towards cinematic songs and mostly perform the classic songs of these legends,” said Sadique, who continues to train in music under Vijayaraghavan Master. He mentioned that
Vijayaraghavan Master, the teacher of renowned singer K J Yesudas, is 90 and he is the only student.
Sadique said from childhood he used to sit with Umbayi and listen to his compositions. “His experience and instructions have had a great influence in my musical life. The training he imparted also helped me in enunciating Hindi correctly. Two months ago, I performed in Gujarat and they asked me whether I am a really a Malayali; they found my pronunciation perfect,” he said.
Sadique also used to take tabla lessons from him, but stopped because of Umbayi’s busy schedule.
He said that every Friday he visits Vijayaraghavan Master’s home. And as the master can’t sing, Sadique sings and he points out the mistakes.
The singer noted whenever he goes for a stage show, people are more keen to listen to old classics. “Whenever I sing a song of Baburaj or Devarajan Master, their names are kept alive among the crowd. Before entering a stage, I am introduced as the nephew of Umbayi or disciple of the legendary composers, and the crowd starts cheering. The old masters still have a huge fan-following,” he said.
He said Umbayi’s death has made him realise how much people love his songs. The demand to sing Umbayi’s songs have only been increasing, not just in the state but also in the shows organised abroad, he added.
Though Sadique has sung for a few movies, he prefers to perform old songs and spread the nostalgia. “I have a collection of 5,000 songs and am always prepared to sing them. Having done over a 1,000 stage shows, I continue to learn and research on music,” he added.