Music-lovers are united in their opinion that singer S.P. Balasubrahmanyam creates a unique vibe, especially when he does live programmes. The ardent fans ‘sense’ divine vibrations but the fact of the matter is that the energy that SPB infuses is incomparable.
Almost all singers, of varying statures, have shared the stage with him and most of them turn out to be instant fans of the legendary singers. In November, SPB shared the stage with singer Maneesha at an event organised by Chetana Academy in Thrissur. SPB and Maneesha rendered the song ‘Malare mounama…’ and at the end of it the latter was in tears. A consoling SPB embraced her and consoled her; the act making the headlines of newspapers.
Maneesha later described the moment as one ‘where she felt the presence of the divine.’ Maneesha, a die-hard connoisseur of songs and a great fan of his, spoke to Manorama on SPB:
A ‘weighty’ connection
She said she had been sharing the stage with SPB from a very young age. "In 1998-99, there was a programme in Dubai (where I then lived) featuring SPB and Das uncle (Yesudas). I worked with a radio station. I was chatting outside with him after a formal interview. I told him I was a great fan of his. To which he said: 'paathale theriyum (the look says it, in Tamil).’ My body was on the weighty side and SPB was drawing a comparison to his heft."
The Thrissur Chetana even happened many years the Dubai meeting with SPB. I wanted to sing with him and I approached the organizers seeking an opportunity to sing with him again. I was in Dubai for over 13 years and have been in Thrissur for 11 years now. I started getting active in the singing circuit again after coming to Thrissur.
On the stage
Maneesha said there was no rehearsal with SPB and she had to abruptly enter as SPB was addressing the gathering. She went up to him and said he had interviewed him in Dubai. She also tried to tell him of the joke he cracked years ago in Dubai. SPB then said had stopped asking people to reduce weight. “One should curb being headstrong and cultivate humility,” he said. She said there was a definite aura of energy around SPB and the positive vibe was perceptible.
"I have faced a lot of exclusion and discrimination as an artist," she says. She said SPB’s warm hug was a message to those who said my singing would not match up. "SPB was nothing but a godsend for me," she said.
SPB is one who promotes all singers alike. He never shies away from appreciating chorus singers and accompanying artists. Maneesha says it is a different experience altogether to be on stage shows with SPB. He makes you feel confident, she said. Apart from stage shows, Maneesha said she had also sung for cassettes with SPB.
Maneehsa said she had a special affinity for this song which oozes melody and love. “My love for the song only grew after I rendered it with SPB on stage in Thrissur. This will stay with me for ever,” she said. The original song is immortalised in the voices of SPB and S. Janaki and no force can erase it. “Music director Vidyasagar also deserves a big salute for having given us this song,” she said.
Maneesha says she has a long list of SPB-favourites and it is the feel that the singer lends to each song that makes it different.