Edava Basheer: The singer who took ‘Ganamela’ to another level

Edava Basheer
Veteran playback singer Edava Basheer at the music concert where he collapsed on stage (screengrab).

Alappuzha: Veteran playback singer Edava Basheer who passed away after he collapsed on stage during a live concert was known for making the art of ‘Ganamela’ extremely popular in Kerala. It was in Edava Basheer’s voice that Keralites heard the super hit song ‘Sanyasini Nin Punyasramathil Njan’ for the first time. Basheer was standing right next to Yesudas when the latter recorded the song at AVM Studio in Chennai. As Yesudas sang the song, Edava Basheer hurriedly jotted down the lines. He then sang this fabulous song, which was destined to be one of the most iconic Malayalam movie songs, at the next concert, even before the movie was released.

Basheer who was born in Edava and brought up in Kollam was not just a good singer in his childhood; he had showed mettle as a promising athlete too. After he passed class seven, Basheer moved from Edava Government School to Kollam Krist Raj School. That year, he became the sports champion at the new school. Later, Basheer turned to singing, becoming the school champion of concerts. He earned ‘Ganabhooshanam’ from Swathi Thirunal College of Music before taking up singing as his career.

He had started the Kollam ‘Sangeethalaya’ around four decades ago. The popular concert team was inaugurated by legendary singer Yesudas. Later, in 1996, Yesudas returned to inaugurate the ‘Sangeetham’ recording studio started by his good friend Basheer.

‘Sangeethalaya’ was born when there weren’t many concert groups in the state. Basheer created a place for himself in the hearts of music lovers by singing the super hit songs of Yesudas and Muhammad Rafi, on stage. Soon, ‘Sangeethalaya’ became one of the most popular concert groups in Kerala, with packed schedules and multiple stages. The group even performed in countries like the United States, Canada and the Gulf countries. Basheer was able to import modern musical and acoustic equipment from Singapore as his father Abdul Azees worked there. All of those made ‘Sangeethalay’s concerts a unique experience. Meanwhile, Basheer sang in movies too. The duet ‘Veena Vayikumee Viralthumbinte’ that he sang with S Janaki from the movie ‘Raghuvamsam’ was the first song that Basheer had sung for a movie. He then sang ‘Aazhithiramalakal Azhakinte Maalakal’ with Vani Jayaram from the movie ‘Mukkuvane Snehicha Bhootham’, which is still enjoyed by many. 

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