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Nellorians recall their association with SPB

Nellorians recall their association with SPB
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Nellorians recall their association with SPB

Highlights

His friends say Balu used to practise songs in local Swatantra Park at Gandhi Statue in the evening hours and participate in local competitions in Nellore, Gudur and other places

Nellore: An ordinary stage singer from Nellore city has grown into a legendary singer with his unique professional talent and his colleagues and mentors remember their association with him, who has been a soft and humble even though he had attained to the level of an ace singer in the country.

Though Sripathi Panditharadhyla Bala Subrahmanyam popularly known as Balu was born in Chittoor district, his bonding with Nellore is inseparable due to his father and Harikatha artiste Sripathi Panditharadhyla Sambamurthy. Family members of Balu are masters in classical Carnatic music except himself and his sister signer Sailaja.

But his friends say he was highly passionate in singing songs and associated with local singers like Paturu Srinivasulu and others who were popular in 1960-70s.

"I have started stage performances since 1959 and Balu approached me in 1962 and requested some support. I used to sing only songs of Ghantasala and Balu's voice was not suitable for rendering such old melodies. I said his voice is unique and suggested him to follow his own style. I taught him only six popular songs of Ghantasala and we both used to perform them on local stages," said octogenarian Paturu Srinivasulu, sharing his memories with Balu.

Sripathi Panditharadhyla Bala Subrahmanyam popularly known as Balu is having many friends and Yanmandra Kameswara Prasad, known as Kamayya, was one among them. Balu, Kamayya, Srinivasulu, and others used to practice songs in local Swatantra Park at Gandhi Statue in the evening hours.

He used to participate in local competitions in Nellore, Gudur and other places. He was having no music gurus in classical music and achieved the talent by virtue of his father's Harikatha performances and family environment, said Balu's friends.

Balu had to discontinue his studies for almost a year due to some health issues and during this period he started to participate in various singing competitions, and he received second prize from popular singer S Janaki in Gudur when Kalidasa Kalaniketan conducted competitions.

He, then, developed a passion and resumed his engineering (AMIE) course in Chennai. Balu used to say in many programmes that SP Kodandapani turned his life. He was offered to sing in Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna in 1966 filmed by the popular comedian Padmanabham which was his first break.

It was said he started Simhapuri Kalasamithi and then he was having his own Balasubrahmanyan and party, the musical troop. He used to sing devotional and popular songs of PB Srinivas along with some mimicry events.

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