Veteran Malayalam playback singer K P Udayabhanu passes away
Thiruvananthapuram, January 5, 2014
Eminent Malayalam playback singer K P Udayabhanu passed away at his residence here tonight after a prolonged illness.
He was 77. He is survived by his son Rajeev. His wife Vijayalekshmi, who was also a gifted singer, predeceased him in 2007.
Family sources said he was ailing for more than a year and that he breathed his last around 8.45 pm today.
Udayabanu, who was one of the seniormost singers in the Malayalam film industry, was born on June 6, 1936, at Tharur in Palakad district of Kerala to N S Varma and Ammu Nethyaramma. He was a nephew of founder-chief editor of Mathrubhoomi newspaper, K P Kesava Menon.
He spent his childhood in Singapore, where his faher was a businessman. After losing his mother at the age of seven, he returned to India in 1944 along with his siblings, where they were looked after by their maternal uncle.
Udayabhanu learnt music at the Thyagaraja Sangeetha Vidyalaya in Kalpathy, where he was taught by such well-known musicians as Flute Krishna Iyer, Palakkad Mani Iyer and M D Ramanathan. Though he was trained in the classical traditons, he ended up making a career in light music and playback singing
He began his career as an announcer at the Kozhikode station of All India Radio in 1955, which brought him into contact with several well-known writers and musicians. This helped him enter the film industry and he went on to sing several unforgettable songs and compose music for some films.
Udayabhanu made his debut as a playback singer in 1958 in the film Nayaru Pidicha Pulivaalu, in which sang a solo and a duet with P Leela under the baton of composer K Raghavan.
He went on to sing several hits including classics such as Kaanana Chayayil (with P Leela in Ramanan), Anuraga Nadakathin (Ninamaninja Kalppadukal) and Thaamarathumbee Vaavaa ( with Leela in Puthiya Aakasham Puthiya Bhoomi ).
He composed the music for a few films, including Samasya and Mayilpeeli. Kili Chilachu (Samasya), penned by O N V Kurup and sung by K J Yesudas, is one of his most memorable songs as a composer.
In 1984, he launched a group called "Old is Gold" for the revival of the golden era of Malayalam film music.
During a chequered career, he was the chief conductor of Drums of India music programme at the Republic Day celebrations in 1985 which was appreciated by then President R Venkataraman and then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
He worked for some time as a teacher of Indian music in Lawrence School, Lovedale at Ooty in Tamil Nadu and also served as a public relations officer for then Kerala Chief Minister K Karunakaran.
Udayabhanu conducted choral groups in all Indian languages from Delhi Central Production Unit and Delhi Doordarshan.
He travelled with his music group to the United States, Canada, Europe, Singapore and all the Gulf countries.
Udayabhanu was honoured by the Union Government with the Padma Shri in 2009. He had won the Central Sangeet Nataka Akademi Award for creative music 2002 and the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi Fellowship 2004.