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Waiting for the right break

There has been a surge of young, talented singers in Malayalam of late. Waiting to make a mark is T. T. Sainoj, whose classical training and confidence is bound to carry him through.

IT WAS a cool January evening. The packed audience were relishing every moment of a rare musical feast dished out by a galaxy of singers that included K. J. Jesudas, Asha Bhonsle and Manna Dey. The surprise packet was, however, young T. T. Sainoj from Piravom, who left the audience mesmerised with a near impeccable rendition of the ever-popular `Nadabrahmathin... ' For this singer it was a memorable day, for he received the prestigious Yesudas Award from the great singer himself, after having won the televised, multi-round `Gandharvasangeetham' competition.

Since then Sainoj has been climbing up the ladder, step by step. He made his debut as playback singer in the film `War and Love' with a semi-classical song `Kannane thedunna... ' composed by Mohan Sitara. Though the song never appeared in the film and remained in the cassette only, Sainoj is happy. "It was a big break that director Vinayan Sir gave me and that too with a semi-classical song," Sainoj says with gratitude.

As a child Sainoj was so shy and reluctant that he had to be practically compelled to sing in public. But once he got over this the young boy began winning prizes and by the age of ten he was initiated into classical music. "I decided that music would be my career and enrolled myself at the Chittoor Government College from where I graduated and post-graduated in music. At the Calicut University arts festival I won the light and classical music events. It was also during this time that I won the first place in light music and ghazals at the all-India Akashvani music competition. Then in 1998 I was lucky to win the Augustine Joseph Award for classical music instituted by the Thripunithura Sangeeta Sabha."

By then Sainoj had already begun singing the track versions for many film and cassette recordings. Later he got to sing some of his own songs of in audio albums and for the special Onam programme telecast by a television channel. In fact, Kairali Television even now telecasts a few of songs in their popular music programme `Mehfil.'

Sainoj is a favourite choice for ganamela programmes. "The television exposure and winning the `Gandharvasangeetham' have helped a lot. For music programmes I even get requests for those songs that I had rendered for television," says this singer, who has won a Central Government scholarship for Carnatic music and now works as a part-time music teacher at the Rajagiri School, Kalamassery.

This promising singer believes that his classical training has helped a lot, especially during recordings. "I can write the notations and grasp the tune quickly. My regular practice has helped tone up my voice."

Of late there has been a surge of new talented voices in Malayalam films. Sainoj, a great fan of Jesudas and Hariharan, silently dreams of making a mark. His classical training and single-minded devotion should surely see him through.


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