Association for Gaana singers in South India

Game changer:Music Director Deva performing at the Gaana Artist Association inaugural function recently. —Photo: R. Ragu  

“We might sing all over the world, but we are hardly recognised or lauded for our talent in our hometown and have no proper backing,” said S. Das, a gaana singer from Chennai.

He was one of the many gaana singers voicing concern at the inauguration of an association for gaana singers in South India recently.

Many singers like Das feel that the recognition here might be a game changer and the association would help them explore their art to the fullest.

A majority of the 100-odd members of the association started off by singing during funerals and now perform at stage shows also. A few of them, including Rave Ravi and Gaana Ulaganathan, have made a name for themselves in films as well.

“While many singers have moved to films, not all of us have that opportunity. We still perform mostly at weddings, stage shows, political meetings and funerals,” said Gaana Renuka, one of the very few women gaana singers who continue to perform. While opportunities to sing had dwindled over the years, Ms. Renuka said that they hoped a formal organisation would give a fillip to their work. “There have been instances where our work has been stolen or we have not been given due credit for our compositions. A formal organisation will help us safeguard our work better,” she said.

Lack of respect

Stating that they are often looked at with suspicion by society, Mr. Das questioned why their art lacked respect when other performing artists commanded more respect and support. Echoing his views, ‘Sindhai Gaana’ Munusamy, who has been writing lyrics for gaana songs for the last 40 years said that they were often mistaken to be writing only songs with innuendos about women.

“It is only a few youth who sing lewd gaana songs. A majority of us seek to highlight social issues and that has always been our intent,” he said. Along with Puliyanthope Nilavazhagan, Mr. Munnusamy said he had released an album with songs about transgender and how society treated them.

Music Director Deva, who was instrumental in bringing in gaana music to mainstream films, participated in the inaugural of the association and Gaana Bala, who has several hits to his credit in Tamil films, addressed the singers.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2022 8:02:49 PM |

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