His versatile singing earns him a doctorate

January 05, 2017 08:41 pm | Updated 08:41 pm IST

Thoothukudi: It was really a proud moment for ‘Nannilam’ G. Kesavan (46), Inspector of Customs attached to Thoothukudi Custom House, when he got a honorary doctorate from International Tamil University, USA.

Speaking to The Hindu here on Thursday, Mr. Kesavan said he received the honorary degree in recognition of his service to Central Excise and Customs Department and his accomplishment in traditional arts and music.

He said could sing in ‘108’ different voices, similar to cinema playback singers. For over the last five years, he had been singing a mix of folk, Tamil and Carnatic music, and ‘karakattam’ artistes used to dance to his tunes.

“I keep myself engaged in such entertainment activity during holidays. I also have a passion for Tamil playback singing,” Mr. Kesavan, who initially joined as Tax Assistant in the Department of Central Excise in 1995, said.

‘Singing was my forte’, he said while referring to his early experiences at school in Nannilam in Tiruvarur district as a student of class six.

To enrich his talent and become a full-fledged singer, he learnt Carnatic music from Villupuram Venkalakshmi at Adampakkam, Chennai, and Thanjai Radhakrishnan. He learnt Thamizhisai - Devaram hymns from Savithri Nagarajan.

He said film lyricist Vairamuthu honoured him with ‘Kalaisevai award’ at Vairamuthu Ilakkiya Peravai vizha held in 1999. He said the Department of Art and Culture, South Zone Cultural Centre, Thanjavur, conferred him with the title ‘Isai Thilakam’ on March 16, 2003.

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