Ode to a singer


It was a trip down memory lane for music-lovers who thronged Kerala Fine Arts Hall, Ernakulam. The `P. Leela Nite,' organised by Kamukara Foundation in memory of the departed singer took listeners back to an age when music was soaked in melody and lyrics were meaningful.

The 25 songs were specially chosen and one could not fault the choice though one would have liked to listen to some more songs like `Swarna Chamaram' and `Thamasa Nadiyude.'

Elizabeth Raju and Lekha Nair started the proceedings with that evergreen devotional number `Kani Kannum Neram.' Other songs included `Devi Sreedevi' and `Innente Karalile' by Manju Menon, `Priyamanasa,' `Kanni Nilavathu' and `Kalyanakkuruvikku' by Elizabeth and `Ambalakkulangare,' `Viralonnu,' and `Thalikkuruthola' by Leela Joseph. Lekha sang `Ujjainiyile Gayika' and `Kottum Njan Kettilla.' Rasmi Madhu rendered the solos `Bhagavan Oru' and `Swarangale.'

The programme also featured several of Leela's duets with Kamukara Purushothaman, K.P. Udayabhanu, K.J. Yesudas and others. These included `Thamarathumbee Vaa' (Lekha and Vijesh Gopal), `Kannum Pootti' (Leela Joseph and Sriram), `Adyathe Kanmani' (Rasmi and Murali Menon)and `Swapnangal Swapnangale' (Manju and Sudip). All the nine singers who took part rendered `Pennaley' (`Chemmeen') together to provide a grand finale.

These songs brought back memories of an age when the voices dominated and the orchestra provided the support. The songs were simple yet many of them were rich in classicism and some others had a captivating folk touch to it. The singers were well supported by a "live" orchestra led by Gerson Antony.