By. KR Rejeesh
“As a singer keeping one’s own identity is vital without imitating others,” according to singer K S Harishankar. His signature songs are testimony to his words. For the grandson of Carnatic vocalist and composer Dr K. Omanakutty, the responsibility of carrying forward the legacy of musicians in the family is immense. But 24-year-old Harishankar is up to the ‘task’.
He grew up under the tutelage of Dr.Omanakutty and her brothers MG Radhakrishnan and MG Sreekumar.
“My first recording was at the age of three with MG Sreekumar for an Ayyappa devotional song. But I started learning music seriously under my grandmother and father when I was 12,” says Harishankar, who is still learning music from her.
He sung his first song in GS Vijayan’s film “Saphalyam” with Yesudas. Later he sung with KS Chithra for the film “Rishivamsam”, directed by Rajeev Anchal.
But after a hiatus, it was music director Ouseppachan, who gave him an opportunity in the film “Karanavar” as a playback singer.
Since then there has been no look back for Harishankar as he went on to work with composer Vidyasagar. “He actually gave me a break in films like “Ennum Eppozhum” and “Anarkali”.
A trained classical singer, Harishankar holds the view that by assessing film songs, one cannot judge the yardstick of a singer nowadays as technology plays a major role in the creation. “As technology advances, singers’ identity loses. There are imitations also,” he opines.
At a time even actors become playback singers, do the new singers fail to get challenging songs to prove their mettle? “Changes in music occur based on films. There are hardly any situations for challenging songs these days. Now the number of songs are also less in films and a few filmmakers use songs prudently as per the situation of the film. Sometimes songs are not being used fully in the movie,” he elaborates.
Harishankar has presented concerts in Music Academy, Chennai, Shanmughananda, Mumbai, Bahrain Keraleeya Samajam and Soorya Festival. He is a graded AIR (All India Radio) artist too.
Raised in a music milieu, this talented youngster has his own music band, “Pragathy”, and has performed abroad also. He runs a music school, Sangeetha Bharathi School of Music, at home.
Harishankar is an ardent fan of Yesudas, Hariharan and MG Sreekumar. “They have their own identity. And they have proved it over the years,” he adds.
Meanwhile, he expresses his deep admiration for classical vocalists TS Kalyanaraman, U. Sreenivas and Sanjay Subramanyam.
Harishanker is a Final Year student of dentistry in PMS College of Dental Science and Research, Vattappara, Thiruvananthapuram.
His mother Kamala Lekshmi is a noted veena percussionist while his father, Alleppey Sreekumar, is the Principal of Swathithirunal Music College, Thiruvananthapuram. The late composer-singer M.G. Radhakrishnan and playback singer and composer M.G. Sreekumar are his mother’s uncles.
KS Harishankar hits
1. Kaatte Chariya Vaathil… Kaaranavar
2. Payye Payye…. Ormayundo Ee Mukham
3. Nilavum Maayunnu…Ennum Eppozhum
4. Maruhaba Maruhaba….. Laila O Laila
5. Vaanam Chaayum….Anarkali