Celebrating Cuckoo’s Sound: KS Chithra turns 60

From classical to semi-classical renditions, KS Chithra’s four-decade-long career showcases her versatility and ability to captivate audiences across languages and genres

| Updated: 27 July, 2023 7:25 pm IST
KS Chithra

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, KERALA: Renowned as one of the most gifted singers the country has ever witnessed, KS Chithra, whose voice is often referred to as the ‘cuckoo’s sound’ among music lovers in South India, turns 60 today.

Honoured with numerous accolades, including six national film awards and an impressive 36 state film awards, Chithra continues to be one of the most preferred female playback singers in the music industry.

Chithra’s career for four decades witnessed her prowess and her ability to switch to any language when it comes to rendering her voice, be it a classical song or a semi-classical song. KS Chithra has always made a mark, irrespective of the music directors she has worked with, be it Ilayaraja or AR Rahman.

A major reason for her popularity surging is her skill to effortlessly grasp and render even complex songs with ease, which many of her contemporaries could not attain. It is her mesmerising gift to breathe life into the very soul of lyrics, unearthing emotions that dwell on both the surface and in the profound depths, that truly makes her a treasure among the leading music directors in the country.

Born on July 27, 1963, in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, into a family of musicians, Chithra’s talent was recognised and nurtured from an early age by her father, the late Krishnan Nair. Chithra received extensive training in Carnatic music from Dr K Omanakutty after she was selected for the National Talent Search Scholarship from the Central Government from 1978 to 1984. She was introduced to Malayalam playback singing by MG Radhakrishnan in 1979. She made her debut in the Tamil film industry in Chennai under the guidance of film music composer Ilayaraja.

Chithra was honoured with the Kalaimamani title from the Tamil Nadu Government in 1997, the KJ Yesudas Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004, the Kalaiselvam title from the South Indian Nadigar Sangam in 2002, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Global Malayalee Council in London in 2003.

Chithra’s musical prowess has earned her an extensive repertoire of over 25,000 recorded songs in various languages.

Delving into her melodic masterpieces, ‘Manjal Prasadavum’ from the movie Nakhakshathangal (1986) showcases her commanding control over her voice. Her famous songs include ‘Kalabham tharam’ from the 2006 movie Vadakkunathan, ‘Karmukil Varnante’ from Nandanam (2000), ‘Shashikala charthiya’ from the movie Devaragam, Palapoove from the movie Nhaan Gandharvan and Rajahamsame from the movie Chamayam.

“We wish Chithra a very happy birthday and hope she continues to enthral people across the country and the world,” said playback singer Sujatha.

Even to this day, no other voice can compare to the unique charm and brilliance of Chithra, as she possesses an extraordinary voice that makes people fall in love with its glorious essence.

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