Kalaratna “Maestro” Dr. Ghazal Srinivas (Kesiraju Srinivas)
Dr. Ghazal Srinivas (Kesiraju Srinivas) is an Indian singer who is the Maestro and pioneer of Telugu Ghazal singing. He initiated and popularized Telugu Ghazal singing and soon rose to fame after his debut visit and performance in USA in the year 1992. His style of ghazal singing is unique to itself as he performs with only one accompaniment i.e., Kanjeera (Toumbarine). Dr. Srinivas achieved a special place for himself in the Galaxy of ghazal singers along with Jagjit Singh, Anup Jalota, Pankaj Udhas, Chandan Das, Hariharan, Talat Aziz and other ghazal singers.
Apart from his Ghazal singing in the year 1999, Srinivas played a lead role in the telugu film “Vichitram” directed by Sri Jandhyala, following which , he has also performed a Special role in the super Hit Telugu film ” A Film By Arrvind” directed by Sekhar Suri.
Dr. Srinivas created Three Guinness World Records consecutively in the years 2008, 2009 and 2010. He is the only singer who sang 125 songs in 125 Global languages which have become two Guinness world Records
Dr Kesiraju Srinivas, a native of Palakol town in West Godavari Dist. Andhra Pradesh, India, was born in Tekkali village near Srikakulam Dist on October 14th,1966 , originally from a village called Malakapally , WG Dist where his forefathers lived. He hails from a Niyogi Brahmin family. He is the second of the five children of Sri Kesiraju Narasimha Rao and Smt. Ratnavali. His grand father Sri Kesiraju Venkata Narasimham Panthulu who hails form Malakapalli, WG Dist. was a well known freedom fighter. Dr Srinivas”s elder brother is Mr K Ramprasad, younger brothers are Gowri Sankar, Krishna and only sister is Gayatri.
Dr Srinivas did his schooling in Jangareddy Gudem, Eluru, Nellimarla, Vissakoderu, Bhimavaram, Polavaram , Naraspuram and his Intermediate studies in YN college , Narasapuram. He then received his degree in BA in the year 1985 from ASNM Govt College, Palakol, Andhra University and Bachelor of Library and Information Sciences Degree from University of Madras in the year 1989.
The debut stage performance of Srinivas was in the year 1972 at the concluding ceremony of “Satya Saibaba Seva Samithi Eye Camp ” in Bhimavaram with a Bhajan and also Mono action of Duroyodhana a Mythological character.
From his child hood he has great inclination towards music. He used to sing Telugu film songs in various private functions. Despite of his passion for music his parents did not want him to learn music or pursue music as a career. However, against all odds he took part in various District and State level competitions and bagged prizes in all of them.
Finally in the year 1980. When he won the most prestigious “Tyagaraja Gana Sabha Light Classical Music” award his parents realized his talent and passion towards music. They sent him to Pandit Hare Ram Master for a formal training in Carnatic classical Music. After one and half years of training he was unable to continue due his father’s frequent job related transfers to various places. In his childhood he also attended classes and learned Burrakatha, Haritha katha in Polavaram village to improve his performance skills.
Besides his singing he used to take part in Drama competitions and acted in more than 40 Telugu plays like Election Melam, Prema sagara Madhanam, Ettuku Paiettu, Neeru Poyi, Aadaboyey Natakam, Kukka, Uppena, Garibhi hatavo,Padma vyooham, Hang him till Death, Kokkoroko, Charitrala putallo maro pegi, Peddabalasiksha, ,Mrityumjayudu, etc.
He is an ardent devotee of Bhagavan Satya Sai Baba since childhood. Everyday he used to take part in “Nagar sankeerthan and Evening Sai Bhajan.” He devoted his leisure time, as a sevadal Member to serve in Satya Sai Seva Samithi Free Eye surgical camps for the very poor. At a very young age of 11 he joined the Musical Orchestra organized by singer Sitara in Polavaram village. He used to sing the film songs of popular Telugu film singers like Ghantasala, SP Balasubrahmanyam etc. Soon he realized that he does not want to mimic other singers as his own mark and creativity are not being recognized. He then stopped singing film songs and concentrated on singing Light music. In the year 1985 his quest to create his own path in the field of Music and in Telugu language continued. Meanwhile after completing his graduation he got an opportunity to serve Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan International Residential Pubic School as Music Assistant for the salary Rs 400/- in 1986. He continued his learning classical and Light music from Guru Jwalamamba, who was music Teacher in Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bhimavaram. He assisted Mrs Jwalamamba in the composition of many classical dance Ballets and Musical features.
In 1986 he found Telugu ghazals written by Dr C Narayana Reddy who is Jnanapeeth Awardee. Compositions of Dr C Narayana Reddy inspired Srinivas and to quench his creative thirst, he gathered all information about ” Ghazal format”. He was very impressed with the format of Ghazal and decided to sing ghazals in Telugu language. He also watched the bhajan and ghazal performance of Anup Jalota in Putaparty and acquired the knowledge of singing Ghazals. At the initial stages of his ghazal singing career he used Tabla, Harmonium, and violin as his accompaniments. Later he realized that singing Telugu Ghazals with these instruments in Hindustani ragas is not very impressive. Therefore he developed a unique style of performing Ghazals with “kanjeera” as his sole accompaniment, which he plays himself during concerts. This style of his was immediately accepted by the Telugu audience and soon became very popular.
In year 1989 he graduated in Library sciences from University of Madras. Later he joined as Librarian for Sainik School, Korukonda, Ministry of Defense. In conjunction with his Government service he continued to pursue his passion of Telugu ghazals and performed concerts very frequently. Within no time he popularized Telugu ghazals . Overwhelmed by Dr Ghazal Srinivas’s Live performance in Vizag city in the year 1993, Dr C.Narayana Reddy declared him as his ” GHAZAL MANASA PUTURUDU”.
Later Dr C Narayana Reddy started penning his ghazals to suit the singing style of Srinivas. Renowned Journalist and writer Mr AB Subba Rao of Eanadu , daily paper, Vizianagaram named Srinivas as “Ghazal Srinivas”in the year 1993. Since then people started calling him Ghazal Srinivas and he soon became true address of Telugu ghazal. As Srinivas started improvising the style of his performances he began attracting audiences from all age groups. Within a short span of time he developed the style of his ghazal performance by narrating the essence of every stanza of the ghazal and composing the ghazals in Hindustani and Carnatic Ragas. He attracts the audience with his Theatric skills and methods of Harikatha and Burrakatha narration techniques. His attire, pleasant facial expressions always keeps the audience in good enjoyable mood during concerts. He has become Unique artist in Telugu culture and in every Telugu function his concert has become soul of the events. He has become B High audition artist for All India Radio and sang Telugu ghazals through All India Radio Light Music programs. In between he penned few playlets like “Fourth Monkey, Waiting for Mahatma” which were awarded best Plays in National and state level completions. He also has written English plays like “Trust, Black dream, Param veera Chakra etc. In the year 1993 he toured United States of America as member in Group Study Exchange program of Rotary International sponsored by Rotary of club of Vizianagaram dist 3020, during Presidential tenure of Rtn RK Jain.
In the year 1995 he founded Dr C. Narayana Reddy Kalapeetham in the stewardship of Dr Yarlagadda Lakshmi Prasad and started presenting ” Dr C. Narayana Reddy Sahithi Puraskaram” every year to renowned poet with a Citation and Rs 25,000-00 as Honorarium as part of the Award.
He visited many countries and performed his ghazal concerts. He became so busy and popular, that he could not spare his time for the Librarian post in Sainik School, Ministry of Defense services. Meanwhile in the year 1999 his ghazal singing reputation brought him a lead role offer from famous Telugu feature Film Director Jandhyala in the film “Vichitram”. During the progress of this film many other opportunities in acting Career knocked his door but he realized that he should continue what he initiated in Telugu culture ie Telugu Ghazal. In the year 2000 he resigned his services at Sainik School and joined as “Brand Ambassdor for Lanco Group of Industries. From then on he never looked back and entirely dedicated himself to his Ghazal singing career. From 2001 onwards he released his audio Ghazal and devotional albums which have become super hits.
As part of community service he took initiative to perform his Ghazals in all Central and District Prisons of Andhra Pradesh to reform the prisoners. He believed in Gandhi’s saying “Hate the crime not the criminal. His selfless efforts made lots of changes in the mind set of prisoners. He also introduced “certificate course on Satyagraha Philosophy “to the Prisoners from Gandhian Study Center.
In the year 2005 he took part in 1538 km Indo-Pakistan peace march from Delhi to Multan lead by Dr Sandeep Pandey. During the peace walk Dr Srinivas performed his ghazal concerts in Schools, colleges, Universities and different religious prayer centres. He promoted communal Harmony, National Integration and International brotherhood. He believes that Music is true bridge to create bondage between two persons or different countries. Dr Srinvias composed an audio album ” Shanthi Yatra’ on Indo-Pak friendship which was released by President, Abdul Kalam ji in Rashtrapathi Bhavan, New Delhi. All eight songs on peace were rendered by Dr Srinivas and lyrics penned by Satish Srivastav.
In the year 2005 Government of Andhra Pradesh appointed him as an Advisor for Rural Development and he has given all his energy to the department and inspired self help groups towards Empowerment. He is the person who renamed velugu scheme as “Indira Kranithi patham”. He inspired few welfare schemes like “Food security program, Food security for pregnant women, polio operations, marketing skills for women in Indira Kranthi patham. He composed many inspiring songs to motivate the self help women groups which yielded great results in women empowerment.
In the year 2005 Sukanya Arts, renowned Cultural Organization conferred Dr Ghazal Srinivas (Kesiraju Sriniivas) with title “Maestro” by the hands of Dr C Narayana Reddy.
In the 2005 Dr Srinivas founded “Ghazal charitable Trust” to promote art form of Telugu Ghazal and world peace. He launched a website for telugu ghazal www.telugughazal.com. The Trust is playing a major role for the development of Telugu Ghazal by conducting symposiums and training camps for ghazal poets and upcoming singers. It is also sponsoring the publications of Telugu ghazals which are penned by different poets.
In the year 2005, cosmopolitan University, USA,and in the year 2008 Acharaya Nagarjuna University conferred Honorary Doctorates upon Srinivas for his epic and glorious contribution for Telugu Ghazals as a pioneer of the Art form.
In 2006 Dr Srinivas took part in peace conference in Lahore, Pakistan and he demonstrated two days hunger strike against Nuclear weapons which created sensation in the land of Pakistan and motivated lot of Pakistani youth towards Indo-Pak friendship. His album Shanti Yatra he became a household Master piece in Pakistan. His songs played in all Radio’s and TV’s of Pakistan.
In the 2006 He appeared in a special role in super Hit Telugu Feature film ” A Film By Arrvind” directed by Sekhar Suri produced by Creative commercials. Dr Dr. Ghazal Srinivas (Kesiraju Sriniivas) bagged many awards for his outstanding and Unique performance in the film ” A Film by Arrvind”.
In the 2007 Dr Srinivas took active role in conducting Satyagraha Centenary Celebrations and made an audio album “Satyagraha Sandesh yatra’ in Hindi and Gujarathi languages. He also took part in cycle yatra from Sabarmathi Ashram to Porbandar. Audio Album “Satyagraha Sandesh Yatra” was launched by UPA chairperson Smt Sonia Gandhi ji, Mr Ahmed Patel ji in Devghad Barye in Gujarat State.
In the year 2008 Dr Srinivas decided to propagate the Gandhian Philosophy in Global languages, In order to achieve his dream he Performed Gandhian Philosophy in 100 Global languages in a live concert on Gandhi Hills, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. His musical tribute to Mahatma emerged as a New Guinness world Record for singing most languages sung in a Live Concert.
In the 2009 He created 2nd Guinness world record for recording a song “Golden Dreams of Gandhi ji” in 125 Global languages in 125 different versions which was inspired Gandhian movement Globally.
In the 2009 Dr Ghazal Srinivas (Kesiraju Sriniivas) visited War torn country, Afghanistan on a Peace mission to promote Gandhian philosophy and Non-violence. In order to convey his peace messages into the hearts of the people of Afghanistan he performed his concerts in Dari, Pashtho and Urdu languages. He released an audio album “Doosti-Sol” dedicated for Indo-Afghan peace and friendship. He also performed in the concerts organized by Maiwand Bank, Indian Embassy in Afghanistan, Women peace forum, Masood Foundation etc.
In the 2009 Dr Srinivas and Padmasree Yarlagadda Lakshmi Prasad organized Telugu Bhasha Chaitanya Yatra from Vijayawada to Srikakulam Dist with eminent literary personalities which have given tremendous inspiration to the promotion of Telugu language.
In the year 2009 December Dr Srinivas released an awe-inspiring song “Oyi Teluguvaada” penned by Dr Rentala Venkateswara Rao, which inspired millions of Telugus to be united.
In the year 2010 he created his 3rd and hat-rick Guinness world record by performing 55 concerts in 24 hours in Narasapur, Bhimavaram and Palakol towns in the category most concerts performed in 24 hours.
Dr Srinivas bagged many awards from various cultural and film club organizations. He received the “Best Play Back singer” award for his rendition of the title song for the super Hit Telugu TV serial “Abhishekam” of ETV produced and presented by Dr Dasari Narayana Rao.
Ghazal Srinivas (Kesiraju Sriniivas) Popularized the Ghazals of Dr C Narayana Reddy, Dr Rentala, Dr Tatavarthy Raja Gopa Balam, Dr Penna Siva Rama Krishna, Sri Rasa Raju and many others . Dr Srinivas transformed the subject of Telugu ghazal from wine and women to values of life. He has also written many ghazals in Telugu and encouraged young poets in writing by giving them different topics. He gives utmost importance for Human values and human emotions in his ghazal renderings. His unique composition of ghazals mesmerizes the audience and every one relates themselves to the essence of his Ghazals. His Ghazal concerts emerged to be a life time experiences for the audience.
In the 2011 a rare honor to an Artist, a Pylon (Sthoopam) was built in his native place Palakol to pay respects to Dr Ghazal Srinivas’s accomplishments in field of Ghazals and his contribution for world Peace.
In the 2011 his satirical song on the attitude of Telugu community “vaadu Telugodey” has created sensation among the Telugu Speaking people. In the 2012 the premier award of the State of A.P “Kala Ratna” was conferred upon Dr Ghazal Srinivas (Kesiraju Sriniivas) for his great contribution to Music and Telugu Ghazals.
Dr Srinivas’s song for “Nee Badi Pilustondi” for popular TV channel ABN has become motivating factor for Almuni of various Rural and Urban Government School Students to take care and renovate the schools where they were all educated. The song and programme won number of Awards and laurels from the public.
Dr Ghazal Srinivas (Kesiraju Sriniivas) extensively toured all over the Globe and visited USA, England, Wales, Scotland, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Canada, Dubai, Abudabi, Sharjah, Kuwait,Qatar, Muscat, Mexico, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Uganda and many countries to perform ghazal concerts.
Dr Ghazal Srinivas (Kesiraju Sriniivas) developed his singing abilities in Hindi and Urdu languages by taking lessons in their respective languages. He is launching his first Urdu Ghazal album “RUBARU” in the month of May 2013.
Dr Ghazal Srinivas (Kesiraju Sriniivas) first album Sri Srinivasam, was released in 2001. Ever since he had continued success and as of 2011 he has released more than 35 albums and hundreds of songs on different social issues.
Dr Ghazal Srinivas (Kesiraju Sriniivas) Telugu Ghazal album “Nenu Naa Illu “launched by Aditya Music India in 2004 and become super hit. Dr Ghazal Srinivas (Kesiraju Sriniivas) organized patriotic events like “Tiranga Run” Vandey Gandheeyam’ etc were all an inspiration to National integration.
In 2001 Dr Ghazal Srinivas (Kesiraju Sriniivas) has been appointed as Cultural wing Head for Gandhi Global Family, lead by Union Minster for health and former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Sri Ghulam Nabi Azad Ji and Padmasree SP Varma.
A Biography published on Dr Ghazal Srinivas (Kesiraju Sriniivas) in Telugu “Niranthara Spoorthi” by V.Krishnam Raju and a special Book “20 Vasanthala Ghazal Gaanam” was launched during Celebrations of his Twenty years of Ghazal singing Journey.
Dr Ghazal Srinivas (Kesiraju Sriniivas) served Lazarus Hospitals health Mission as Brand Ambassador and also for Andhra Pradesh Olympic Association
Dr Ghazal Srinivas (Kesiraju Sriniivas) is a Founder adviser and Brand Ambassador for prestigious National level Telugu organization in USA known as North America Telugu Society (NATS].
Currently Dr Ghazal Srinivas (Kesiraju Sriniivas) has been appointed as Honorary Brand Ambassador for “Save Temples Mission” organized by Savemtemples.org and Global Hindu Heritage Foundation. He is also Honarary Adviser for Lions International and Honorary member in Rotary club of Vijayawada.
Prestigious Film Nagar cultural Centre, Hyderabad and Andhra Cultural Club, Chennai Honoured Dr Ghazal Srinivas (Kesiraju Sriniivas) by inducting him as their Honorary Life time Member.