Tuesday 27th June 2017
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SPB 50 World Tour: Tamil Music composer Iliayaraja calls in the lawyers

S.P Balasubramaniam & Ilayaraja, two legendary icons in the South Indian music industry are about to enter a dispute which could change the future of Indian music.

S.P. Balasubramaniam is a renowned, award winning, South Indian playback singer who is currently celebrating his 50th anniversary in the Indian music industry with a world tour. SPB 50 Grand World tour began in 2016 and so far concerts have been conducted in major international cities including Toronto, Moscow, Colombo, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore & Dubai.

The American leg of the tour started on the 11th March in Seattle, followed by Los Angeles on the 12th March 2017. There are a further 12 concerts to be conducted in America, home to a large South Indian (Tamil, Telugu, Malayalee & Kannada) diaspora.

Award winning, South Indian music composer Iliayaraja who is credited with composing many of the hit songs sung by S.P Balasubramaiam, has instructed his lawyers to seek compensation should his compositions be performed at future concerts.

In a statement published via S.P.B’s Facebook page on Saturday 18th March 2017, the S.P.B shared the following.

Dear all, Greetings from US. Had great shows in Seattle and LA last weekend. Grateful for the love you all showered upon us and the profesdional way the organizers conducted the shows.

Couple of days back, an Attorney representing Shri.Iliaya Raja, sent legal notices to me, Smt.Chithra, Charan, organisers of the concerts in different cities and the managements of all the venues, which says that we are not supposed to perform compositions of Shri.Iliayaraja without his permission, if so, it is breaking the copyright law and have to pay huge financial penalities and face legal action. Let me say, I am ignorant of these legalities.

My Son designed this world tour and wekick started this SPB50 conncert tour in August in Toranto, then we performed in Russia, Srilanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai and did lots of shows in India too. I did not get any feelers from Shri. Raja’s office at that time. I dont know why now when we started our US tour. As I said earlier, I am ignorant of the law. If it is a law, so be it and I obey it.

In these circumstances, our troupe can not perform Isaijnani’s compositions from to day. But the show should happen.By God’s grace I have sung lots of other composer’s songs too which we will present. Hope you all will bless our concerts as usual.

I am always grateful for your love and affection. I only request you all not to have any harsh opinions and discussions regarding this. If this is the design of God, I obey it with reverence. Sarvejanah Sukhinobhavanthu.

The news has shocked many as the two icons are portrayed in the media as friends with a long working relationship. Friendship aside, should Ilayaraja be compensated for his compositions being performed?

  • Tirukumar Thiagarajah

    SPB has done a master move by playing victim in this case. He has a history of managing the media and public perception really well. He knows how to work the audience. What he did not mention was how he refused to perform in Ilaiyaraaja’s concerts in spite of their long standing association and how compensation is paid to Rahman for performing his songs.
    Is it fair for Ilaiyaraaja to be denied of some royalty for his compositions? Particularly given the decades of abuse he’s endured?
    He is popular, but hasn’t enjoyed the financial rewards. The composers after Ilaiyaraaja have been more savvy in that regard.

  • Real_Peace

    In any situation, we have to look BOTH sides of the coin before letting our emotions in JUDGEMENT.

    I sincerely hope that it gets sorted out legally as well as ETHICALLY.

    Otherwise, it will be like the Tamil struggle in Sri Lanka, where EGO got in the way…

  • Suresh Balasubramaniam

    SPB gave Raja chance and not other way around. He is a snake