|The Genesis of the Male
Voice Ensemble was in the year 1955/1956 when Madras had many excellent
choirs mainly singing in churches. Feeling the need for some good gospel
music that was available in the traditional black style of singing, Dr.
Thomas Gnanamuthu formed "The Vepery Male Voice Choir". The music
rendered was very much appreciated since it was very different from the
classical music that was doing its rounds.
It was in September of 1974 that the group became much smaller almost a
dozen to make the sound more effective under the able leadership of
Dr.Kalyan Subramanyam a very talented musician with an uncanny sense of
harmony to arrange music so electrifying that enthralled the audiences.
The group named themselves the "The Male Voice Ensemble".
When Dr. Kalyan left to take up an assignment in Bahrain in 1992, the
baton came into the hands of Kalyan Subramanyam (jr) who like his uncle is
a very gifted musician, adapting the Ensemble to do music with modern
settings of chords and harmony that the present generation is listening
The strength of the Ensemble is first and foremost a strong sense of
belonging in friendship with one another and the ability to experience the
finer aspects of the joy of singing together. The blend of spiritual and
secular music has been made effective through the style of Harmony that is
unique and exclusive to the Ensemble. One of the memorable comments about
the group that was made by a hard-line music critic after a performance...
"They were the only group with soul in their singing"
The Ensemble has performed all over India to packed audiences and in
October 2006 was invited to perform in Northern Ireland as part of the
Music Festival. The Ensemble had captivated the residents of Ireland with
their breathtaking harmony and syncopations that were evident in many a
arrangements that they presented.
The singers range from the very deep voice of Dr. Samuel Grubb, whom
Mahelia Jackson described as a 'bottomless bass' to the leader of the
group Kalyan Subramanyam (jr) who sings high 1st tenor, thereby enabling
the Ensemble to describe 4 octaves on the piano which in itself a rare
pehonmenon .The group is gifted with singers like Dr.Ravi Santosham
specializing in singing country and western songs and James Davids (Tony)
in singing popular black Gospel American music. The Ensemble with its
other members, Paul Augustine, Billy John Robertson, Sam Paul and Ebenezer
Arun Kumar have been blessed with a natural blending of voices that
completes the vocal brilliance of the group .The Ensemble renders music
from spirituals, classic to jazz and pop with many fun songs thus
highlighting their versatility and making all their performances
entertaining and enjoyable.