Shammas Oliyath – Bengaluru’s Own Velvet Voice
Hai Subse Madhur Woh Geet Jinhe
Hum Dard Ke Sur Mein Gaate Hai…….
These words are written by renowned lyricist Shailendra and sung by the famous ghazal singer Talat Mahmood. However I am not going to write about the song or the singer, but would try to draw your attention to such a singer who has grown listening to the songs of Talat Mahmood and consider him to be his inspiration for singing.
I am talking about singer Shammas Oliyath, a singer who is famous in his circles for singing Talat Mahmood and Mukesh’s songs. Shammas was born into a family with a strong music background at Thalassery, Kerala.”Oliyath” and “TC Maliyakkal” are the prominent Muslim families at Thalassery. To go back to his roots, Shammas is the grandson of TC Ummer who was a renowned musician at Thalassery. TC Ummer was a part of a musical group called “Janatha Sangeetha Sabha” along with other well-known Malayalam music directors like AT Ummer, Kannur Rajan, Vadakara Krishnadas etc, where Ummer was considered as a ‘guru’ by all members of the group. For Shammas it is a matter of great pride when he is recognized as the grandson of such a great musician and this proves to be the greatest motivation for him to continue singing with his melodious voice.
Being from such a musical background, Shammas developed an intense liking for music from a very early age. He recalls, at school he was part of the orchestra team as a keyboard player. Shammas made a special mention of his Markose master who went out of his way to motivate the orchestra team and their musical activities. It was from that early stage itself that he became an ardent listener of songs sung particularly by Mukesh and Talat Mahmood.
Shammas is a great fan of Hindi old melodies and music directors like Madan Mohan, S.D. Burman, Naushad, C. Ramachandra, Anil Biswas, Chitragupta, Ravi, Shankar Jaikishan, Kalyanji Anandji, Roshan, Ghulam Muhammed, are some of his favourites. He wants the present generation also to be acquainted with the golden era of Hindi music and it is also because of this that he attempts to recreate the magic of Mukesh and Talat Mahmood by singing their songs. His talent of melodious singing came in front of the public way back in 2011. It started from singing a Talat Mahmood’s number Sham-E-Gham Ki Kasam in a group called Bhoole Bisre Geet where he was much appreciated, especially by Falguni Upadhyay, a member of the group, who continues to encourage Shammas even today for the wonderful singer within him.
Chetan Mamtora gave Shammas the break for his first stage show. He did the show, organised by Mamtora, on 16th November 2012, with Malvika Singh. The show was called ‘Yeh Raatein Ye Mausam’ featuring melodies of 40s, 50s and 60s. His next show proved to be a turning point in his life. It was with Biju Nair, a show which was a tribute to Shankar Jaikishan and Laxmikant Pyarelal, held at Chowdiah Hall, Bangalore on 21st Sept 2013. It became a show which he would cherish throughout his life because he felt that he had to go out of his way to match the standard of the quality of the singers who were part of the team.
Being an active member of Bhoole Bisre Geet, Shammas got an opportunity to sing for cause and bring smile on faces of different people. Apart from Bhoole Bisre Geet he is also a member of a musical team called Bangalore Musical Talent. It is a group of people whose motto is to gradually set up a platform for the musical talents of Bengaluru.
Shammas is such a person who has imbibed music completely in his blood and is not only a singer but he is also passionate about composing music. Composition is actually his interest in music. He first composed a two liner in Malayalam which he used to sing for his daughter Aalia while putting her to sleep. Next was when he wrote and composed his first song for his wife on the occasion of their wedding anniversary. His venture of composing music continues with working on an album with the title ‘Kaash’ with Bal Krishn Birla, a friend and a member of Bhoole Bisre Geet who has penned down the lyrics for the songs of the album. The album is still in process of completion with a surety to hit the media very soon.
Music is not the only passion which Shammas nurtures in his heart; he has represented Kerala State in Under 13 Cricket team and Under 14 Table Tennis Team during 1992-1993. His love for sports and his valuable contribution continues even today as an executive member of the Beatrice Sports Club. Currently Shammas works as Senior Staff Software Engineer at IBM in Bangalore, but never has he allowed his love for music to die.
Artists like Mohammed Rafi, Mukesh Chand Mathur, Talat Mahmood and AR Rahman are people who have always impressed and inspired Shammas for not just being the wonderful artist but also for being a great human being, for he believes that it is very important for one to be a good person first apart from being a good artist and this is a message which he wants to convey everyone around him.
There are few people who agreed to share their view about this wonderful singer.
Yamini from Mumbai said that when she first heard Shammas singing, she got lost in his velvety voice. According to Yamini, Shammas’s voice reminds her of Talat Mahmood’s voice and so she has nicknamed Shammas as ‘Talat’ and prefers calling him by his nickname.
Deepa, a music lover from Nagpur finds Shammas’s voice really soothing.
Shammas is a great singer, and smiles on the face of his listeners add up to his encouragement and motivate him to go on singing and flourish his name as a great singer.