|Birth name||Kandiah Kamalesvaran|
13 November 1934 |
Kuala Lumpur, Federated Malay States
Kamahl is the stage name of Kandiah Kamalesvaran AM (Tamil: கந்தையா கமலேஸ்வரன்; born 13 November 1934), a singer and recording artist active in Australia, perhaps best known for "The Elephant Song", and his repertoire of popular music.
As he made his way into the Australian music industry, Rupert Murdoch was an early important mentor. Murdoch tipped Kamahl £10 at a concert in December 1958 and encouraged him to move to Sydney. Without asking, Murdoch arranged for Kamahl to perform a six-week season at the Hotel Australia in Sydney. After that season, he boarded with the Murdochs for two years. Kamahl was a finalist in the Sydney Eisteddfod Sun Aria in 1966 singing Verdi's Ella giammai m'amò and Mussorgsky's Farewell and death of Boris.
It was about this time that he co-wrote and sang the theme song long-lost and best forgotten feature film called "Journey Out Of Darkness" made through the services of Supreme Sound Studios, Paddington, Sydney filmed around Orange in NSW. Directed by an American it premiered at the State Theatre Sydney, ran for about a week and was never seen or heard of again. This should be really be his 'first' recorded material and an original copy still exists in a private collection.
Kamahl has performed at the London Palladium and Carnegie Hall, as well as pubs and clubs throughout Australia. In 1982 Queen Elizabeth II asked him to give a Royal Command performance in Brisbane for the Commonwealth Games there. In 1984, he sang with Cathy Lee Johnson at the L.A. Variety Telethon.
His first album was A Voice to Remember, which was released in Australia in October 1967. He has released singles and albums in the United States, Canada, Britain, New Zealand, South America, India, Singapore, Malaysia and Germany (the last in German, as well as in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Scandinavia. From 1967 onwards in Australia his records, tapes and CDs were primarily on the Philips label, but he also recorded on EMI, Mercury, Festival, Dino and Reader's Digest.
In 1975, his single, "The Elephant Song" (composed and produced by Hans van Hemert) hit the number one spot on the Dutch Top 40, the Nationale Hitparade (currently Single Top 100) and the Belgian BRT Top 30. This song was part of the soundtrack of a World Wildlife Fund TV documentary.
He has been in the Australian music industry for fifty years, and throughout that time has made some memorable TV and film appearances, as well as concerts. He was one of the first people to appear in concert at the Sydney Opera House. He was a particularly popular guest on the variety show Hey Hey It's Saturday. In 2004 he appeared at the Big Day Out rock festival, and the year before he had cameos in the Australian films Harvie Krumpet and Fat Pizza. He collaborated with the Wiggles for some of their performances, showing his inter-generational appeal.
His latest album is Imagine the World in Unison as of 2005. He is also making appearances as a judge on The X-Factor and has a sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola. On 19 September 2007 he featured on The Chaser's War on Everything on ABC TV where he sang for a 'newly-wed couple' who turned up uninvited on his door.
In early 2008, Kamahl reunited with his old school, Pembroke (then Kings College), and went on tour in the United States with the Pembroke Symphony Orchestra.
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|1969||"Sounds of Goodbye"||19|
|"You've Got To Learn"||39|
|1970||"All I Have To Offer You (Is Me)"||49|
(B-side of above track)
|1972||"Love Is a Mountain"||86|
|1974||"Our Love Song"||56|
|1975||"The Elephant Song"||55|
|1981||"Before You There Was Nothing"||96|
|"Hey There Lord"||100|
In 1988 Kamahl appeared in a television commercial for Dilmah tea ("The Flavour of Ceylon").
In 2009, he accused the Australian TV show Hey Hey It's Saturday of having treated him in a way that smacked of racism, during his past guest appearances. His feelings were revealed to the Australian public shortly after Harry Connick, Jr. complained of a "black faces" skit for the show's "Red Faces" segment.
In 2010, Kamahl made a cameo appearance on Yes We Canberra! as well had a small role in one sketch which was unused but later an extra on the DVD release.
In 2001, he appeared at Sydney Boys High School with the honourable Douglas Stewart.
Awards and recognition
- 1994 – Member of the Order of Australia
- 1998 – Australian Father of the Year award
- 2004 – Australian Centenary Medal by Queen Elizabeth II
He received another Australian honour when he was included in 'Our Entertainers of the 20th Century' in May 2006. Organised by the Variety Club of Australia, the top entertainers of the century included Kylie Minogue, Dame Joan Sutherland, Jack Thompson and Graham Kennedy.
- "Transcripts: Kamahl". Talking Heads with Peter Thompson. ABC. 15 August 2005. Retrieved 5 June 2007.
- Astonished Media
- Lyrics and audio for The Elephant Song
- "Kamahl – The Elephant Song". Dutch Charts (in Dutch). Hung Medien.
- "The Elephant Song – Kamahl". Radio 2 (in Flemish). Brussels: VRT. 2008. Archived from the original on 9 April 2012.
- "Kamahl - Peace On Earth". ABC Music. Retrieved 2015-12-14.
- "Kamahl - Heart and Soul". ABC Shop. Retrieved 2015-12-14.
- "Spicks and Specks – 8:30pm Wednesday, September 08 2010". ABC Television. Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
- "The Unbelievable Truth". Yahoo7 Television. yahoo 7 Australia.
- David Knox (28 May 2013). "Look who's acting in Offspring this week…". TV Tonight.
- It's an Honour
Media related to Kamahl at Wikimedia Commons
- Kamahl's official website
- Some information about Kamahl about when he was young in Malaysia, from the Victoria Institution
- 2005 interview with Kamahl from ABC TV's Talking Heads
- Kamahl performing `My Home` in 2015 at the age of 80 in Newcastle NSW Australia