Karnataka

Shimoga Subbanna: the voice of Kuvempu

A file photo of Shimoga Subbanna peforming at ‘Tatwa Rasanubhava’ in memory of Santa Shishunala Sharief and Guru Govinda Bhat organised by Prasar Bharati Doordarshan Kendra in Bengluru.

A file photo of Shimoga Subbanna peforming at ‘Tatwa Rasanubhava’ in memory of Santa Shishunala Sharief and Guru Govinda Bhat organised by Prasar Bharati Doordarshan Kendra in Bengluru. | Photo Credit: K. BHAGYA PRAKASH

Shimoga Subbanna though sang poems of many poets in his over five-decade-long career, he was recognised as the voice of Kuvempu. Even Kuvempu himself often said Subbanna sang his poetry best, going further he said if anyone sang bhavageethe, they have to sing like Subbanna.

His first independent cassette was “Kuvempu Geethegalu”, in 1983-84, an album of 10 Kuvempu poems that he composed music for and sang, which was an instant hit. “Most of the songs in the album have remained classics and chartbusters on streaming platforms even today,” said Lahari Velu, whose company Lahari Music brought out the album. Songs in the album “Anandamaya ee Jagahrudaya..”, “O Nanna Chetana..”, “Baarisu Kannada Dindimava..”, “Aganita Taraganagala Naduve…” to name a few made him an instant household name across the State.

The gambheerya of his voice and his deep reading of literature lent itself well for the vast spiritual and philosophical canvas of Kuvempu’s poetry, to create a magic that was often not surpassed by others who composed and sang Kuvempu’s poems. Many have remarked that listening to Subbanna sing a Kuvempu poem was a spiritual experience in itself.

Theatre thespian C.R. Simha who directed and acted in the play “Rasarishi - Kuvempu Darshana” writes in the commemorative volume “Gauravanvita Gayaka Dr. Shimoga Subbanna”, that in 1993 he wanted only Subbanna to compose music for the play, as he couldn’t imagine anyone else to compose for a play based on Kuvempu’s life.

“He had some inhibitions that he had never composed music for a play earlier. But he did for our play and it was such a musical hit too,” Mr. Simha wrote, making special mention of how “Aanandamaya ee Jagahrudaya..”, which in Subbanna’s rendering in a mandra tone transported the audience into a spiritual zone.


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Printable version | Sep 18, 2022 10:54:39 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/shimoga-subbanna-the-voice-of-kuvempu/article65762618.ece