Shimoga Subbana’s unique voice resonates through generations

His passing marks the gradual disappearance of a pioneer generation of singers and musicians who made Sugam Sangeeta a raga.

Her passing marks the gradual disappearance of a leading generation of singers and musicians, who made Sugam Sangeeta a rage.

His unique voice, which was rich and deep, gave Shimoga Subbana a special place in the cult of Bhavagite singers in Carnatic.

His death on Thursday probably marks the gradual disappearance of a pioneer generation of singers and musicians, who took the form of Sugam Sangeeta (the tradition of setting poems to music, thereby bringing poetry closer to the people) in a rage. made.

Lahiri Velu of Lahiri Music, who put out most of their albums, said that what set Shimoga Subbana apart from other singers was the quality of her voice. “As an artist he may have sung fewer songs than many others, this is because he was against mass commercialization of the art. But almost every song he sang remains a classic and he is a connoisseur. Even today, most of his songs are being listened to by millions of listeners on the streaming platform and we are sure the same will happen in the decades to come.

Born in Nagra in Shivamogga district in 1

938, Shimoga Subbana became a household name when he won the Silver for Best Playback Singer (Male) for his song “Kadu Kudure Odi Banditta…” in Chandrashekhar Kambar’s film “Kadukudure” in 1979. Kamal won the award and he never looked back.

Pro. ns Laxminarayan Bhatta, Subbanna’s friend, from his student days when he was nicknamed “College Rafi” for his singing talent and even sang the national anthem in front of Jawaharlal Nehru, suggested his name to another friend, Kambar. , who were making movies.

He sang for the first time in the film Karimayi, but his name G Subrahmanya became an obstacle for him. The cassette record firm printed the name of SP Balasubramaniam instead, given how ubiquitous SPB was at the time. Even radio was also giving the credit of the song to SPB,” Prof. Bhatta once said.

Dr. Kambar recalled his association with Subbana that when he next sang for Kadukudure, he decided to name her Shimoga Subbana, which stuck. The singer soon changed his name officially as well. The song went on to fetch him a National Award.

However, despite winning the National Award, Kannada cinema did not provide him with great opportunities. The loss of Kannada cinema was a major gain for the region of Sugam Sangeeta, which was gathering steam and soon became a trend in the early 1980s. Among the most popular cassettes of the time were Shishunala Sharif Geetegalu – in which Subbana sang three songs “Kodagana Koli Nungitta..”, “Biddiyabe Muduki..” and “Albeda Tangi..”, they immediately became chartbusters.

He worked in an auditor’s office and was a lawyer in Shivamogga before relocating to Bengaluru in 1983, looking for better opportunities and this gave a major boost to his career. However, he also continued to work as a lawyer and was also an advocate for the Government of Karnataka in the High Court for eight years.

After his shift to the city, he gave concerts across the state and more albums made him very popular. Subbanna often attributes his success to All India Radio where he was an A grade artist for more than five decades.

Although his most popular songs were Tattvapada by Shishunala Sharif, Kuvempu’s poems which were spiritual and philosophical were his specialty. He also sang several delicate compositions like “Bunni Bhavgale Banni Nannadege..” or “Yarigu Helonu Beda..”. His singing was also deeply influenced by classical music, which set him apart from other singers of his time. Growing up in a family strongly influenced by Carnatic music, he was a connoisseur of Hindustani music and this greatly influenced his music.

He gave concerts until shortly before the pandemic hit the world, and old age accompanied him. However, till his last days, his voice remained the same and he often sang for his friends at his home, his family members said.