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Mysore Ananthaswamy

Mysore Ananthaswamy was a classical Indian vocalist; a singer of Kannada Sugama Sangeetha. He set many poems of well known Kannada poets to music and popularised them throughout Karnataka. Some of his most famous songs include "jOgada siri beLakinalli" from the album Nityotsava and "ede tumbi hadidenu andu nAnu".

Mysore Ananthaswamy is a household name in Karnataka who has spread the songs of famous Kannada poets to all corners of the state for the past 40 years. He was amongst the first among those who took literature to the hearts of the masses through his music-composing and singing.

Mysore Ananthaswamy is from a family steeped in music. His grandfather was Vidwan Chikkarama Rao, who, in his time was known as "Taala Bramha". The young Ananthaswamy chose to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather. He developed his natural talents through classical music and later by practicing with the likes of P. Kalingarao and went on to become a gifted artist. His rendition of music to the poems of D. R. Bendre (popularly known as Da Ra Bendre), K V Puttappa (known as Kuvempu), K S Narasimhaswamy, G. S. Shivarudrappa, Nissar Ahmed and Lakshminarayana Bhatta bear testimony to his talents.

There is a distinct identity in Ananthaswamy's composing. He could sense the mood of the poem and create music to make the mood more touching. He had a great sense of blending any style of music into poetry, be it Karnatic or Hindustani or Western with great success. His works stood out for its melody and meaning and was enjoyed by poets, singers and listeners alike. Kurigalu Sir Kurigalu, Ede Tumbi Haadidenu, Tenavina, Madikerili Manju etc., are very ethereal and one gets an impression that the music is an inherent part of the poem.

It was indeed a great experience to hear Ananthaswamy use his compositions in his singing. His voice was ready-made for light music. His voice had the strength of meditation that could enchant the listener. He experienced and internalized each and every word of the poem before giving it a music form. The outcome was a fine blend of literature and music. Ananthaswamy was not only a good musician, but also a good human being. He was always cheerful and never lacked in hospitality. Says Dr. H S Venkatesh Murthy about him and his wife Shantha, "Ananthaswamy and Shantha were made for each other. I can vouch for that because I happen to be a close friend of the couple." Ananthaswamy was modesty personified. His joyous nature was a delight to all those associated with him. He believed in laughing and making others laugh. And never in his lifetime did he let popularity overtake his artistic decorousness. He had a large student following in light music whom he encourage from the bottom of his heart and took active pride in their achievement. His way of rectifying an erring student was sweet talk rather than stern admonition. This peace-loving man often found himself disturbed by two things: literature and music, both inseparable to his life.

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