Nightingale of Karnataka:  Smt.Kasthuri Shankar

-Smt.Sathyavathi R

At the tender age of four years, she was able to understand and memorize the songs she heard and was able to present it with ease. She is Karnataka’s prestigious singer, she has a melodious voice and is known as ‘Gana Sharade’. She is none other than Kasturi Shankar. She has a deep relationship with Kannada language, she also has an affiliation with Bhakti Sangeetha, Vachana Sangeetha, Sugama Sangeetha and also movie songs. She is a role model for all the budding singers.



Any body’s childhood is filled with playing and enjoying, but it was not the same for Kasturi Shankar. At the age of 7 years, she was inspired by the songs of ‘P Kalingaraya’ who is well known as ‘Bheeshma’ of the music world. Since 1962 she started singing and performing stage shows which mesmerized the audience. She liked and started singing H R Leelavathi’s song ‘Uduganaveshtitha’.

Shashtriya Sangeetha:

She learnt music from great personalities like A Subba Rao and D B Harindra. She was married to a well-known harmonist M Shankar who was the fourth son of Shri Arunachalappa, owner of ‘Aruna Music’. M Shankar was the one to encourage her in singing.



Her Journey Towards cinemas:

In 1973 a famous dialogue writer Kanagal Prabhakar Sashtri was inspired by Kasturi Shankar’s melodious voice and gave her the chance to sing in his movie ‘Bettada Gowri’. She sung many songs whose lyricist was R Parameshwar and entered to film field. She sung in movies directed by Puttana Kanagal, K S L Swamy, B L Ranga, music directed by Vijaya Bhaskar, T G Lingappa, Rajan Nagandra, M Ranga Rao, Gunasingh, G K Venkatesh, B V Srinivas and worked with many more artists and was awarded “ The best playback singer” award.



She also worked in other language cinemas like: Malayalam, Tulu and has given her voice in about 60 movies.



She got the privilege of working with Dr Rajkumar, Vishnuvardhan, K J Yesudas, T N Soundar Rajan, S P Balasubramanyam and Vanijayaram while singing the popular songs in the film ’Bhagya Jyothi’ and the song is ‘ Gudiya Serada Mudiyeerada Kadegaaniso Huvalli’.

Imprint of Kasturi Shankar:

She has her imprint in the field of Sugama Sangeetha and worked for the songs written by the famous kavi Kuvempu, Bendre, G S Shivarudrappa, Channaveera kanavi, D V G Nissar Ahmed, H S Venkatesh Murthy, N S Lakshmi Narayana Bhat, Doddarange Gowda, M S Vyasarao which was directed by Padmacharan, Mysore Ananthaswamy, C Ashwath, B V Srinivas,P S Vasanth, G V Athri and became a well-known singer.



She has the credit of singing thousands of Bhakti songs not only in Kannada, but also in Sanskrit, Hindi, Tulu, Telugu, Tamil, Konkani and also she has sung Bhavageethe, sharanara vachana. She is a ‘top grade’ artist in Akashvani and chandana vahini.



In Delhi’s constitution club, in the presence of Prime Minister of India – Atal Bhihari Vajpayee, L K Advani ,she sung Meera Bhajans and devotional songs, Tualasi Das, Kabir’s Bhajans and became prestigious singer of India.



She put her feet all over the world not only in Karnataka, Mumbai, Delhi, Kerela, Chennai, Andhra pradesh, she has also performed in America, Australia by singing sugama sangeetha, vachanas and flim songs and got encouraged and awarded by many for ‘Best playback singer’.

Rajyotsava Prashasthi, Athimabbe Prashasthi, Karnataka Kalashree Prashasthi, Kadali Prashasthi, Kempegowda Prashasthi, Vachana Sahithyasree, Dr Rajkumar Prashasthi, Rajya Viveka Sangeetha Prashasthi, Social Service Prashasthi, Lavanya Prashasthi, Sri Yedayuru Siddhalingeshwara prashasthi, Suvarnasree Prashasthi, Ramanashree Prashasthi and Bala Gangadhara Swamy Smaran Prashasthi.



Many organizations presented the awards and gave her the title ‘Nadamaya Kasturi’, ‘Gaana Kala Kausthubha’, ‘Gaana Sharadhe’ and ‘The Nightingale of Kannada’. In the 12th sangeetha sammelana which was organized in Chamaraja Nagara, she became the president of Sugama Sangeetha Parishath sammelana.



Being an inspiration

Even at the age of 65 her energy levels are so high that she performed so well, she also started teaching many youngsters by organizing training camps and became a role model to many budding singers.



A symbol of Indian Culture:

She always presented herself in the Indian attire and is never inspired by western culture. She never crossed the boundaries of Indian Culture. Big bindi on her forehead made everyone recognize her easily.



Music Education to Students:

As the saying goes: As is the mother, so is the daughter. As is the thread so is the saree. Her Daughter Usha Umesh Murthy has opened “Mayura School of Music” in Bengaluru and is spreading the knowledge of music to many students. She also celebrates the annual day in a grand manner and the budding singers are being honored.



In order to extend the institution, Smt. Kasturi Shankar has many varied activities planned for the future. Such a talented and a women purity in heart is Smt. Kasturi Shankar and we could say that she is a rare gift to Karnataka.



Not only the government of Karnataka recognized her talent and honored her, she was awarded by many organizations and in the recent years 2018 from “Vijaya Vani – Digwijaya” she was awarded “Mahila Sadhaki – 2018”. The honour and recognition she has received has made all Kannadigas proud.


Smt.Sathyavathi R

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