Popularly known as Shivaputra Siddharamayya Komkalimath, Kumar Gandharva was a Hindustani classical singer and globally recognised for his unique vocal style. Born on 8 April 1924, he refused to be bound by the tradition of any gharana and hence was bestowed upon the title Kumar Gandharva when he was a child prodigy. The term “Gandharva” refers to a musical spirit in Hindu mythology. Born in Sulebhavi near Belgaum, Karnataka, India, Gandharva was sent to study music under the well-known B.R. Deodhar. Later, Gandharva married Bhanumati Kans, a vocal teacher at Deodhar’s school in April 1947 and went to Dewas, Madhya Pradesh.
A considerable part of Kumar Gandharva’s ideology is being carried forward by his son, daughter and a group of students including Madhup Mudgal, Shubha Mudgal, Vijay Sardeshmukh and Satyasheel Deshpande. The grandson of Kumar Gandharva, Bhuvanesh was also successful in creating a unique niche in the field of classical singing. In the year 1977, Kumar Gandharva was awarded the Padma Bhushan, followed by India’s second highest civilian honour The Padma Vibhushan in 1990.