Resolute rendering

Resolute rendering

Sugama Sangeeta

Manchale is a tiny hamlet near Sagara, Shimoga . The Dixith family into which Narahari Dixith was born, resided here. The great saint Sridhara Swami of Varadapura was the guiding spirit of the family.

The muse had by then already taken up lodgings in the young Narahari, manifesting herself initially as an innate liking for music. Whether it was the traditional bhajans sung at dinner time, or the radio broadcasts of the stalwarts of light music like those of P Kalinga Rao, Mysore Ananthaswamy, C Aswath, HR Leelavathi, H K Narayana and others, they made a deep impact on Narahari.

With no formal training in the basics of music, he could immediately grasp the nuances and faithfully reproduce the tunes. Humming while vending flowers to sustain the family, nurturing the ambition to study law, he bided his time until a kind benefactor facilitated his travel to Bangalore.

Then followed a concatenation of occurrences which saw him enrolling for further studies while taking up sundry jobs to make ends meet. The wellspring of music sustained him through all his tribulations, until it reached ‘critical mass’ when he decided to take up music full-time as his calling. This was easier said than done, as he had to face the harsh realities of life. Never one to accept anything gratis in life, his pertinacity and firm resolve saw him taking up teaching music. With a humble start in an acquaintance’s house, Narahari Dixith soon became well known as an able and competent teacher who could mould his students to admirable levels of proficiency.

Singing from the heart

Around the same time, he also caught the eye of connoisseurs with his soulful renditions of the lyrics of poets like Kuvempu, Bendre, H S Venkateshamurthy, N S Lakshminarayana Bhatta, K S Narasimhaswamy, G S Shivarudrappa, Gopalakrishna Adiga and others. With a resilient voice that traverses the octaves with ease and a timbre that enables him to vocalise with feelings commensurate to the mood of the song, Narahari today stands out as one of the leading performers of sugama sangeetha in Karnataka.

A clear pronunciation is the hallmark of his singing. What is indeed surprising is that for one with no formal grounding in classical music, his renditions are faithful to the contours of many classical ragas like Yaman, Desh, Kalyani, Mohana etc with a rhythm that is in step with the raga and the text. He attributes it to his connate musical sensibility, as also to his listening to the music of the greats of not only the classical genres, but also to ghazals of Jagjit Singh, Ghulam Ali and others. Not surprisingly, his eclectic oeuvre includes Kannada poetry, Haridasa devaranamas, patriotic songs, traditional songs etc.  Many popular melodies like Kanada Kadalige, Kodagana Koli Nungittha, Amma Yemba Mathige, Purandaradasa’s Tarakka Bindige, Kanakadasa’s Nanu Neenu Yennadiru have been much enjoyed.


Immensely popular with his institution ‘Srujana Sangeetha Shaale’, located at various localities of Bangalore, Narahari has groomed innumerable students who have made a mark for themselves in the bhavageetha music world. The legendary S P Balasubramaniam was so pleasantly surprised to learn that many winners of the famous Yede Thumbi Hadidenu contest on television were his students that he sent word to Narahari and expressed his appreciation and was also instrumental in Narahari being empanelled as one of the judges on the jury.

No airs, no pretences, no artificiality of any sort, despite many honours and awards. With his mission statement ‘Learn music, enjoy music’, Narahari Dixith, who once distributed flowers, now spreads the fragrance of music, a refreshing breeze of Malnad.