Vasu Dixit to SaRa: Five indie Kannada musicians you'll love

Though these artists have lent their voices to film songs, they are equally popular for their renditions of folk and original music.
Sangeetha Rajeev, Pallavi MD, Vasu Dixit
Sangeetha Rajeev, Pallavi MD, Vasu Dixit

After the hit Tamil song ‘Enjoy Enjaami’, sung by Arivu and Dhee, came out early in March, independent music in south India has been put under the spotlight. The Kannada music industry too has seen the emergence of independent artists who put out a diverse range of music. From SaRa to Vasu Dixit, these five Kannada artists should definitely be on your playlist.

Ananya Bhat

Ananya Bhat (Instagram) 

Ever since her Sandalwood debut, Ananya Bhat has been praised for her voice and versatility. Ananya, who sings in most south Indian languages and Hindi, was heard singing in Kannada for the film KGF. Hailing from Mysuru, the singer is trained in Carnatic music but performs folk songs as well.

The singer also started her own collective, called Ananya Bhat Concerts, under which they perform folk songs with revamped instrumental music. However, focus is given on preserving the original meaning of the songs. In 2019, she won her first Filmfare Awards South under the Best Playback Singer category, for her Telugu debut song ‘Yettagayya Shiva’. She has sung over 30 songs for films in her career so far.

Listen to her rendition of the popular folk song Sojugada Sooju Mallige here:

Sangeetha Rajeev  

Sangeetha Rajeev better known as SaRa (Instagram) 

Sangeetha Rajeev, popularly known as SaRa, is a singer and composer. SaRa is known for dabbling in multiple genres like pop, electronic dance music (EDM) and film songs. The artist was first introduced to the film industry by composer Dharma Vish, who had Rajeev sing Yentane Taragathi for the Kannada film Aane Pataaki. She then went onto sing for Tollywood, while simultaneously composing her own music. Although SaRa is known for her film songs, she is widely known as an independent artist.

Trained in Hindustani and Carnatic classical music, the singer has noted that her mother M K Sharadamba, a Carnatic musician, is her inspiration. The artist has won equal praise for her pop as well as folk songs.

many accolades for her pop songs and has received an equal number of praises for her folk songs. Watch her version of a folk song from north Karnataka here:

Pallavi MD

Pallavi MD (Instagram)

Pallavi MD is a Kannada Sugama Sangeetha and playback singer who has also won Karnataka State Film Awards for her song ‘Nodayya Kwate Lingave’ (from the 2007 film Duniya). She trained in Hindustani classical music and continued her musical education under late Mysore Ananthaswamy who taught her the Sugama Sangeetha style. She has performed with many bigwigs and contemporary artistes like Shilpa Mudbi Kothakoda as well. Her collaborative project, ‘The Threshold’ which she spearheaded with Bindhumalini Narayanaswamy, was very well received by audiences.

The singer has not only worked in theatre, but has also acted and directed films. She was a part of many musicals and plays like Taayavva and worked behind the curtains for her grandfather AS Murthy’s theatre group Abhinayataranga. She has also adapted famous works such as Arthur Miller’s The Crucible into plays.

Watch her perform ‘Deepavu Ninnade’, a Bhavageete, here:

Vasu Dixit

Musician Vasu Dixit 

Vasu Dixit, the vocalist and guitarist of the band Swarathma, is known for his unconventional methods in his music and performance. Apart from playing with his folk/fusion band, the musician has also recorded Kannada film songs and his own album, titled ‘Vasu Dixit’. During the COVID-19-induced lockdown last year, Vasu Dixit with his partner Bindhumalini released a short series of quirky comedy sketches called ‘Gyan Mandali’. His scope is not limited to being a musician, though. He’s also a graphic designer and a filmmaker; he has also conducted workshops around music production, singing and songwriting.

The recently released acoustic version of his song ‘Nadiyolage’ has become a fan favourite on YouTube. Watch the video here:

Sanjith Hegde

Sanjith Hegde (Instagram)

The multilingual playback singer shot to fame after participating in the Kannada version of the popular musical talent show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa and later participated in the Tamil version of the show as well. Hegde delivered the chartbuster song ‘Gunu Gunuguva’ from the 2017 film Dalapathi. Since then, he has been growing in popularity as both a playback and independent artist. Sanjith has also sang in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi song, and has performed in multiple locations across the globe. The singer already has over 80 songs to his credit, most of which were for films.

Although he is known for his rhythm and blues, rock and pop music, Sanjith was trained in Hindustani classical music. He worked with music director and actor Charan Raj for the recently released film Popcorn Monkey Tiger. He also worked on his solo independent album in 2020.

Listen to the track ‘Maadeva’ from Popcorn Monkey Tiger here: 

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