Mallikarjun Mansur was born on December 31, 1910 in a village in Dharwad district of Karnataka. He had four brothers and three sisters. His elder brother Baswaraj had his own theatre troupe. At the age of nine, Mallikarjun played a small part in a play. The experience fascinated him so much that he ran away from home and joined a touring drama troupe. Although his father brought him back home, the stage continued to fascinate him and he soon joined another touring theatrical company.
It was through the initiative of a friend that Ustad Manji Khan of the Jaipur Gharana, noticed Mallikarjun. Already trained in the Gwalior style, Mallikarjun was able to absorb the rich Jaipur style. The virtuosity of the Jaipur Gharana was more evident in his style. He could cast a hypnotic spell on his audience with his astounding breath control and the absolute purity of his swaras. There was always a special intensity to his singing, a special urgency and earnestness in his treatment of melody.
Raga Khat Todi : (Download)
Raga Nat Kamod : (Download)
Raga Jaitashri : (Download)
The most memorable among his early concerts was the Ganesha Utsav concert in Mumbai, in which he sang for over six hours. In 1932, after a special audition by HMV, he cut his first gramophone record. But although he had made several discs for HMV when he was still in his early twenties, music did not become a paying profession to Mallikarjun until much later in life.
Raga Durga – Chatar Sughara : (Download)
Raga Vihang : (Download)
Mallikarjun had always led a simple life. So many of our well known artists move about with a swagger for they seem to believe that they are indeed the colossi striding the scene. Mallikarjun did not possess a regal bearing. He did not clothe himself in princely robes. He did not care to be the center of attraction. He continued to look like a shopkeeper’s accountant. He rarely referred to his triumphs. He won not only the respect but the affection of his contemporaries. He was wholly without envy. His airs were what he sang. He did not put on any.
Struck by lung cancer, he died on Saturday September 12, 1992.