Noted poet and playwright C. Ashwath has became a houshold name in the Indian state, Karnataka. He has been considered as the only music director who has secured a distinct place for himself in the three fields of music Theatre, Sugam Sangeetha and Film
On 29th December in the year 1939, this eminent persona of music was born. From Bangalore University he obtained his graduation in Science. C. Ashwath has also served the Indian Telephone Industries for 27 long years before retiring as an Executive Engineer in the year 1992. His induction to the field of music began as a disciple of Devagiri Shankararao Joshi in Hindustani Music. He was initiated into the field of theatre music by composing music for Ku. Vem. Pu`s Smashana Kurukshetra. Then onwards he started experimenting with music in the productions like Othello, Mid Summer Nights Dream, Caucasian Chalk Circle and others.
Most of the compositions that he made for theatre music are mainly inspired by folk music. Some noteworthy experiments done by him are: Using just human voices for the kannada version of All My Sons; Using jazz music for kannada version of Caucasian Chalk Circle; Using percussion instruments for Mricchakatika; A fusion of Hindustani and Karnataki music for Bhairavi, and adaptation of Amadeus. For his outstanding contribution in the field of theatre music in Karnataka, the Karnataka Nataka Academy conferred him a fellowship in the year 1994.
C. Ashwath induction to the world of film geared up when the popular play Kalkanakote has been decided to be produced on celluloid. He has racked up music for more than 20 films in kannada throughout the last decade. And at the same time he has fetched the National or State Government awards for half of his compositions. C. Ashwath has also took part in screenplay writing for such films as Santa Shishunala Sharifa, Mysoru Mallige, Chinnari Mutta and Kotreshi Kanasu in order to ensure his `total film` participation. This effort of his has also won many State and National Awards too. To mention a noteworthy film of his is `Nagamandala` where he shares the credit both for screenplay writing and exerting the baton. It has been told that `Nagamandala stands as an unique experiment with 17 songs that depict the story`.
C. Aswath has also been a well-recognized playback singer. He has given his voice for a number of films with music scored by veteran music directors like G.K. Venkatesh, Raan-Nagendra, Vijaya Bhaskar, Rangarao, Hamsalekha, Manohar V, Ilayaraja, Guru Kiran, Nagendra Prasad, Mano Murthy, Sadhu Kokila, S Narayan, Venkat Narayan, Ravi Chandran and Raja. Some films where he has given his voice are, Shubam, Matha, Shishya, Amrutha Dhaare, Deadly Soma, Veeru, Thimma, Hatavaadi, Devi, Yentha Tamaasha Kano.
His contribution in the field of film has unquestionably outstanding. But his participation to Sugam Sangeet also fetched him a special honor with legendary personalities such as Kalingarao and Mysore Anantaswamy. Today C. Aswath has been regarded as synonymous to Sugam Sangeet in Karnataka.
It has been said that as a composer C. Aswath brought a freshening, new approach to Sugam Sangeet. This new approach has been brought with the offerings that came to his mind that as the lyric is the most powerful element in music it also acts as the moving flavor behind the music in Sugam Sangeet. Thus a new distinctive style of delivering Sugam Sangeet started mesmerizing the listeners.
C. Aswath has recorded eight cassettes comprised of 72 songs. He has farmed 77 audio cassettes since the year 1980, through which he has propagated the poetic works of Kuvempu, Da Ra Bendre, Narasimhaswamy, D.V.G. Gopalakrishna Adiga, G.S. Shivaradruppa, Lakshminarayana Bhatta, Venkatesha Murthy, Lakshmana Rao and others. For more than a crore of kannadigas hum poetry all over Karnataka the credit is given to C. Aswath. Some popular albums released to his credit are, Shishunala Sharif Sahebara Geethegalu, Barako pada Barako, Shravana, Mankuthimmana Kagga, Kannadave Sathya, Mysoru Mallige, Spandana, Deepika, Bannada Hakki (Makkala Kavitegalu), Subba Bhattara Magale
Maavu Bhevu, Anuraga, Kengulabi, Sampada, Kailasam Geethegalu, Nagamandala
Jodi Jeeva, Sharana gadilinga, Antharanga, Hachevu Kannada Deepa, Aniketana, Bhava Bindu, Koodala Sangama, Kaanunu Arivu Neravu, Archana, Thoogu Mancha, Nannavalu.
The book on Sugam Sangeet, defining the form and detailing the techniques, nuances of the form, defining the role of the composer vis-a-vis the poet or the writer has been first ever written by C. Aswath. He made the avenues clear that were unfolded for years of the discipline called Sugam Sangeet. The book also won from the Karnataka Sangeeta Nritya Academy Aswath an award besides winning many an accolade from both critics and common readers. For his stupendous contribution to music in Karnataka, he has been awarded the Karnataka Rajyotsava Award and also the Santa Shishunala Prashasti, the highest state award.
The illustrious Sugam Sangeeth (Light Music) Singer and Composer Sri C. Aswath has established "Bhavayana", a team of music connoisseurs led by him. This team is the brain child of C. Aswath. This team of music connoisseurs has been established with the aim of `enriching "Sugam Sangeeth" with fresh singing talents across the state and new songs, the music for which will be composed by the seasoned Sri C Aswath`.
The most important purpose of `Team Bhavayana` is to endorse Kannada poetry with musical facets by bringing out Audio CD`s containing poetry of all renowned poets like Panje Mangesharayaru, Thi Nam Shree, B.M.Shree, Masti Venkatesha Iyengar, Kuvempu, Pu.Thi.Na, Gopalakrishna Adiga, Da.Ra.Bendre, K.S.Narasimhaswamy, Betageri Krishna Sharma, G.S.Shivarudrappa, Channaveera Kanavi, Su.Ram.Yekkundi, N.S.Lakshminarayana Bhatta, Nissar Ahmed, Chandrashekara Kambar, B.R.Laxmanarao, M.N.Vyasarao, Dodda Range Gowda, Siddalingiah, Chandrashekara Patil, Pattanna Shetty, Basavaraj Sabarada, Subbaraya Chokkadi, Dundiraj, Kamala Hemmige, M.R.Kamala, Jayanth, Vaidehi, Sumatheendra Nadig are to name few. The team Bhavayana is comprised of C. Aswath- Renowned Singer & Composer, Dr. H.S.Venkatesh Murthy- Renowned Poet & Dramatist, Arvind Kiggal-- Well Known Sound Engineer, N.S.Prasad- Well Known Mandolin Player & Music Composer, Shabbir Ahmed- Well Known Key Board Player, B.Sudarshan- Popular Guitarist, G.L.Ramesh Kumar- Popular Flautist.