Noted vocalist Pandit Raghunath Panigrahi passes away

Bhubneswar: Eminent classical singer and music director Padmashri Raghunath Panigrahi passed away on Sunday here after ailing for a few months. He was 82 and is survived by two sons. 

Born on August 10, 1934 at Gunupur in the tribal dominated Koraput district, Panigrahi was a noted vocalist of Gita Govinda. He had dedicated his life for propagation of Jagannath cult and promotion of Geeta Govinda. He was married to renowned Odissi dancer Sanjukta Panigrahi in 1960. After his wife’s death, the well-known vocalist formed the 'Sanjukta Panigrahi Memorial Trust', in 1999, to promote the Odissi dance. Since 2001, the trust has been giving away scholarships to budding dancers excelling in the field of Odissi dance.
Last rites of Panigrahi was performed at Swarga Dwar, Puri.

Recipient of many awards, the maestro was awarded Padma shri in 2010 for his outstanding contribution to Indian art and culture. Apart from that, he was felicitated with Sangeet Natak Academy Award. In 2008, he was awarded the prestigious Jayadev Samman.

Ravenshaw University conferred an honorary doctorate degree on him two days back on August 23.  Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Governor SC Jamir and many eminent figures of the music world condoled the death of the legendary vocalist.

 “All of us are deeply distressed by the tragic demise of Pandit Raghunath Panigrahi. This will be a tremendous loss to the world of classical music and will certainly be deeply missed by his many friends and admirers” CM Naveen Patnaik said.
Besides making his place in the world of classical music, Raghunath got the tag of being a 'Suramani' (a title given to him for his deeply mellifluous voice). He had also left an indelible mark on Odissi light classicals like 'Na Jaa Radhika' and an out-and-out modern love song like 'Nali Nali Ei, Krushnachuda' or 'Nupoor Bajaai Kie'.

Pandit Raghunath was the first Odia singer to be honoured by the French government for his 'Gita Govinda' composition way back in the 70s. However, the noted vocalist had to wait till 2010 for the Padmashri award, a belated honour for the great master.