Tomorrow January 12 2013 is 21st death anniversary of Pandit Kumar Gandharva (ಶಿವಪುತ್ರಪ್ಪ ಸಿದ್ಧರಾಮಯ್ಯ ಕಂಕಾಳಿಮಠ).
"The Voyager Golden Records are phonograph records which were included aboard both Voyager spacecraft, which were launched in 1977. They contain sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth, and are intended for any intelligent extraterrestrial life form, or for future humans, who may find them."
If I had a vote, the late Kumar Gandharva's voice would be there.
There is an excellent page on Panditji on Facebook. You may visit it here.
Courtesy that page, I was introduced to a very good artist Vishnu Chinchalkar (विष्णु चिंचाळकर) 1917-2000.
Look at his following two pictures featuring Kumar.
These pictures are stunning in simplicity and yet convey Kumar's mien in all its majesty.
I have been very lucky. Some time during 1985-1987, my friend Jayant Inamdar (जयंत इनामदार) and I attended at Karnataka Sangha, Matunga, Mumbai (कर्नाटक संघ, माटुंगा) lecture-cum-demonstration programme of Panditji, everyday evening, for almost a week.
I remember Marathi poet Vasant Bapat (वसंत बापट) interviewing him. I still recall the late Mr. Bapat saying: I am here like a calf pushing his mother so that she lactates more!
How true! No one in that audience- the late Gangadhar Gadgil (गंगाधर गाडगीळ) and his wife came almost everyday- could have really interviewed Kumar. He transcended words every time he sang. He often asked (chided?) his accompanists to play softly.
I also remember Kumar say that a lot of singers sing 'Miyan Ki Malhar' because they can's sing 'Malhar'! He also compared raga to a painting where a singer works like a painter.
I don't think I will ever attend a better live program than that in my life. And it was completely free. We had to just show up.