He was an exponent in folk and traditional music of Assam. The King of Bihu, Khagen Mahanta was a notable person in Assamese folk music. His Bihu songs, Borgeet and other folk songs are ever green to the Assamese society. He was survived by his singer wife Archana Mahanta, son Angarag ‘Papon’ Mahanta, a popular singer and a daughter. Recently the legend passed away on June 12, 2014 at around 3:30PM at his resident in Ambikagiri Area. Here are 10 facts you should know about The Bihu King Khagen Mahanta.
1. Khagen Mahanta was born to Harendra Nath Mahanta and Laxmipriya Deviin on February 26, 1942 at Nagaon in Central Assam.
2. At the age of only fifteen he started performing in the music concerts in Shillong.
3. He got the opportunity of singing in Delhi Doordarshan in 1959, during the inaugural year of the channel’s launch, with his programme much appreciated by viewers.
4. Mahanta was actively involved in the state’s “language movement” in 1960 under the stalwarts Bishnuprasad Rabha, Hemanga Biswas and Jugal Das.
5. Besides Bihu songs, he also essayed into traditional genres of Assamese music including Borgeet and folk music of different communities of the region.
6. He was a member of the group called “Harmony”. He popularized human values through his compositions and also participated in the World Peace festival in Calcutta in the early sixties.
7. In 1961 his first gramophone recorded song was broadcast from Guwahati All India Radio center.
8. He was a recognized A grade artist of the AIR and contributed to almost all genres of Assamese music like Lokageet, Okoni geet, musicals and dramas.
9. He’s married to Archana Mahanta, also an Assamese folk singer. They performed together on many occasions popularising Assamese folk music and earning a name as the most popular duet singer.Their son Angaraag Mahanta is also a popular singer. He has two grandchildren, Puhor and Parijaat. He also has a daughter, Kingkini Mahanta.
10. Khagen Mahanta has been felicitated numerous times nationally, internationally for his contributions. He was also awarded Sangeet Natak Academy award for folk and traditional music in 1992. Some of his awards/ recognition are – Film Craft Award (1988), Sangeet Natak Academy (1992), Shrimoy Award (1994), Sangeetacharya (1999)