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Shehnai Chakravarthy

Pandit Dr. S.BALLESH


    “Shehnai Chakravarthy“ Pandit Dr. S.Ballesh is an Internationally acclaimed Shehnai player and Hindustani classical vocalist with specialization in Patiala gharana and trained in Kirana & Gwalior gharanas. He is also a remarkable ghazal singer. He is one of the well-known disciple of World renowned Shehnai Maestro Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan. Ustad ji blessed Pt Ballesh as “Dhakshina Bharat Bismillah Khan”. He is an Akashwani All India Radio and Doordharshan "A" Grade Hindustani Classical Shehnai Artist.

          He is an expert in Benares gharana shehnai playing. He received hindustani vocal training in Kirana Gharana from Dr. DP.Hiremath, Patiala Gharana from Pandit Kodanda Singh Salunke Maharaj & Pt.Prakash Singh Salunke and Gwalior gharana from Padma Bhushan Pt. Puttaraja Gawai (Gadag). His gayaki style is inspired from Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ustad Salamat Ali Khan and Ustad Nazakat Ali Khan.


         Pt Ballesh is from a family of renowned Shehnai players, who were performing for past 30 decades (300 Years) from M.K. Hubli (Belgaum District) Karnataka. He received shehnai training from his father Shehnai Samrat Pt. Sanna Bharamanna Guruji who was a famous Shehnai player and later he continued from his uncle Pt. Dodda Bharamannaji. 


         Pt Ballesh was with Ustad Bismillah Khan for 35 years and got world wide acclaim for performing the shehnai more than five decades. He was an occasional Shehnai accompanist in Ustad Bismillah Khan’s shehnai party. He and his son Surmani Krishna Ballesh has received AIR “A” grade for a Shehnai Duet and Hindustani Vocal performance and continuing the tradition of Ustad Bismillah Khan Beneras gharana shehnai playing.


          Pt Ballesh is one of the top musicians in the Indian classical music and also International film music industry. To mention about his notable Indian Classical performance, he single-handedly played shehnai in the All India Music Conference held at Dharwad in 1975, in the presence of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Smt. Gangubhai Hangal & other eminent artists where he gave an outstanding shehnai performance and received standing ovation in the conference. He has also performed in many Jugalbandhi concerts with Hindustani & Carnatic musicians.

Shehnai Style of Pandit S. Ballesh :

       Pt Ballesh can play on his Shehnai, Aalaap like khayal singing, Jhala like Sitar, Sarod & Tatkar like Kathak-dancers, Harkats like Sarangi & Violin, continuity of tone (Meend) like Bheen and also he adds adorability of Bansuri to all these.

Film Music :

Pt. Ballesh brother hood, Shri Veerashwar Madri, who is a violinist introduced him to the South Indian film music industry. He has played Shehnai for many Indian composers like Maestro Naushad Ali, Mellisai Mannar MS Viswanathan, Maestro Ilayaraja and Oscar Winner AR. Rahman in various Indian Films. He is also a renowned playback singer and had sung with noted singers like K. J. Yesudas, S. Janaki, S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Illayaraja and A.R. Rahman. 

          Pt Ballesh & Shri.Krishna Ballesh duo played Shehnai in the Hollywood movie “The Hunderd Foot Journey -2014” for the track India Calling.

        Pt Ballesh played Shehnai in ‘Rockstar’ bolywood movie, for the track titled ”The Dichotomy of fame“. Few more prominent tracks are "Ye Jo Des Hai Tera" song from the movie “Swades”, Raanjhanaa movie, "Hamma Hamma” song  from the movie “Bombay” for A.R. Rahman.

          Pt Ballesh also played for M.M. Keeravani for Baahubali movie.

     The pathos-romantic Shehnai bits of Ilayaraja music like “Sundari Kannal Oru Sethi” song from the movie “Thalapathi”, “Ala Pol Vela Pol” song from actor Rajnikanth movie “Yejaman” were played by Pt Ballesh.

Pandit Ballesh has worked in several language film Music Directors of India : 

In Kannada film music industry he has worked with G.K. Venkatesh, Hamsalekha, UpendraKumar, Rajan-Nagendra, M. Ranga Rao, C. Aswath, VijayaBhaskar, V. Manohar, L. Vaidyanathan, Mano Murthy.

        In Bollywood film music industry he has worked with O.P.Nayyar, Naushad Ali, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Ravindra Jain, Jatin-Lalit, Kalyanji-Anandji, Anand-Milind, R.D.Burman, KailashKher. 

       In Tamil film music industry he has worked with K V Mahadevan, M.S. Viswanathan, Illayaraja, Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan, Sankar Ganesh, Deva, A.R. Rahman, Vidyasagar, S. A. Rajkumar, Drums Sivamani. 

        In Telugu film music industryhe has worked with Chellapilla Satyam, Chakri (composer), Chakravarthy, M. M. Keeravani, Raj-Koti & S. P. Balasubrahmanyam. 

        In Malayalam film music industry he has worked with V. Dakshinamoorthy, Raveendran Master, G. Devarajan master, Shyam Joseph (composer), S. P. Venkatesh, Pt. Ramesh Narayana & M. Jayachandran.

        Pt. Ballesh has sung and played shehnai for more than 7500 background-score's and 25,000 film songs and around 35,000 devotional songs. He has also sung Hindustani alaaps and has also collaborated with International musicians in their recordings as Shehnai player

         Pt. Ballesh has extensively travelled all over India and abroad. His concert tours includes countries like United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, United States of America, South Africa, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, France, Belgium, Russia, Dubai, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Srilanka, Indonesia, Philippines and many more countries over a span of 35 years. On several occasions he has been invited to be part of music festivals organized by Indian government.

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