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Shehnai Maestro Pandit Dr. S. Ballesh performing Hindustani Vocal recital

"Padmashri Awardee"


International Repute Shehnai Player & Hindustani Vocalist


      " Padmashri Awardee ", “ Kalaimamani ”, “ Karnataka Kalashri ” Shehnai Chakravarthy Pandit Dr.S. Ballesh Bhajantri (Ballappa Sanna Bharamappa Bhajantri) is a shehnai artiste following the Benares gharana style. He is also a Hindustani vocalist (Patiala gharana), Playback singer and ghazal singer. 

He is an Akashwani All India Radio and Doordarshan "A” Grade artist.

As the foremost disciple of world renowned Shehnai Maestro and BharatRatna Ustad Bismillah Khan, he carries forward his legacy of Benares Gharana style today.


Padmashri Awardee -Pandit Dr. S. Ballesh Guruji performing in Chennai Ras Barse Utsav 2016

Film Music (Shehnai In Popular Music) Pt. Ballesh has:

  • Played for many recordings for leading Music Composers of India, across 16 languages ,

  • Sung and played shehnai for more than 10,000 movies background-scores and 85,000 film songs in all languages and more than 1,00,000 devotional songs in all religions ,

  • Has played Shehnai and sung Hindustani Raag Alaap for morethan 50,000 Swami Ayyappa devotional songs in All Languages and for All music composers. He has made Guest Appearance as Shehnai player in many movies.

Pandit Ballesh had breaked many records in India by receiving “PADMA AWARDS”:

  • Ballesh is the 2nd Shehnai player in India to receive the Padma awards after Ustad  Bismillah Khan,

  • Ballesh is the 1st Hindustani Musician to receive Padma awards in Tamilnadu,

  • Ballesh is the 1st Shehnai player to receive Padma awards in Dakshina Bharat,

  • Ballesh is the 1st Shehnai playing Playback Musician to receive Padma awards from All India film music industry,

  • Ballesh is the only Shehnai player to receive Padma Awards in Ustad Bismillah Khan Sishya  Parampara,

  • Ballesh is the 1st person in (Korama) Bhajantri community to receive Padma awards in past 73yrs, Republic of  India,

  • Ballesh is the 2nd Musician to receive Padma Awards from Veerashwar Punyashram (Gadag).

He has performed in India and abroad in many cultural events. He has received innumerous National, State, Sangeet Sabha and other awards by several organizations.  He is a 4 State Awardee and recipient of:

1. Kalaimamani Award by Tamil Nadu Government 

2. Karnataka Kalashree by Karnataka Government 

3. AsthanaVidwan of SriKalahasthi and Ugadi Puraskar by Andhra Pradesh Government

4. BharatRatna UstadBismillahKhan KalaRatna Samman from IndiaTourism,Varanasi, Governmentof India.

5. Bangalore North University, Kolar conferred "The Honorary Doctorate" D.Litt. Award (Honoris Causa)

6. Noble World Records by World's Maximum Film Songs Playing In Shehnai.

7. Noble World Records International Award Forum conferred him with International Reputed Shehnai Player Award .

Government of India, Ministry of Culture invited Ballesh and his son Dr. Krishna Ballesh for Sangeet Sangam International Music Festival in 2021 (Senior Musicians) organised Kendra Sangeet Nataka Akademi, Delhi. He has been conferred Honorary Doctorates from The International Tamil University, United States of America , Maryland 2017.


Pt. Ballesh hails from a family of renowned Shehnai players from M.K. Hubli (Belgaum District), Karnataka - tracing back to Court musicians to the ruling Lingaraja Dynasty , with a performance history of over 50 decades (500 Years). 


Initiated into music by his father-  Pt. Sanna Bharamanna  Bhajantri,  Gawai he continued to learn under the guidance of his uncle Pt Dodda Bharamanna .  


He further trained under Guru Dr D P Hiremath - Kirana Gharana and  Patiala Gharana from Pt Kodanda Singh Salunke Maharaj. He was blessed to train under the guidance of Padmabushan  Pt Puttaraja Gawai (gadag) Gwalior Gharana- Kirana Gharana. 


Ballesh was then accepted by Shehnai virtuoso Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan Saheb as his disciple,  and is one of the five, and only surviving direct disciple of the maestro.  


Following the traditional Guru Shishya Parampara, he served his guru Ustad Bismillah Khan for 45 years.  He has accompanied Ustad Bismillah Khan’ Saheb on several occasions and has received worldwide acclaim for his illustrious career as a Shehnai Vidwan, spanning over five decades.


Ustad ji had bestowed the title of “Dakshina Bharat Bismillah Khan” on Pt Ballesh.



"Known for bringing the sweetness and flexibility of vocals in his shehnai vadan ,  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 add the adorability of Bansuri to all these''

Due to his ability to straddle the worlds of classical, folk and popular music with equal ease and distinction, he is well recognised and sought after artiste, globally in both hindustani classical and film circuits for his mastery over the Shehnai. He is the only artist who can play all scales on a shehnai instrument.



Equally accomplished vocal artiste, Pt. Dr.S.Ballesh is a member of the Ganayogi PanchaksharaGawai & Pandit Puttaraj Gawai brotherhood and is one of the famous scholars of Sri Veereshwara Punyashrama. He received hindustani vocal training in KiranaGharana from Dr.D.P. Hiremath, PatialaGharana from Pandit KodandaSingh Salunke Maharaj & Pt. PrakashSingh Salunke and GwaliorGharana from PadmaBhushan Pt. Puttaraj Gawai (Gadag). 


His gayakistyle is inspired from Ustad BadeGhulamAliKhan, Ustad SalamatAliKhan and Ustad NazakatAliKhan.


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