Shehnai maestro Pandit S.Ballesh Bhajantri has beenPadma Shri Award for his contribution in the field of Music.
Shehnai maestro & Hindustani Vocalist Pandit S.Ballesh Bhajantri hails from MK Hubli in Belagavi District but has settled in Chennai’s Saligramam.
His all fore-generation family members were shehnai players in the district and Ballesh has traced his lineage to court musicians for advanced training.
He came to Chennai some 38 years ago, after obtaining an A grade in AIR. He learnt music from my father, Pandit Sanna Bharamappa Bhajantri, Ustad Bismillah Khan in Varanasi,Pandit Puttaraja Gawai,and Pandit Kodand Salunke.
He fell in love with the shehnai since it used to be played on the radio in the morning and started learning it when he was just 12.
Pt. Ballesh hails from a family of renowned Shehnai players from M.K. Hubli – 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.
Bhajantri, along with his son Krishna Ballesh, were awarded the Tamil Nadu government’s Kalaimamani Award in2020.
Shehnai artiste, who has performed in around 45,000 film songs in Tamil, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Telugu and even Marathi.
Ballesh played shehnai for the Hindi movie Raanjhanaa, with music by Oscar winner A.R. Rahman. He also played shehnai for the song “The Dichotomy of Fame” in Imtiaz Ali’s 2011 Hindi film Rockstar, with music by A.R. Rahman