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Shehnai Chakravarthy

Pandit Dr. S. BALLESH

Pandit Dr.S. Ballesh (Ballappa SannaBharamappa 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 Ex- Board member of Karnataka State Sangeeta Nirutya Academy for (2016 to 2018), He was conferred with "The Honorary Doctorate" D.Litt., Award  (Honoris Causa) by The International Tamil University. He is an Akashwani All India Radio and Doordharshan “A" Grade artist.


Dr.S.Ballesh is 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 30decades (300Years)


Panditji  received his initial Shehnai training from his father, ShehnaiSamrat Pt. SannaBharamanna who was a famous Shehnai player and later he learned from his Uncle Pt. DoddaBharamanna.



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

         Pt Balleshji was with Ustad Bismillah Khan for 45years and got worldwide acclaim for performing the shehnai more than fivedecades. He has accompanied Ustad Bismillah Khan on several occasions. Ustadji had blessed PtBallesh as “Dhakshina Bharat Bismillah Khan”.


      Karnataka State Government  has co- opted  Pt Balleshji as member of the Honorary Board of Karnataka State Sangeeta Nirutya Academy and Chowdiah Award Ex- Selection board in 2017 which decides on the music awards presented by the state by Chief Minister.

          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 Dr. S. Ballesh :

"Known for bring the sweetness and flexibility of a vocals in his shehnaivadan ,  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 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 artiste who can play all scales in on shehnai instrument.

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 45,000 film songs and around 45,000 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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© 2015 Tansen Academy of Music (R)