Pt. Satyasheel Deshpande
Born on 9th January 1951, Pt. Satyasheel Deshpande is a uniquely creative Hindustani Classical vocalist whose contribution to the world of music, as a performer, composer and musicologist cannot be easily overlooked by anyone with an enlightened interest in the field. Like his greatest mentor – Pt. Kumar Gandharva, he was born with an uncanny capacity to reproduce the music of the great masters.
This talent together with the musical exposure he received in his father, the eminent musicologist Pt. Vamanrao Deshpande’s house soon established him as a child prodigy. Satyasheelji decided to devote himself fully to the study of music under the guidance of Kumarji, with whom he lived in Devas in the true spirit of a disciple. Satyasheel knew that Kumarji’s guidance was only the beginning of a hard yet fascinating journey that he would have to undertake alone. He thus began to lay the foundations of his own style, constantly gathering compositions from traditional sources, trying at once to be true to its essence and re-interpreting it to suit his personal temperament.
With the help of a Ford Foundation grant, Satyasheelji has established the Samvaad Foundation, at his residence in Mumbai. Here he has created the largest and most valuable collection of Hindustani archives in the country. The method he adopts is one of unprejudiced comparative analysis between alternate interpretations of classical forms. This work, besides being unquestionably of great value to contemporary and future students, has also deeply enriched Satyasheelji’s own vision of music.
He is a recipient of many awards including the Homi Bhabha Fellowship in 1996, the Kumar Gandharva Fellowship in 1999, Sursingar Samsad’s Tansen award, the Raza award for creativity in 2006 and, most recently, the Vimla Devi Foundation award for social work, for his work with the Samvaad Foundation.