Mastery over stotra and shlok gayan of Khayal, Thumri, Dadra, Bhajan, Abhang, Sanskrit. Two books on self made compositions on classical raags. Innumerable devotional musical creations, along with a masters degree in microbiology and doctorate in bio chemistry. If we combine all this and more, then someone as great as Ashwini Bhide Deshpande is born, the classical singer from the Jaipur Atrauli Gharana. In today’s time, it is difficult to find someone with such a brilliant academic profile and so much international fame.
Ashwini was born in a family of music lovers in 1960. The culture of music had existed in the family for generations. Ashwini’s mother, Shrimati Manik Bhide, herself had been Kishori Amonkar’s student. So the melody and sweetness of music was a part of Ashwini’s childhood. The initial training was given by Pandit Narayan Rao Datar, but after that mother Manik Bhide started Ashwini’s training of the Jaipur Atrauli Gharana under strict discipline. At the age of 16, Ashwini completed masters in music from Gandharva Mahavidyalaya. Her singing was first noticed in 1977, when she received gold medal by the president of India in the All India Radio music competition.
Aswini Bhide’s first album was released in 1985 by HMV. After that innumerable records have come by different music companies like Sony Music, Times Music, Music Today, Rhythm House and Navras. Ashwini Bhide did not limit her musical journey to only singing. She also composed classical, semi classical and devotional songs. In October 2004 Ashwini’s book of her compositions was released- Raag Raachnanjali. In 2012, Raag Raachnanjali- part 2 was also published. Both these books became quite popular among the music students.
Guru Pandit Ratnakar Pai played an important role in Ashwini’s musical journey. Ashwini knew Pandit Ratnakar Pai from childhood as he lived near her house. When Ashwini started working on creating her own compositions, she met Pandit Ratnakar Pai. Ashwini was highly impressed by his compositions. When Ashwini showed him her compositions, she received a lot of praise and encouragement for it. After this, Ashwini started taking guidance from Pandit Ratnakar Pai also and visited his shows regularly.
Ashwini’s educational journey is also very interesting. Along with musical education, Ashwini Bhide also completed her masters in micro biology from the Bhabha Atomic Centre of the Mumbai University and doctorate in bio chemistry. But she was so passionate about music that she chose music as her full time career. She grew up listening to Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Jasraj, Kumar Gandharva and Kishori Amonkar. She also heard Kesar Bai and Mogu Bai wholeheartedly. That is why there is a hint of the magic of music by these legendary singers in her singing.
Presenting the raag soulfully, keeping its grammar intact and creating magical music with it was Ashwini’s specialty. That is why there is full justice in her singing along with a classical touch and also the pure joy of raags. In each of her presentation, she would make an attempt to go deep down into the depth of raags. Along with classical raags, she also sings Thumri Dadra, Bhajan, Abhang beautifully. She has a command over Sanskrit, and she also sings Strot and Shlok. There are many devotional songs that she has composed herself.
The list of Ashwini’s achievements is long. Ashwini Bhide Deshpande received the Sangeet Natak Academy award in 2014. In 2005, she was honored with the national Kumar Gandharva award. In 2011, the Maharashtra government also honored her. She was given the Sangeet Ratna award in 2010 by Sehyadri Doordarshan. Having received honors like the Pandit Mallikarjun Mansoor award and Pandit Jasraj Gaurav award, Ashwini is serving the Indian music with full devotion.
Today Ashwini Bhide Deshpande is counted among the busiest and most popular singers of the country. She travels around the world for musical shows. She is the top grade artist of Akashvani and Doordarshan. She gives guest lectures at schools, colleges and musical gatherings. She is also teaching her pupils the nitty-gritties of the Jaipur Gharana’s singing. May Ashwini Bhide Deshpande always shine as the star of Indian music.