|Smita Bellur Hindustani Classical Vocalist
"Kabira Kiya Kutch Na Hote Hai, Ankiya
Jo Kiya Kutch Hote Hai, Karta Aur Koye"
"Jyon Naino Mein Putli, Tyon Maalik Ghat Mahin,
Moorakh Log Na Janhin, Baahar Dhudhan Jahin"
men have said that man is but a medium of expression
for the work of the Creator.
I am happy to be the chosen
instrument for the
music of the Infinite Intelligence.
Click here for Printable formatted Profile
Smita Bellur was initiated into Hindustani classical vocal music in the Khayal Style, at the age of 12 by her guru late Shri. P. R. Bhagwat, a renowned musician and recipient of the Sangeet Natak Academy award.
After the demise of Shri. Bhagwat, she started learning from ‘Sangeet Ratna’, late Pt. Arjunsa Nakod, a doyen of the Gwalior – Kirana Gharana, training under him for few years. Smita is a ‘Senior Diploma’ in classical vocal music from Prayag Sangeet Samiti – Allahabad, has been under the guidance of late Pt. Rajabhau Sontakke (disciple of the legendary Sangeet Martand Pt. Omkarnath Thakur) for higher education in music. She has also been taught by Pt. Bhalachandra Nakod.
Currently, she is getting ‘taleem’ from ‘Gaan Saraswati’, ‘Sangeet Kaumudi’ Vidushi Dr. Alka Deo Marulkar.
She has also founded a NGO Nadanubhava Foundation® – an organization that promotes Hindustani Classical and Sufi music that has successfully done more than 70 programmes. She also runs ‘People for Raaga’ and ‘Anhaad Naad Sufi Sangeet’.Smita is actively involved in the nationwide co-operative of performing artistes, ‘Sangeet Sankalp’ as one of the founder members of its Bangalore chapter.
She teaches for Shankar Mahadevan Academy and also in guru-shishya parampara. She has trained over 40 students.
She is a MS (Quality management), and BE by qualification and also freelances as a music journalist.
- “She plays music for the soul – The New Indian Express, Oct 2012
- “The old strains of Sufi – Deccan Herald, Jun 2012
- “Exploring common threads of pholisophy – Indian Express, Sep 2011
- “Music for the Soul” – DNA, Apr 2011
- “Striking a chord with the masses..Presenting carefully selected verses in her melodious voice, Smita stole the show and enthralled the audience with her scintillating performance – Deccan Herald, April 2011
- “Poetry from Another Dimension - Deccan Chronicle, Mar 2011
- “In Love with Hindustani Music - Dainik Jagran City Plus, Sep 2010
- “Lilting Melody – Deccan Herald, Jan 2009
- “A piece of Hindustani – Deccan Herald, July 2008
- “Graceful Alliance…Her voice traversed the three octaves with ease, dazzling the audience. The synchronisation was perfect, thereby enhancing the euphonious appeal. – The Hindu, Feb 2008
- “An evening of Jugalbandhi..credit goes to both singers who maintained the style of the system and their individual styles even while singing together – The New Indian Express, Aug 2007
- “Melody Makers – Deccan Herald, Mar 2007
- “Carving a niche in the realm of Classical music” – Indian
Express, Mar 2007
- “In pursuit of excellence” – Deccan Herald, Mar 2007
- “Sing Nightingale, Dance with joy Nightingale” – Kannada
Prabha, Mar 2007 (translated)
Recitals/Concerts and Achievements
A regular B 'High' artiste of All India Radio, Dharwad, I
gave my first classical performance at 14 (at Rastrothana Parishat) and since have performed in more than 300 music festivals, including:
More about Smita's recitals...
- Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Centenary Year celebrations at The Bhavan
- Raj Bhavan, Bangalore
- Urs Shareef at Saigon (Hazrat Sadiq Ali Shah)
- Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, New Delhi
- India Habitat Centre, New Delhi
- Bangalore International Center (TERI Initiative)
- Infosys Foundation, Bangalore
- Guruvarya Kulkarni Punyatithi - Solapur
- 67th Shri Thyagaraja Annual Festival of music, Tirupati
- Bharat Sangeet Utsav, Bangalore
- Sangeet Sankalp Pune – Sudarshan Rang Manch, Pune
- Saptak - Ahmedabad
- Swar Sadhana Samiti – Mumbai
- Pt. Manmohan memorial festival, Jaipur
- Parthasarathy Sangeet Sabha – Chennai
- Bangalore Habba 2006
- Nizar Kala Sansthan, Nagpur
- Pt. ShankarRao Gaikwad Punyatithi, Pune
- ‘Yuva Vandana’, Sree Satya Sai Baba Ashram, Whitefield Bangalore
- Sursagar, Bangalore
- Pt. Sawai Gandharv Punyatithi, Kundgol
- Kukke Subramanya Temple, Karnataka
- Asthavinayak Pratishtaan, Lathur, Maharastra
- Delhi Karnatak Sangha
- 4th National Level “Bharat Ratna M S Subbulakshmi” Memorial Music Festival - Gitanjali 2009 for Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana University
- ‘Adhyapan 2012’ – an international education conference
- Pt. Omkarnath Thakur Smriti
- Ustad Imammuddin Dagar Music festival, Jaipur
- Sree Rama Seva Mandali - Fort High School, Bangalore
- Avani Rasika Ranga, Dharwad
- Indian Institute of World Culture, Bangalore
- Shree Raghavendra Swamy Mutt at Mantralayam, Andhra Pradesh
- Dutta Gaana Sabha – Barshi, Maharastra
- Nadashri Sangeet Sabha, Hubli
- Sangeet Pratishtana, Belgaum
- Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
- SAP CIO conference in Gurgaon, Delhi and Bangalore
- Rudrapatna Music festival – Hassan
- Govt. of Karnataka, Department of Culture and Kannada
- ‘Chalukyotsav 2006’ – Aihole- Badami-
- ‘Navraspur Utsav 2005’ – Bijapur
- ‘Karavalli Utsav’, 2003 – Karwar,
- ‘Lakkundi Utsav’ 2006, Gadag
- ‘Thingala Sobagu’, ‘Samskrutika Saurabha’ and ‘Yuva
Saurabha’ at Gadag, Haveri, Bellary, Bidar and
- Rotary's Vocational Excellence Award 2010
- Sangeeta Shri 2007” award by Shraddha Sangeeta Kala Samiti, Bangalore
- Dr. Pt. Puttaraj Gawai Kripa Bhushana Prashasti 2007” – Gadag.
Audio CD releases
- ‘Shareefara Pada’ – live concert with talk by Dr Gururaj Karajagi – released by Gokhale Institute and Kalkur Audi
- ‘Vachana Kirana’ – Shivasharana Vachana by Lahari Audioe
- ‘Kaisi Madhur Shyaam’ – Bhajan, Holi, Chaiti CD for the cause of ‘End-Polio’ by Rotary International.
- Zee Kannada Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Little Champs as a celebrity judge
- Special 3 hr broadcast of Krishnashtami programme and Raghavendra Aradhane – Suvarna 24x7
- Anwar-e-Ramadaan’ on ETV Urdu - Naat
- ‘Bhakti Maalike’ for ETV Kannada
- ‘Jashn-e-Sufi’ – special Sufi music programme on TV9
- ‘Namana’ – Vachana programme on Suvarna News Kannada
- ‘Jugalbandhi’ – musical concert/appreciation 1.5 hour programme on TV9
- ‘Naada’ on Udaya TV (Sun TV Network) and Vachana on Kasturi channel
- Interviews on Suvarna News, TV 9 and Zee TV Kannada
- Doordarshan I/Chandana and Doordarshan Sahyadri
- All India Radio, Dharwad
- Hindustani Classical: Khayal gayaki
- Semi classical varieties such as thumri, dadra, kajri, chaiti and jhoola.
- Sufi music: ‘Jashn-e-Sufi’, ‘Sufiana Kalaam’
- Bhaktigeet: Bhajan (Hindi), Abhang (Marathi), Vachana (Kannada) and Daasarapada (Kannada) and a special philosophy based ‘Dasa-Sufi-Sharanara Anubhaava Lahari’
- Colours of Diversity: singing in 6-7 languages
- Jugalbandhi with Carnatik music (have performed at various Utsavs like Rama Seva Mandali, Rudrapatna Sangeetotsav, Vadirajara aradhane etc)
- Lecture demonstrations
My story - how the journey began
Born to Shri K. L Subba Rao and Smt. Susheela
Rao, I am the last of the three children. At the age of
4, my ability to repeat what I had heard on local radio
had pleasantly surprised my parents. My first debut on
stage in a public platform was at 7, for an inter-school
competition in solo vocal singing. The image of a future
vocalist was crystallizing in my little mind. While in
class 4, I took Carnatik classical music lessons for a
brief six months from a teacher nearby. When we relocated
to a newer extension Bangalore, my father felt an urgent
need to find a good guru who could shape talent.
He was delighted
when he found a revered teacher and Sangeet Natak Academy awardee
- Shri P. R. Bhagwat to teach me. After hearing a brief song
from me, he deemed me fit for his tutelage and soon started
me on a Bhavgeet alongside ‘sa-re-ga-ma’ alankars.
At the age of twelve I got a formal initiation into Hindustani
classical music in the Khayal system .
For nearly six years Shri. P. R. Bhagwat,
honed my skills in singing along with the nuances of the Kirana
style of singing. Daily classes and intensive coaching gave
me a strong foundation of raga, taal and the basic elements
of alaap and taankaari. Although I did not reside there, I
spent a lot of time in my Guru’s house, listening to
classical and semi-classical music, practicing vocal as well
as Harmonuim, learning photography, and even an occasional
lesson in cookery/gardening (from my guru-ma, whom I fondly
called ‘aayi’). In the true spirit of vidyadaan (imparting
knowledge without a fee), my guruji bequeathed his invaluable
music to me.
After schooling and pre-university college, it
was time to decide what professional training I should take.
Engineering tools and drawings had fascinated me from childhood,
so I was keen to pursue a course in Engineering. Although artistry
and engineering are not commonly pursued together, it evolved
as a path that I would take.
While I was studying engineering at Bangalore, my guruji’s
family had to move back to Dharwad. My TV recording for ‘Aralu
Mallige’ – a programme for budding artistes had
brought me in touch with the Nakod family at about the same
time. I approached the illustrious ‘Sangeet Ratna’,
late Pt. Arjunsa Nakod for tutelage.
Late Pt. ArjunSa Nakod, the doyen of Gwalior – Kirana
Gharana, was a disciple of the legendary Ganayogi Pt. Panchakshari
Gawai – the blind saint-musician from Gadag. Although
he was so knowledgeable and venerable ('A Top' grade artiste of AIR
Dharwad), Pt. ArjunSa was a patient, simple and kind guru.
In the early days, he traveled to Bangalore to teach students,
but later, I began traveling for taleem to Hubli.
During my years of tutelage under him, I learnt ragas like
Rageshri, Bhoop, Chandrakauns, Gorakh Kalyan, and Bihag. It
was unfortunate that while I was still learning the nuances
of his style of singing, he developed liver cancer and passed
away in year 2000.
Having completed my Bachelors in Engineering, taking up a job,
was the natural progression. Quality Assurance was my chosen
area, in which I acquired a Certification from the QAI USA and later, a Masters of Science post-graduate degree from BITs Pilani.
Working for a software company gave me some important insights
into entrepreneurship, people skills, time management and a
eye for quality.
Developing my own style
After the sad demise of Senior Pt. Nakod, I started training
under his son, Pt. Bhalachandra Nakod at Hubli
and also did a brief stint of light music training with Shri.
I also took guidance from Pt. Rajabhau Sontakke from
for a year, while doing my ‘Senior
Diploma’ from Prayag Sangeet Samiti – Allahabad.
Late Pt. Sontakke was a direct disciple of the legendary Sangeet
Martand Pt. Omkarnath Thakur, and I learnt various nuances
about Purya, Purya-Dhanashri, Malkauns from him.
In my journey of music, the next turning point came when I was accepted as a disciple by the doyenne of the Jaipur Gharana - 'Gaan Saraswati', 'Sangeet Kaumudi' Dr. Alaka Deo Marulkar.
Her style blends aesthetics with intellectual elements, making it appealing to both laymen and critics alike. With an intellect to match her creativity, Dr. Alaka soon became my idol for her exemplary 'planning, design and structure' in her raga presentation.
Among the several elements of Jaipur gayaki I learnt from her were the quintessential treatment of laya and the space between two matra's, concept-oriented vakra taan , and several jod-raga's.
Once Pt. Prabhudev Sardar said, “A good guru never imposes
his style on his disciple – rather he encourages his
shishya to incorporate nuances into a unique style of his own.”
My gurus always encouraged me to incorporate nuances like taans,
khatka, murki, intonation and style from the material I listened
to, including my taleem; they allowed me to take to those elements of the gharana that I naturally took to.
The emphasis was on wazan (maturity) in my singing. I draw a lot of inspiration from Jaipur artistes like Dr. Alaka Deo Marulkar, Vidushi Kishori
Amonkar, and stalwarts like Pt. Jitendra Abhisheki when it comes to ‘badhat’ and ‘taans’.
All India Radio, Dharwad
The land of music maestros had always fascinated me and it
was a dream come true to become a graded artiste of All India
Radio Dharwad. The Gadag –Dharwad - Belgaum region
has a rich history of legendary musicians. The 5 titans of
Hindustani Classical music - Pt. Bhimsen Joshi, Pt.
Mallikarjun Mansur, Pt. Basavaraj Rajguru, Dr.Gangubai Hangal
and Pt. Kumar Gandharva hailed from this region. There were
others like Sawai Gandharva, Vidushi Shobha Gurtu, who are
believed to have originated from this region. The corridors
and walls of All India Radio speak of a rich tradition of
extremely talented, classy musicians who were recognized
all across India and the world as some of the most sincere
and high quality musicians.
Classical music has always received patronage in the courts of Maharajas and Mughals; later during the British Raj, Hindustani Classical music got marginalised into certain pockets of activity - gharanas. Today, Indian Classical music needs active propagation and promotion for its nurturing and growth. Although this ancient artform has weatherd the storms of time, it is for us to pass it on safely to gen-nxt. My effforts toward propagation and promotion of Indian Classical music gave birth to Nadanubhava. My passion for music has also made
me freelance music journalist too.
I am actively involved in the nation wide co-operative of performing artistes, ‘Sangeet
Sankalp’ as one of the founder members of the Bangalore chapter. I have
also co-ordinate a think-tank of intellectuals to brainstorm about, and improve the reach of Indian Classical music to the masses. It is called People for Raaga. My passion for music has also made
me freelance music journalist too.