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|Birth name||Dhondu Kulkarni|
23 July 1927|
|Died||1 June 2014
|Occupation(s)||Hindustani classical music|
|Years active||1935 - 2014|
Dhondutai Kulkarni, (23 July 1927 – 1 June 2014) was an eminent Indian classical singer, and perhaps the last legend belonging to the Jaipur-Atrauli Gharana. The gharana was founded by legendary classical singer Alladiya Khan and is known for its full-throated singing. She bore the torch of this most coveted and difficult school of music throughout her musical career spanning almost eight decades.
Dhondutai, popularly known as Gaan-Yogini, was born in a Brahmin family in Kolhapur, Maharashtra. Her father initiated her into music. Then she came under the tutelage of Ut. Natthan Khan of Jaipur Gharana. From him she became an All India Radio performing artiste at the age of eight. She then started training under Bhurji Khan, whose father, Alladiya Khan, had a special care for Dhondutai, and it was not uncommon to find her sitting next to the legendary performer at music festivals. Her training continued under the mentorship of Laxmibai Jadhav and Ustad Azizuddin Khan, disciple and grandson of the legendary Alladiya Khan. From Ut. Azizuddin Khan she received most of her repertoire of rare Ragas. Thereafter, she spent a long number of years under the immensely distinguished knowledge of Kesarbai Kerkar, ending up as her sole disciple.
Her repertoire of ragas sees to it that she rarely repeats a raga at two consecutive concerts. Dhondutai knows specialty Raag creations made not just by Alladiya Khan but also Kesarbai Kerkar. At age 86, Dhondutai is saluted not just for her musical contributions, but also for her quality as a performing artist.
Awards and recognition
Dhondutai has been awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1990. She also has been invited to the "Surashri Kesarbai Kerkar Sangeet Sammelan" since its beginnings, she sings last at the concert.
Journalist Namita Devidayal's book The Music Room chronicles a significant part of Dhondutai's life, music and career. Namita is one of her students and learned from her over a period of 25 years. The book talks about the life and music of Alladiya Khan, Kesarbai Kerkar and Dhondutai.
- Sur Sangat by Gaan Yogini Dhondutai Kulkarni, Rajhans Publications,Pune, India, ISBN 978-81-7434-694-0
- The Music Room by Namita Devidayal, Random House India, ISBN 9788184002362
- "SNA: List of Akademi Awardees – Musicl – Vocal". Sangeet Natak Akademi. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
- Ghoshal, Somak (28 September 2007). "Of Lost Worlds and Timeless Spaces". Telegraph India. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
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