Sanjeev Chimmalgi is one of the most prominent and promising Hindustani classical singers of the new generation. He has been singing professionally since his early twenties and has performed all over India as well as in the US, the UK and Spain.
Sanjeev's concerts are noted for their fluidity and grace - his forte being a highly sophisticated treatment of the Raga and the delicacy of his approach to both svar and bol. His presentation speaks volumes of the cherished values of the Indian classical music tradition viz. simplicity, lucidity and refinement. Sanjeev Chimmalgi's singing style showcases an uncanny ability where he is able to weave the various important aspects of the Kirana, Gwalior and Agra gharanas. He has also been an avid explorer of popular forms such as bhajan, sugam sangeet, film-song and contemporary fusion.
Sanjeev was born on July 29, 1972 into a music loving family. His grandfather, Chimmalgi Master was a great tabla artiste and celebrated 'rasika' (an important category in the musical firmament) of Dharwad, Karnataka. Dharwad is recognized as one of the most important centres around which Hindustani Classical music evolved over the past two centuries. Sanjeev's father, M.V. Chimmalgi was also a great rasika and a pioneer in promoting classical music in Navi Mumbai (New Bombay). His untiring efforts in this direction left an indelible impression on Sanjeev, sparking in him a deep love and devotion for Classical music.
Sanjeev showed exceptional talent for singing while in school and his parents sent him to Smt Krishna Lahiri and Shri Prabhakar Gune for elementary lessons in Indian classical music at the age of 12.
In 1986, at the age of 14 he started learning under 'Kirana gharana' vocalist Pandit Madhav Gudi (disciple of the legendary Pandit Bhimsen Joshi) of Dharwad. He spent 4 years imbibing the basics of the Kirana gayaki.
During this time he also pursued a diploma in Instrumentation Engineering.
Training under Pandit CR Vyas
In 1991, Sanjeev became a 'Ganda-bandh' disciple of the master vocalist and doyen among teachers Padmabhushan Pandit CR Vyas. In the Ganda-bandhan ceremony, held on April 27th, the Guru Pt. CR Vyas, accepted Sanjeev as his Shishya in the august presence of luminaries like Pandit Jasraj, Pandit SCR Bhat and Pandit JV Bhatkhande. On this day, Sanjeev also gave his first public performance. This was the day Sanjeev decided to take up music as his full-time vocation. Under the able guidance of his guru Sanjeev learned nuances of raga-shastra (principles of raga), development and techniques. Not wasting a single opportunity of being with his mentor, he travelled all over India with Vyas-ji giving him vocal support and in the process getting hands-on training in stage performance.
Sanjeev has, ever since, continued performing across the country and abroad, receiving a number awards and honours and building forays into film music, theatre and contemporary fusion.
Eclecticism being one of the core facets of Sanjeev's personality he has always been fascinated by Carnatic music and in 2001 started learning from famous Carnatic Guru in Mumbai Smt. T. R. Balamani. For the past 3 years he has also been taking advanced lessons from popular Flautist and vocalist Shri S. Balachander. While Smt. Balamani trains Sanjeev in Varnams and Kritis, Balachander sir has been getting Sanjeev ready for performance. The coming years should see Sanjeev emerge as a Carnatic performer too.
Recently, Sanjeev has been learning the aesthetics of bandish and other forms like tappa/thumri from well known vocalist , composer and archivist Pandit Satyasheel Deshpande. Satyasheel-ji's guidance is adding different dimensions to Sanjeev's musicianship.
Teaching and contribution to music
Sanjeev Lives in Navi Mumbai where he teaches music in the Guru-shishya parampara. He is devoted to passing on the musical tradition and its rich heritage to dedicated aspirants - 'I have made an attempt', he says, 'to keep alive the guru-shishya system in which I received my training. There are no formal degrees, musicianship is the only certificate I recognise, and the training I give is on a one-on-one basis.'
2008 saw Sanjeev come up with two innovative ideas for the propagation of music. To create a liking and appreciation for classical music and towards building a much-needed rasika base in Navi Mumbai, Sanjeev came up with the concept of 'Manthan' - a group dedicated to reviving the baithak culture ( Chamber setting ) in Indian Classical music. This endeavour has been a huge success. Sanjeev has also designed a year-long workshop Antardhwani (alongwith 'Utsav Media') to train aspiring light music / playback singers. This workshop has received phenomenal response and Sanjeev's innovative ideas have been a godsend for these aspirants since there is no formal training pattern or methodology in that field.
Awards and Accolades
- Zee Gaurav Nomination, V Shantaram Puraskar Nomination, Maharashtra Shasan Puraskar Nomination 2006
- Best male playback singing for the marathi film 'Aai Shappath'.
- Sangeetha Shiromani Award 2005-2006 - A prestigious award comprising of a citation and Rs 25,000/- cash given by Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha to young musicians of repute.
- National Scholarship 1995- 1998
- A two-year Government of India National Scholarship for Young Achievers in the field of Indian music. This was extended to three years based on excellent progress.
- AIR Music competition 1993 - Winner of this all India youth under-23 competition conducted by All India Radio and as a result became a graded artiste of AIR.
Sanjeev is married to Neha Majmudar Chimmalgi who is a semi-classical vocalist in her own right and a disciple of celebrated thumri queen Smt. Shobha Gurtu. He lives in Vashi, Navi Mumbai with his mother, his wife and their son Om Vedant.