Shashwati was born in Gwalior in a family of
musicians. Her maternal grandfather Pt. Balabhau
Umdekar 'Kundalguru' was a darbar-gayak (court
musician) at the royal court of Gwalior, and a
singer of the Gwalior gharana. Shashwati
started her early classical training under the
guidance of her mother, Smt. Kamal Mandal, at a
very young age. From 1987-1992, she received a
Department of Culture (Govt of India)
scholarship to study under the veteran Gwalior
gharana singer Pt. Balasaheb Poonchhwale.
Balasaheb instilled into her the finer nuisances
of Gwalior gayaki, and also trained her into the
art of Tappa singing, the vibrant semi-classical
genre. She continued her training with her
gurus, Balasaheb Poonchhwale and Kamal Mandal
until their deaths in 2005 and 2006,
She also studied briefly under Purnima Chaudhuri
for Thumri, Gundecha Brothers for Dhrupad, and
Sarbat Hussain for Ghazal singing. In 2009-2010,
she received Sanskriti Foundation's Mani Mann
Fellowship to study under Madhup Mudgal of
Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, New Delhi. In addition,
she is heavily influenced by the gayaki of Kumar
Gandharva, and the repertoire of Jaipur-Atrauli
Shashwati has integrated these eclectic musical
leanings into her gayaki (musical style). She
has received praise for her full-throated
resonant voice, and clarity of taans and
murkis.[ She is widely regarded as one the
foremost exponents of Tappa singing.
As a child prodigy Shashwati started giving
public performance at the young age of seven.
She has performed extensively in India and
abroad. Some of her major performances include
Sawai Gandharva Sangeet Mahotsav in Pune,
Maharashtra in 2006, Darbar festival in United
Kingdom in 2008, Saptak Annual Festival of Music
in Ahmedabad, Gujarat in 2010, Vishnu Digambar
Jayanti Samaroh in New Delhi in 2010, Harballabh
Sangeet Sammelan in Jalandhar, Punjab in 2012,
and ITC Sangeet Sammelan in Kolkata, West Bengal
in 2014. Abroad, she has performed at
Darbar Festival UK, Chandayan Overnight Festival
New York, Oriental Music Festival Estonia, and
Singapore Fine Arts Festival, Singapore.
Shashwati has been nominated to the 'Word
Songlines Music Awards' 2009, by Songlines
magazine in the category of Best New Comer and
Best Artist. This nomination was for the
album 'Tappa Journey' released by Sense World
Music in UK. The magazine also her 'Top Of
The World' five star review.
She is currently an 'A' grade artist at All
India Radio and is an empanelled artist at
Indian Council for Cultural Relations.
Shashwati also served as a staff artist in All
India Radio, Bhopal and an Assistant Professor
of Music in Mumbai University, Mumbai. Shashwati
also conducted workshops with her late Guru
Balasaheb Poonchwale and later individually at
various venues in India and abroad.
Mausam is a born rasika of music and plays both
harmonium and tabla with great feeling. He has
accompanied several notable musicians such as Pt
Vidyadhar Vyas, Ustad Mashkoor Ali Khan, Smt
Neela Bhagwat, Smt Sunanda Patnaik and, Smt
Shashwati Mandal. After twelve years in Seattle
he moved back to India and is currently a
faculty member in Computer Science at IIT Delhi.
Mausam also studied vocal music from late Dr.
Sharad Gadre of Gwalior gharana.
Dhananjay Kunte is an accomplished tabla artist in
the Chicago area. He received intense training in
tabla for more than three decades from Pt.
Pandurang Mukhade of Farukhabad gharana. He is
currently pursuing his advanced training under the
legendary tabla maestro Pt. Anindo Chatterjee.
Dhananjay holds a Master’s Degree in tabla. He is
a highly sought after tabla accompanist and has
accompanied renowned artists including Dr. Vikas
Kashalkar, Pt. Shrikant Deshpande, Pt. Appasaheb
Jalgaonkar, Pt. Nagrajrao Havaldar, Smt. Arati
Ankalikar, Pt. Upendra Bhat, Shri Abhay Sopori,
Pt. Nathrao Neralkar, Shri. Parthasarathi
Chatterjee, Shri. Gaurav Majumdar, Shri. Hindole
Chattopadhyaya, Shri. Pankaj Mishra, Smt.
Saraswati Ranganathan, etc. Apart from classical
music, Dhananjay also accompanies other genres of
music including light music, devotional music and
kirtans. He also regularly works with western
musicians and experiments in world fusion music
called Surabhi Ensemble. He also has
performed at the prestigious World Music Festival
in Chicago on several occasions. Dhananjay is
actively involved in teaching tabla and runs his
school - Pratibha School of Music.