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About Sonali

This Indian classical vocalist has been studying and performing since she was ten years old, beginning under the tutelage of Shri Hridaynath Mangeshkar and continuing under the auspices of the brothers Ustad Fayyaz Ahmed and Ustad Niyaz Ahmed Khan. Her mother was the Indian dancer Leena Sheth and Sonali also was influenced musically by her father, a wealthy businessman who made it his hobby to bring home stacks of new classical Indian sides. Unlike many younger singers on the Indian scene, she has a very strong background in the classical traditions. Her first recording was released in 1985, an EP of songs recorded in the Gujareti style by Shri Purshottam Upahhyay and released on the HMV label. Music India released her album Aghaaz of classical Ghazal pieces the same year, and it did quite well in the international market. In the next three years she released five more albums, including Bhajan Yatra 86 and Shabnam. In 1986 she received an award for best female Ghazal singer from the Emirates International organization. She married the Indian musician Roop in the early '90s and they have released four albums of extremely melodic music together. She has performed throughout India and has also toured abroad in North America, Europe, and East Africa. Her repertoire is expansive and includes songs in the Geet, Ghazal, Bhajan, Thumri, and Kheyal traditions. She has also recorded light classical songs for various Indian television serials including Jaan-Elam and Guftagu, the music for the latter show composed by sarod legend Ustad Amjad Ali Khan. ~ Eugene Chadbourne