Rajendra Kulkarni hails from land of Hindustani musical masters. He was born in the beautiful city of Belgaum in the year 1961. His father, Shri Bhagawantarao, alias Balasaheb Kulkarni – Bedakihalkar, is a Radio Artist himself, playing flute as well as violin and is closely connected with ‘Art-Circle’ of Belgaum. Rajendrajee is the sixth of his four brothers and two sisters, all of whom are well-placed in their respective walks of life. The whole family is culturally rich..
Rajendrajee developed interest in basuri at an early age of six.
Rajendrajee excelled throughout his academic life, even getting a whopping 90 % in XII. He applied for higher education in Engineering and got the admission. At this stage he realized that his real passion is basuri / classical music and not the engineering studies. Hence, he gave up engineering and opted for B.Sc. instead. He was ranked second in the college. He was also declared ‘The Best student Of the Year’.
He is employed with State Bank of India since 1988.
Rajendrajee married Manjiri, in 1989. They have two daughters – Madhuwanti & Shalmali. Madhuwanti is a Bharatnatyam dancer and Shalmali is a talented actress.
Rajendrajee’s family is that of art lovers and connoisseurs. Right from his childhood he kept listening to the melodious songs, poems sung by his mother, who did it during her household activities. The elder sister Meenatai used to learn Hindustani classical vocal music at home, under the guidance of a visiting guru.
His first Guru & his father Pt. Balasaheb Kulkarni, an eminent flutist himself, used to play ragas and mother used to sing light music. In this musical atmosphere, Rajendrajee’s interest in music grew by leaps & bounds. Balasaheb’s friends in the music circle used to visit the house regularly to discuss the classical music. This atmosphere introduced Rajendrajee into the theoretical aspects of classical music.
All the above factors created a cordial atmosphere for Rajendrajee to grow up as a flutist.
Late Shri. Mammulal Sangawkar was a reputed Tabla Player. He had accompanied great masters like Us. Amir Khan, Us. Bade Gulam Ali Khan, Pt. Bhimsen Joshi and Balgandharva. Mammulaljee used to stay at Balasaheb’s house on way to Dharwad. Naturally this provided a golden opportunity for Rajendra to have deep insights over the intricacies of tabla rhythms used in instrument-performance, from the master himself.
Very soon after this, Rajendrajee came in contact with his Second Guru – Pt. Narayanrao Patwardhan, the then Vice President of the Gandharwa Mahawidyalay, Delhi, and a reputed vocalist. Rajendrajee got deep insights into classical music, through thorough discussions with him.
Continuous devoted practice, committed performances of Basuri in numerous concerts and a deep contemplation of the Hindustani classical music have together ensured that Rajendrajee has blossomed into an outstanding Basuri artist.