Born in Kannauj, the city of perfumes, Padmashree Malini Awasthi, much like her name has spread the essence of Indian soil through her passion for Folk Music and traditions. Malini Awasthi currently serves as the Chair Professor for Folklore at Banaras Hindu University and is India’s Representative to UNSECO for its cultural commission. Professor Awasthi, a Sangeet Natak Academy awardee, is also a member of the governing body for Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and was recently awarded Honorary D Litt. From the Sampurnanand Sanskrit University, Banaras. India’s most celebrated folk singer, Professor Awasthi is passionate about preserving the intangible oral traditions of India and believes that, “service to the country and preserving folk culture is my religion. Family, music, literature, travel, village, society- this is my life.”
Gandabandha disciple of the legendry Thumri queen of Banaras gharana, Padma Vibhushan Girija Devi Ji, Malini is one of the leading torchbearers of the Purab Ang Gayaki of Banaras. Having completed her post-graduation in music from Lucknow’s renowned Bhatkhande Sangeet University, Malini went on to establish herself as the one of the most sought-after artists with Aakashvaani (All India Radio), Doordarshan, Sangeet Natak Academy and ICCR at a very early age.
A Celebrated artist in the TV media, Malini has performed in famous TV shows like, “Saregama”, “Antakshiri, “Junoon”, “Idea Jalsa”, “Sur Sangram” and all the leading news channels like Republic News, Aaj Tak, ABP News, Zee News , NDTV and India TV. A globally recognised folk singer from India, Malini has performed across various countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, Dubai, Mauritius, Nepal, Trinidad, and Fiji Islands. With a mission to promote the intangible culture of India, Malini has preserved, documented and disseminated various traditional and folk forms of Indian music like vintage Thumris & Dadras, Kajri , Jhula, Holi, Chaiti, Sanskar Geets, Shram Geets, Ritu Geet, Sufiyna Kalaams and various traditional forms of music from Avadh and Benaras.
Malini was awarded Padmashree, one of the highest civilian honours of the country in the year 2016 for her relentless work on popularizing the folk music of India. Owing to her research on documentation and dissemination of various forms of folk music, Malini holds the distinctive privilege of being appointed as the Centenary Chair Professor for the Indian Study Center (Bharat Adhayan Kendra) at the world-renowned Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and also serves as an honorary professor at the media center for Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). UNESCO too has honoured Malini has by appointing her as India’s representative for Folk Music at the UNESCO-cultural commission. A “Life- Time” Ratna Sadasya at the Uttar Pradesh Sangeet Natak Academy, Professor Awasthi also runs a non-profit organization called “Sonchiraiya” which provides a performing platform to various rural, tribal and folk artists from all over India.