Umakant Gundecha and Ramakant Gundecha, known as the Gundecha Brothers, are leading Dagarvani dhrupad singers. They always sing together. So together they have been awarded Padmashree for 2012 in the field of Art - Indian Classical Music - Vocal - Madhya Pradesh.
Early life and background:
Gundecha Brothers were born in Ujjain into a Jain family.
They studied at the local Madhav Music College. Umakant has a post-graduate degree in music and economics and Ramakant in music and commerce.
They moved to Bhopal in 1981, for training under dhrupad master, Zia Fariddudin Dagar and his brother Zia Mohiuddin Dagar. These gurus were second cousins of the two major forces in the second half of the 20th Century, two duos known as the senior Dagar Brothers (Nasir Moinuddin & Nasir Aminuddin) and the junior Dagar Brothers (Nasir Zahiruddin & Nasir Faiyazuddin).
After training for four years, they performed in public for the first time in May 1985, at the Uttaradhikar dance and music festival in Bhopal.
Umakant and Ramakant have good voices with strong lower registers. They have worked to expand the dhrupad repertoire by incorporating texts by Hindi poets such as Tulsidas, Padmakar and Nirala.
They have set up a dhrupad institute outside Bhopal where they teach students from all over the world.
They run a music school in the Dhrupad tradition, according to the guru-shishya style of teaching that was prevalent in India for teaching of the arts.
Recordings and fellowships:
They have recorded many cassettes and CDs by H.M.V, Music Today, Rhythm House, IPPNW Concerts Berlin, Navras and Audio Rec London. They have also sung for many television channels in India and have been broadcast on British, U.S., German and French Radio as well. As well as being an integral part of all of India's prestigious music festivals, the Brothers have also performed at many important international music festivals and institutions in Europe, U.S.A, Australia, Singapore, Bangladesh, U.A.E and Hong Kong.
They have received M.P. Govt. Scholarship from 1981 to 1985, National Fellowship from 1987 to 89, Ustad Allauddin Khan Fellowship in 1993, Sanskriti Award in 1994 and Kumar Gandharva Award in 1998 by Govt. of Madhaya Pradesh and Dagar Gharana Award by Mewar Foundation in 2001.