Being born in a middle class family in a relatively rooted region, as a female, tends to limit the expanse of the sky one can spread their wings in. But this did not deter Swapnali Gaikwad, a native of Maharashtra’s Marathwada region, from going beyond these limits and unfluring her very different wings.Since the age of ten, Swapnali Gaikwad aspired to be an artist, an Indian classical singer. Her music teacher, Pt. Baburao Borgaonkar encouraged and helped her foray into the world of Indian classical music. But her birth in a conservative middle class family, to a couple who happen to be Zilla Parishad teachers, reduced her dreams and aspirations to a mere hobby. She continued her studies and got into the field of Engineering. It didn’t take her long to know she wasn’t cut out for that life. She switched to music in the second year of her studies and got herself enrolled at MIT Vishwashanti Sangeet Kala Academy in Pune’s Loni Kalbhor. She took upon her classical music journey under the supervision of Shri Adinath Mangeshkar ji. She also happens to be the diligent disciple of  Pt. Upendra Bhatt, paramshishya of Pt. Bhimsen ji.

As a student, Swapnali Gaikwad participated in numerous competitions and never failed to bag the first price. She has also won her fair share of accolades and reception for her participation in lending her voice at Lata Mangeshkar’s 90th birthday celebrations. She has also sung for “The song of dancer”, which delves into the importance and culture of “Lavani”, the state dance of Maharashtra. The thematic universe of the song depicts the importance of the dance form and how its high time for the present lot and the forth coming generations to preserve the divine dance form, which in many reflects our legacy and accentuates our history. Swapnali Gaikwad joined hands with the makers of a hindi feature film titled “Someone”, not only a singer but also as a music producer. This particular association with the film marks her debut into the world of music production, although she’s created a niche space for herself as a classical singer.

The song in the film is touted to be very crucial to the narrative and is said to be a western classical, a genre blend that’d cater to a wide range of audience.Everything was going well, when the unexpected pandemic struck the world; bring with it the preventive measure of lockdown that affected the lifes of too many. To not let her talents rust, her mentor advised her to use her skills effectively. Many of her friends, residing in the more flourished urban regions of the state, suggested her to turn to the internet and project her skills for the world to see. Having lived in Pune for over a year had opened her to a new digital world that her life in Marathwada had a restricted access to. Inspired by and following the footsteps of her parents, Swapnali Gaikwad started out with a bunch of students and used her craft and experience to teach them classical music. With the help of social media, she was able to build a network of students of all ages; hailing from vivid countries. This small venture that she started to hone her skills is now earning her an approximate lakh and a half per month.

Music is recreational. Cooped up in the four walls of our houses, music has been a great companion that has kept many people sane during the initial days of the lockdown. Suffice to say, we have become very health conscious after the outbreak of COVID-19. Swapnali’s music also acts as a medium to healthy lifestyle as her course includes various breathing exercises. Her teaching reduces certain stress hormones and, in her words, “accentuates the levels of some immunity related-factors”. Classical singing not only keeps you rooted to your culture but it also imbibes healthy lifestyle choices.

Born a female in the digitally backward region where dreaming about something as sacred as touching classical music was unheard of, Swapnali Gaikwad has had to face her fair share of challenges. Be it the occasional disdain of people or the frequent questions regarding the prospective marriage that girls have to face in this society, she has overcome it all. Although hesitant about her success, her parents have shown Swapan their utmost support in giving wings to her voice. And now, they couldn’t be any happier with the heights their daughter’s digital wings are taking her to.

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