Born on July 14, 1972 in Sangli, (Maharashtra , India), Shalmalee's basic lessons in Hindustani classical music began at the early age of three with her mother, Smt. Madhuri Kulkarni which continued for around eight years.
Sangli has a rich traditional association to Hindustani classical music. It has been a host to many great musical stalwarts of the yesteryears like late Pt. Dinanath Mangeshkar, Ustad Abdul Karim Khan, Pt. Vishnudas Bhave and many others who had spent many years in Sangli. It is also the karmabhumi of Pt. C. T. Mhaiskar (Chintubua) a highly acclaimed music teacher. His disciples include such accomplished Hindustani classical vocalists as Smt. Bharati Vaishampayan (Head, Dept. of Music, Shivaji University, Kolhapur), Manjari Ansare and others.
At Mumbai, Shalmalee was fortunate to have the privilege of becoming a disciple of the noted Hindustani vocalist, Smt. Padma Talwalkar. During the course of the two and half years of training under her guidance, she accompanied her on music concerts all over India. In this period, she could learn from her the finer points in the gayaki of three gharanas, viz., Jaipur-Atrauli, Kirana and Gwalior. She took part in a unique experiment with Pt. Suresh Talwalkar. This was an experiment to set lehra in vocal (traditionally called 'Nagma') sung by her for the tabla solo performances of Pt. Talwalkar. This experiment was instrumental in further improving her understanding of tala and laya.
After learning the diversity of musical traditions of these three gharanas and the beautiful confluence of them in the gayaki of Smt. Padma Talwalkar, Shalmalee decided to concentrate on the gayaki of Jaipur-Atrauli gharana. Her quest for pure Jaipur gayaki took me to Pt. Ratnakar Pai, who is a senior exponent of Jaipur gharana and a renowned music teacher. Pt. Ratnakar Paiís students include Ashwini Bhide-Deshpande, Pt. Jitendra Abhisheki is one of the renowned senior disciples of his.
Shalmalee won the "SURSHRI KESARBAI KERKAR SCHOLARSHIP" instituted by the National Center for Performing Arts, (NCPA) Mumbai ; Scholarship from "ACHARYA RATANJANKAR FOUNDATION MUMBAI" ; PT.K.G.GINDE AWARD, Scholarship from "SAJAN MILAP MUMBAI" ; Merit Scholarship from "DADAR MATUNGA CULTURAL CENTRE MUMBAI", etc. In December, 1998 she performed at "SAWAI GANDHARVA FESTIVAL PUNE