Born on October 2, 1927, Dinkar Kaikiṇī was all of seven years when he attended a concert that was to change his life forever. In one evening, he had the rare opportunity of hearing three greats of a Golden Age in Hindustānī Saṅgeet: Ustād Allādiyā Khān, Ustād Faiyāz Khān and Ustād Abdul Karīm Khān. Upon hearing Ustād Faiyāz Khān, the young boy knew that he must devote his life to this art form and to the particular style of Faiyāz Khān Sāheb himself. And thus began a lifelong journey dedicated to the mastery, propagation and furthering of Hindustānī Rāgsaṅgeet.
His first guru was Paṇḍit Karekaṭṭe Nāgesh Rāo, a veteran exponent of the Paṭiālā Gharānā. He then trained under Paṇḍit Omkārnāth Thākur of the Gwālior Gharānā for a couple of years. He was about eleven years old when he joined Marris College, Lucknow, where he received the heart of his tālīm from his Gurujī, Paṇḍit S.N. Rātañjankar, disciple of Paṇḍit Vishṇu Nārāyan Bhātkhaṇḍe and Ustād Fāiyaz Khān. Along with other shishya-s, like S.C.R. Bhaṭ, Chidānand Nagarkar and K. G. Giṇḍe, Kaikiṇī spent his formative years receiving the rigorous training that helped him develop a keen sense of aesthetics as well as a passion for teaching and imparting knowledge. As a grand finale to this, he received the prestigious Bhātkhaṇḍe Gold Medal for Khayāl singing in 1943, following his performance in the final Bachelor of Music examination.
Dinkar Kaikiṇī's career as a musician was a testament to his limitless creativity: it exhibited a profound versatility and commitment to the art. He has devoted his life to performing, composing and teaching.
With his son Yogesh Samsi
His performing career started in 1946 and flourished thereafter. He toured widely internationally and served as an ambassador for Hindustānī music, not only as a performing musician, but also as an educator. He also held prominent positions in the music field. He spent long years with All India Radio, starting in 1954, first as composer and then Producer. He was also Assistant Director for the Directorate, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. This was followed by a long tenure as Principal at Bhāratīya Vidyā Bhavan`s Music and Dance School, Mumbaī. As Principal, Kaikiṇī furthered his longstanding belief in promoting music through education and awareness.
Throughout his life, Kaikiṇī had been a prolific composer, having composed hundreds of compositions in styles like khayāl, dhrupad, dhamār, thumrī and bhajan, as well as several new rāga-s. He also composed for large choruses and set music for films and the ballet production, `Discovery of India` with Paṇḍit Ravi Shaṅkar.
In recognition of his tremendous contribution to music, the honours that came his way have been numerous. These include the Saṅgeet Nāṭak Akademi Award, the Tānsen Award, Saṅgeet Ratna (Swar Sādhanā Samitee, Mumbaī), Shāraṅgdev Award (Sur Siṅgār Samsad) and the ITC Award, to name just a few.
Paṇḍit Dinkar Kaikiṇī, died of a cardiac arrest at his residence in Mumbaī, on the morning of January 23, 2010, but his rich legacy lives on. His wife Shashikalā, a radio vocalist, retired as the Principal of Bhavan’s College of Music and Dance. His younger son Yogesh Samsī is a renowned tablā player, and his daughter Aditi is a classical singer based in BeṅgaĪūru.