Indian folk music icon – Malini Awasthi enchanted the audience last night with her staggering repertoire of Indian folk and Hindi songs at Sydney’s Whitlam Centre.

Showcasing her versatility, she sang jhumar, dadra, nirwahi, phaag, sohar and chhat genres as well as Hindi film songs with equal finesse.

Her rendition of the classic Awadhi dadra folk song – Reliya bairan piya ko liye jae re brought the audience to its feet.

Malini’s visit coincided with the auspicious Hindu festival of chhath. Her powerful performance of chhath songs brought tears to the eyes of quite a few in the audience, bringing back memories of their roots in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

Recounting her visit to Fiji, Malini sang and danced to a song she told the audience that she had learnt in Fiji.

Expressing her delight that Ram Mandir was finally being built at Ayodhya, Malini also sang about the birth of Shree Ram and its significance.

Singing non-stop for over two hours, Malini received a standing ovation at the end of her superlative performance.

Malini was accompanied by her team of musicians from India comprising Sachin (keyboards), Mukesh Singh (table) and Amit Kumar (dholak).

They were joined by local musicians Suresh Biseshar (octopad) and Pranjal (guitar).

Who is Malini Awasthi

Malini has received multiple awards including the prestigious Padma Shree award from the Indian government in 2016.

She has performed around the globe, including Trinidad, Mauritius, Houston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Pakistan, London and the Netherlands.

A regular on TV programmes and music festivals, Malini was a judge on the Bhojpuri Musical Reality Show ‘Sur Sangram’ and a participant in NDTV Imagine’s Junoon.

Apart from singing folk music of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and ghazals, she has also sings for Indian films.

Malini was born in Kannauj, Uttar Pradesh. She is a gold medalist in Hindustani classical music from Bhatkhande University, Lucknow as well as a gold medalist from the University of Lucknow.

Malini is Centenary Chair Professor of Bharat Adhyan Kendra at Banaras Hindu University.