Dr. Shyamamani Devi was born to late Sri Rajendra Mohan Pattanaik and late (Mrs) Nishamani Pattanaik on 21st December 1938 at Subarnapur viilage of Banki P. S in Cuttack district of Odisha. She was the youngest among two sons and three daughters. She grew up in a traditional and conservative zaminder family of Odisha. Although, she was attracted towards music in her tender age, initially she had to face hardship and obstruction being a girl child from the conservative society where learning and performing music and dance was taboo. However, with the moral support and assistance of her uncle late Kabichandra Dr. Kalicharan Pattanaik her uncle, she could establish herself as an outstanding child artist of All India Radio (AIR) at the age of 12. Since then, music ran parallel with her studies and later on it (music) became her life’s passion and an integral part.
2. She learnt the basic technique of singing by listening to the great voices of Lata Mangeshkar, Noor Jahan, Rajkumari and Sidheswari Devi. She learnt Odishi music from two famous Gurus (Teachers) Singhari Shyamsundar Kar and Sangeet Sudhakar Balkrishna Dash who had their own distinct and different styles. Her learning of “Odishi” music went hand in hand with “Hindustani” classical music as well as from Guru Kundala Adinarayan Rao.
3. Her interest in music was not confined only to “Odishi” and “Hindustani” classical style, hence she proceeded to Mumbai after her graduation (Bachelor of Music) in Odishi vocal to continue further musical studies. At Mumbai, she completed post-graduation (Master of Music) in Hindustani vocal from Gandharva Mahavidyalay, Pune under the guidance of Prof Dr. B.R. Navrang. She also learnt “thumri” from Gurus like Pt. Lakshmi Shankar and Mrs Nirmala Devi. Later on with the blessings and permission of all the Gurus, she formed her own style of singing & music by combining “thumri”, “Hindustani” and “Odishi”with the styles of both Singhari Shyam Sundar Kar & Sangeet Sudhakar Balakrishna Dash. Her own style of singing and music with the blending of different styles of different Gurus was appreciated by all. Accordingly, she created her own identity and is still striving for maintaining the same.
4. With the graduation (B.A) from Sailabala Womens College, Cuttack, Mrs Shyamamani Devi obtained her graduation on music (Bachelor of Music or Sangeet Bisharad) in Odishi Vocal from Sangeet Natak Academy, Cuttack under the guidance of late Guru Singhari Shyamsundar Kar and Sangeet Sudhakar Balkrishna Dash at National Music Association & Utkal Sangeet Samaj, Cuttack. Susequently she obtained post-graduation (Master of Music or Sangeet Alankar) in Hindustani Vocal from Gandharba Mahavidyalay, Pune, during 1965 under the guidance of late Prof. B.R. Navrang, Mumbai. She had“Voice Culture” under late Prof. B. R. Deodhar, for Thumri and light classical music from late Nirmala Devi and Pt. Laxmi Shankar, Mumbai.
5. Dr Shyamamani Devi was married to late Dr. Mayadhar Behera, a medicine practitioner. She is blessed with two daughters and one son. None of her children are in the music line to carry forward her legacy. Her family life has never detached her from her professional (musical) life. She is the perfect model for balancing her profession and family life which is praiseworthy. She now resides in Cuttack the cultural city of Odisha.