A native of Mumbai, Saili Oak began studying music at the age of 3. A finalist on the popular reality TV series “Zee Marathi SaReGaMaPa,” Saili is a senior disciple of Dr. Ashwini Bhide Deshpande, a leading vocalist of the Jaipur-Atrauli gharana or school of Indian music. Saili won the All-India Classical music competition when she was barely 17. She completed her Sangeet Visharad (Bachelor’s degree) from the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya Mandal and since won multiple prestigious awards. Her performances have been admired for her meticulous architecture of ‘khayal,’ the modern genre Hindustani music, her systematic and well-crafted raga exploration and impressive command over the ‘laya.’
Saili says “‘laya’ is related to ‘LayaKaari’ – the ability of the performer to move away from the beats in a rhythmic cycle, using different time signatures while gracefully coming back to the downbeat at the end of the cycle. The ‘khayal’ usually begins with a rhythmic cycle in an extremely slow tempo which ranges anywhere from 20 to 60 bpm. In this ‘laya’, the performer typically improvises using the solfege or the lyrics from the khayal. It is common to use 2/3/4 syllables in a beat but it can get more complex using dotted notes or time signatures of 5/16 or 7/16.”
Saili is also known for her distinguished work in the Indian-Western Classical music crossover space. She has performed with notable western music ensembles including the Albany Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Tonality choir, and Salastina Music Society.
She has been featured on several albums including ‘Beyond’, “American Mirror” and “Sing about it” and “KALA.”
Saili serves as the Programs Director of a non-profit organization ‘Shastra’, where she co-hosts the “Composing with Indian Voice” annual workshop in the U.S., and “Raga Meets Symphony” in India. She is also a Vocal Mentor for the non-profit organization Street Symphony in Los Angeles.
A passionate educator, Saili maintains a vocal studio ‘SailiMusic’ where she trains the next generation of upcoming artists, and is a frequent guest speaker, panelist and workshop participant at conferences and universities across America. She has presented her work at the Composition in Asia Conference at the University of South Florida, taught master classes at the Salem State University, Smith College in Northampton MA, Kaufmann Music Center NY, and University of Texas at Austin.
Apart from her musical training, Saili also holds a Master’s Degree in Accountancy and has completed the Chartered Financial Analyst Program by the CFA Institute, USA.