With: Ranjani Ramakrishnan – Violin & Trichur Narendran – Mridangam
Placed amongst the 50 most influential soft powers in India by the Open Magazine, Palghat Ramprasad is one of the most sought after South Indian Carnatic music vocalist both in India and abroad.
Grandson of the legendary mridangist Palghat Mani Iyer, Ramprasad started learning music from a very young age from his father Sri T.R.Rajaram. Ramprasad’s entry into the concert platform was in the year 1988 in the Youth Association for Classical Musical popularly known as YACM in Chennai, when he was less than 8 years old; where he was awarded the title, ‘the best artist’ of the series. From then on, he has been regularly performing concerts in and out of India for the past three decades.
Hailed as a child prodigy by many, even as a teenager, Ramprasad was accompanied on stage by legendary artists such as “Sangeetha Kalanidhi’s” Sri T.K.Murthy, Late Sri Palghat Raghu, Sri T.V.Gopalkrishnan, Sri Umayalpuram Sivaraman, Late Sri Ramabadhran, Sri Trichy Sankaran, Sri M.S.Anantharaman, and Sri Sikkil Bhaskaran, to name a few.
Ramprasad aims at adhering to the traditional classical style with particular emphasis on “Neraval” singing, which according to his Grandfather is the test of a “true vocalist”. In this regard, Ramprasad has had the rarest of blessings to get first-hand information through his father and his uncle T.R.Rajamani about Sri Mani Iyer’s view on how to handle impromptu improvisations on-stage for songs in different tempos and ragas, and more generally about his ideas on what constitutes a successful performance that is sustainable in the long run.Ramprasad has a fan-following for being a stickler to the rigorous traditional ‘Ramanuja Iyengar – K V Narayanaswamy’ genre of singing that entails arduous training and sustained practice compared to other styles.
Ramprasad is an “A” grade artist in All India Radio (AIR) and performs regularly on all the leading television channels; and has released many albums and CDs. He and his senior students teach music classes to students in India and abroad, through a school he has created in the name of his grandfather. Many of his students are concert performers themselves.
Ramprasad is a trained economist specializing in applied econometrics (PhD from University of Georgia), and was a visiting post-doctoral fellow at The Harvard School of Public Health, and has internationally renowned peer-reviewed publications to his credit. He holds a Bachelors’ degree in commerce, a master’s degree in economics, in which he was awarded 7 gold medals and holds the record for the highest marks scored. His current research focuses on understanding the effects of traditional practice methods on brain activity; and the effectiveness of traditional methods as a curative process for professional singers with vocal defects. This is in pursuit of a larger goal of creating a voice lab for vocalists to address their vocal issues.
Recently, he has developed an app feature called ‘manipravaaham’ (that uses an optimization algorithm) to help artists create and store song lists for their concerts.
Ranjani Ramakrishnan is a multi-faceted musician trained in Carnatic Music. Known as a highly sensitive, innovative and passionate artiste whose music embodies a uniquely personal & intense expression, she firmly believes that music finds form in her deepest search for truth. She is acclaimed for her impeccable bowing and sensitive tonality and is one of the most sought-after violin artistes in the Carnatic Music field. She spontaneously adapts her training in Carnatic music to other musical forms as well, be it jugalbandis, dance collaborations, music composition and direction for independent/film music.
A disciple of her mother Smt. Seetha Ramakrishnan, Ranjani was initiated into music at age four and grew up in a musically rich environment. She also received Carnatic vocal training from Smt. LathaRamchand.
As an accompanying violin artist she has played alongside several eminent musicians including Shri. R K Shrikanthan, Vid. R Vedavalli, Chitraveena Shri. N Ravikiran, Shri. O S Thyagarajan, Dr S Sowmya, among others. She has collaborated on several Dance productions presented by Cleveland Tyagaraja Festival and IFAASD.
In her other roles as composer and vocalist she has worked on various productions including the acclaimed film ‘Morning Raga’ starring celebrated actor Shabana Azmi. She has recorded with several TV and Film directors on independent collaborations and music albums.
She has performed at many prestigious events and venues across the world including, the NCPA Mumbai, Kalakshetra Chennai, Kala Ghoda Festival Mumbai, Dadarathiya Festival, Mumbai, Music Academy Madras, SIFAS Singapore, Ellora Aurangabad Festival, Cleveland Tyagaraja Aradhana, Bengal Festival Bangladesh, Gulaal Festival Pune, Al-Bustan Palace Muscat, James Armstrong Theatre Los Angeles, Durham Arts Council, North Carolina, among others.
Ranjani is a grade ‘A’ artiste with All India Radio and Doordarshan. She holds a Master’s degree in commerce from the University of Mumbai and a certification in Logic Pro, from Apple Inc., USA.
For Ranjani, art is a way of Life and this is the philosophy she imparts in her role as an arts educator, for the last decade. She strives to provide a holistic understanding of art beyond the confines of a “music class”, to a select group of students.
The renowned mridangam artist Shri. Narendran was born into a family of musicians and scholars. He was initiated into an early training in mridangam by Shri. Kongorppilly Parameswaran Namboodiri and gave his first concert at the age of 10. It was Shri. David Bhagavathar of Kunamkulam, who inspired him to take mridangam as profession and he was trained later by Shri. E.P. Narayana Pisharodi and Shri. Koduvayur Radhakrishnan. Shri. Narendran had the rarest privilege to be one of the early disciples of Padmashri Palghat R. Raghu and learnt the finer and most intricate techniques of mridangam playing.
His intricate rhythmic patterns, sense of proportion, sharp anticipation, short and carefully thought out phases of silence, and the ability to give the mridangam the much-needed soft touch sets Shri. Narendran apart. He has also accompanied more than five generations of musicians.
From a very young age, Narendran has been accompanying throughout India with maestros like Chembai Vaidyanathan Bhagavathar,Semmangudi Srinivsa Iyer, M S Subbulakshmi, Palghat K. V. Narayanaswamy, Dr M. Balamuralikrishna, T. M. Thiagarajan, Nedunuri Krishnamurthy, Voletti Venkateswarulu, Dr S. Ramanathan and so on.
Shri. Narendran is a recipient of many awards and titles.
Narendran moved to Chennai in 1973. He is now retired from All India Radio and settled in Chennai.