Ramana Balachandran – Veena | Sumesh Narayanan – Mridangam
Ramana Balachandhran is a 16-year-old vainika from Bangalore. His talent for music was noticed when at a young age he could identify ragas and point out nuances. He has been performing from the age of 12.
Ramana started his vocal training with his mother Sharanya Balachandhran. He then pursued veena under Vidushi B Nagalakshmi (granddaughter of Karaikudi Sri Subbarama Iyer) for a period of 3 years and continues under his father Sri Balachandhran. He currently learns vocal from Sangita Kala Acharya, Smt Neela Ramgopal and mridangam from Laya Kala Pratibha Mani, Sri Ranganatha Chakravarthy.
Ramana has performed about two hundred solo veena concerts in many of the leading sabhas of South India. He has also been the youngest vainika to have performed on many of those stages. The stages include:
- Rashtrapathi Bhavan
- All India Radio and Doordarshan, Bangalore
- Sangeet Natak Akademi, Cochin
- Karnataka: Hampi Utsav 2016, Gayana Samaja, Sri Rama Lalitha Kala Mandira, Chowdiah Memorial Hall, Ravindra Kalakshetra, Ranjani Fine Arts, Karnataka College of Percussion, etc. in Bangalore; Bhramara Trust, etc. in Mysore; Gurugua Sangitha Vidyalaya, Shimoga, etc.
- Tamilnadu: Krishna Gana Sabha, Narada Gana Sabha, Raga Sudha, Indian Institute of Technology, Dr. S Balachander memorial, Shri Lalgudi Birth Anniversary, etc. at Chennai; Sadguru Sangeetha Samajam, Madurai, Manoranjitham, Coimbatore, etc.
- Andhra/Telengana: Nada Neeranjanam, Tirupati, Thyaragarja Cultural Academy, Guntur, Hyderabad, etc.
- Kerala: Sabhas at Trichur, Tirur, Cochin, Trippunithura, and Kozhikode
Awards and recognition
- Between the ages 12 and 13 he won 32 prizes — first prizes in all the Veena and Mridangam competitions in which he participated, apart from 20 prizes in vocal competitions
- 2014: Recipient of CCRT national level scholarship for Veena
- Awarded “Smt Lalitha Padmanabhan Endowment” award for Veena by Narada Gana Sabha, Chennai in December, 2015
- Awarded “Prof G T Narayana Rao” award instituted by Bhramara Trust
- Youngest to win “Kalavanta“ in May, 2016 for winning the concert competition series (instrumental) for international artists under age 30
- Awarded “Raga Laya Prabha” by Sri Rama Lalitha Kalamandira, Bangalore, in June 2016
- Awarded “Emani Sankara Sastri Sashtiyapthapoorthi Award” by Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai in August, 2016
- Awarded “Dr. M S Subbulakshmi Fellowship grant” by Shanmukhananda Sabha, Mumbai in September, 2016
- Awarded “Annapurna Ravindran Endowment Award” by Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai in April, 2017
Disciple of Mridangam Maestro Kalaimamani Thiruvaarur Sri Bakthavathsalam
Sumesh has been under the tutelage of Kalaimamani Sri Thiruvaarur Bakthavatsalam. He has been performing with leading artists of the Carnatic world for over a decade at the prestigious venues of Chennai as well as other cultural hubs of India. He has accompanied Pandit Ronu Majumdar and Vidushi Bombay Jayashree in their Windsong tour. He has also collaborated with a number of contemporary artists and has been featured in Sruti Magazine.