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RA Ramamani

Kannada Singer RA Ramamani
Written By - Team Nettv4u

RA. Ramamani is a versatile artist and musician who is specialized in singing Avadhana and Pallavi. She also provides vocals for Indo-Jazz bands and composes jazz and fusion music. She also runs a music school to train and teach Carnatic music to thousands of students across the globe. She was born on 2 March 1950 in a conservative family in Bengaluru and was brought up listening to Sanskrit slokas, Tiruppavai, and Carnatic music. At the age of five, she started going to music classes with her elder sister, Chingamani. She learned music from her teacher Srinivas Ramachandra Rao.

She started performing when she was just eleven years old, along with her brother R.A. Rajagopal who was a percussionist. She also learned to play the mridangam instrument from M.L Veerabhadraiah at the Bengaluru University. When Ramamani was studying in college, Anoor Ramakrishna taught her the intellectual elements of music such as ‘Kanakku’ and ‘Grahabhedam.’ In the late 1980s, Rama started learning from her teacher R.K. Srikantan, who insisted on teaching her a different style of composition. Soon, she developed an innate interest in Pallavi, and she won the first prize in a Pallavi competition, which was conducted by the Karnataka Ganakala Parishat. Then, she won a prize at the Music Academy of Madras in 1970, with Tinniyam Venkatarama Iyer and Mudicondan Venkatarama Iyer as the chief guests.

Her other achievement was when she demonstrated an Avadhana Pallavi to an assembly of the greats of Carnatic music in Bangalore. Thereafter, Rama got married to a mridangam Vidwan named T.A.S. Mani who started the Karnataka College of Percussion (KCP) in the early 1960s and asked his wife to take Carnatic vocal classes in his college. It was due to the efforts of her husband Mani which helped Ramamani to enter into the larger world of music as her husband started traveling the world with Tala Tarangini which was the first percussion ensemble from South India.

On their request, Ramamani made her first attempt in Indo-Jazz fusion and used her skills in Konnakol and Swara-singing to reproduce the phrases which are played on the piano. It became widely popular and was appreciated by the band. Rama also collaborated with a renowned saxophone player named Charlie Mariano for several years. She composed an album called Jyothi while working with him. It was released under an independent record label called ECM in 1983. The album became an instant classic. Thereafter, various jazz bands from across the world started approaching her and requested her for collaboration.

With an Irish jazz musician and composer named Ronan Guilfoyle, Rama created Khanda - Five Cities, which is an extensive piece that brings together Indian, British, and jazz musicians. She also launched some albums such as Pulse of Bangalore and Sketches of Bangalore with Mike Herting. She also worked with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and created melodious music which included a string quartet and the tuba. Her another album, Amalgama, was launched with Flamenco musicians, which was led by Xavier Turul. The album earned wide recognition across the globe.

Some of her other successful albums are Crossing Roots (featuring KCP on percussion with flamenco and acoustic guitars), KCP5, Mishram, Many Ways, City Life, Jungle Book The concept about a child being raised in Jungle b >> Read More... , and River Yamuna. Ramamani’s dedication and contribution to the field of music has received wide recognition from various organizations and institutions. As a learner of music, she has won several awards and scholarships, such as the Central Government Scholarship, Tamboora from D.K.Pattammal for singing Raga, Tana, and Pallavi, and Tamboora from M.L.Vasanthakumari for singing Purandadasa Keertane. She also received Layakala Nipuna from Percussive Arts Centre, Ganakalabhushana & Ganakalashri from Karnataka Gana Kala Parishat, Kalabhushana from Tyagaraja Gana Sabha, Karnataka Sangeeta Nritya Academy award, Kalajyothi from Nadajyothi Sri Tyagaraja Swamy Bhajana Sabha, Kempegowda Prashasti from BBMP.


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