Indian American musician Saraswathi “Sara” Ranganathan is an Indian Classical veena performer and cross-cultural musical ambassador. She was born in Mysore and grew up in a musical family. Ranganathan learned veena from her mother Shantha Ranganathan and from Karnataka Kalashree EP Alamelu in Bengaluru (Bangalore). She has been performing and teaching for over three decades.
Saraswathi Ranganathan won the ‘Best Asian Entertainer’ award at the 37th Chicago Music Awards in 2018.
She is passionate about presenting the veena to a diverse audience through concerts at world music festivals, collaborations with artists from different genres, creative workshops at schools, lecture-demonstrations at universities for world music courses, educational performances at museums and other distinguished places of public interest, demos at libraries.
Ranganathan was the first Carnatic veena artist designated to perform in an off-Broadway play, “Jungle Book,” directed by Mary Zimmerman and supported in part by Disney Theatrical Productions.
Saraswathi Ranganathan holds a master’s degree in Sanskrit and an MBA from Loyola University of Chicago. She directs her non-profit music school, Ensemble of Ragas, in Schaumburg, a Chicago suburb, teaching Carnatic classical vocal and veena.
Jayanthi Kumaresh is set to perform on Friday, April 12, 2019 at Roulette in new York city. The concert is part of the A World in Trance series.
Jayanthi Kumaresh is one of India’s leading veena (lute) players. She has captivated audiences around the world for over three decades with her entrancing performances.
A sixth generation musician and niece of the legendary violinist Lalgudi Jayaraman, she began playing the veena at the age of three. Jayanthi seeks to express the true voice of the veena, which transcends the boundaries of language and region.
She will open this program with a long solo rendition of tanam, the repetitive pulse that engenders the ancient art of Vedic chant. Since the veena is attributed to Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of music and learning, this part of the program will evoke the feminine principle – Laasya – through an uninterrupted sequence of ragas.
In the second part, Jayanthi will evoke the masculine principle – Thaandava, where she will be joined by renowned percussionists K U Jayachandra Rao (mrdangam) and Pramath Kira (tabla, morching – jaw’s harp).
Suvir is a disciple of the Dhrupad maestro Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar and Nirmalaya Dey. He is one of the few distinguished left hand artists of the Veena family of Indian lute.
He is a multifaceted musician with mastery over all the three traditional veenas of Hindustani and Karnatic music- the rudra veena, the saraswati veena and the surbahar. Suvir performs on the three veenas in the ‘Gayaki Ang’ (Vocal Style) in which all the fluidity and subtle nuances of the human voice are integrated with the traditional Beenkari.
Suvir has also experimented with the modern Hindi kavita and imbibed contemporary themes with in modern Dhrupad compositions.
He has made several veenas with his own hands and has also developed a hybrid Karnatic veena for adoption to Hindustani style called the misr veena.
Suvir Misra an officer from the 1993 Batch of the Indian Revenue Service (IRS).
Dr Mustafa Raza was born in 1958 in Delhi, in a famous family of vichitra veena players. He belongs to the Beenkar, Patiala and Moradabad Gharana (music schools). These Gharana play an important role in the Indian music world.
His father, Ustad Ahmed Raza Khan, taught Dr. Raza veena and classical music at an early age, as per the family tradition. Dr. Raza introduced and popularized this instrument to foreign audiences and has many disciples in various counties.
He has a Doctorate M.D (A Medicine) and is a Selection Grade Artist All India Radio, Delhi. Dr. Reza also has a diploma in Hindustani Music. He was given a gold medal in a competition of Hindustani Music and won prizes in various music conferences and Sangeet Sammelans.
He has shown the developed personal style of Gayakiang for Raga and expression of the artist, which requires refined and sublime spirit, which is only developed from never lasting practice (Sadhana).
Veena maestro Karaikkudi Subramaniam is a descendant of an illustrious family of veena players and is one of the leading performers in India. He has performed internationally, and has done extensive research on different styles of vina playing. He holds a doctoral degree in Ethnomusicology and teaches at the University of Madras.
Geetha Navale is a veena virtuosa. She has participated in numerous collaborative projects with various artists of the world, combining Carnatic music with other musical forms.
She studied under the guidance of Vidwan Sri.J Anjaneyalu of the traditional Vijayanagaram School. The classes would start at 4:30 a.m. every morning and the practice would continue for hours daily. As a child she had the honor of performing with her Guru at Sri. Thygaraja Aradhana, at Tiruvayyaru, the birthplace of Sri. Thyagaraja.
After her marriage to songwriter-guitarist Gopal Navale, Geetha moved to Bangalore. She continued her studies under the late Sri. C. Krishnamurthy, a disciple of the celebrated vainika Sri. Doreswamy Iyengar.
Since 1989 she has been under the guidance of the legendary maestro Sri R. K. Suryanayana, whose explosive techniques inspired her to further heights of excellence. Under him she has matured as a performing artist. He has introduced her to modern styles of playing and also new original compositions.
Along with her husband, Geetha established a global music project called Esperanto in their world music school, Guruskool, which explores cross cultural music, the emerging exciting new music of our time.
Through Esperanto, Geetha playeed, recorded and performed with talented and acclaimed artists, including Dr. David Rothenberg from New York, a Jazz clarinet player, writer and philosophy professor; Nadia Lamarch – jazz from France; Manuel Delgado a Flamenco guitarist from Spain; and Ralf Siedhoff a classical and 12 stringed guitarist from Germany; Kartik das Baul and Devdas Baul, Baul singers from Shatiniketan.
Her recordings include Tillana Guchcha – a veena duet with guru Sri. R. K. Suryanarayan. Her second recording is an open ended collaborative musical project of Guruskool involving talented musicians of diverse genres to explore the still largely uncharted seas of cross cultural music. The album titled Mix’d Feel, is a a fusion of Carnatic, harmonica, jazz sax, Indian percussion like tabla, mridangam, and rhythm guitar.
In December of 2001, Geetha collaborated with Spanish cellist Lourdes Pfeiffer, French bassist Alexandre Lettelier and Indian percussionist Prashant R.S.
Tillana Guchcha, Volume 1 (1999)
Mix’d Feel, with Esperanto (Kreek, 2000)
Rubber World, with Robert Wright, John Wayne and Gopal Navale (Raw Productions, 2001)
Esperanto at the Knitting Factory (Kreek, 2002)
Ocean Floor (Kreek, 2002)
Ancientstrings (Kreek, 2004)
Tillana Guchcha Volume 2 (Kreek 2003)
Ondu (Masala Maker, 2002) Toujours du Soleil, with Isabelle Antena (2003)
Dr. Krishna Raghavendra is an international performing artist in the fields of traditional and contemporary music. He is also a composer, and a producer. Dr. Raghavendra also offers workshops at educational institutions and releases original recordings.
He is the founder of “Raga and Rhythm Ensemble”(RARE), primarily to promote and integrate Indian music with western and non-western forms of music. He is a master of Veena, a traditional plucked stringed instrument from South India. His veena is custom built as a detachable instrument out of red cedar wood by the late Narasinga Rao of Bangalore, India and modified by Mr. Steve Morrill, Boston who built the finger board, modified the bridge and worked on sound amplification. Dr. Raghavendra has developed a unique technique of playing veena which involves a combination of soft nuances, swift fingering and imaginative use of melodic and drone strings to produce harmonizing and vamping sounds as if coming from different instruments.
Dr. Raghavendra is a senior member of the Karnataka College of Percussion (KCP) and the founding member of the USA-based Ragha School of Music.
In addition to his work in Indian classical music, he has worked with several fusion groups. Raghavendra has performed and recorded internationally, and plays a new version of the vina which is portable but retains an excellent tonal quality.
Rare Pulse (2001)
The Great Train Journey (2002)
Tryst with Destiny (2003)
Shades Of Love (2004)
Shiva Ganga (2006)
Sri Raghavendra Vishesha Kriti Mala (2006)
Sampradaya: Veena Tradition (2006)
Nee Da Ma Da (2007)
Utsava (Raghas Music, 2010)
Sindhu Bhairavi (Raghas Music, 2011)
Beyond Behag (Raghas Music, 2013)
Orchestral Aves (Raghas Music, 2015)
EarthSync will present the Carnatic tradition of veena virtuoso Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh live at the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow, Scotland. Celtic Connections is a large, influential music festival that celebrates Scottish music as well as Celtic and world music and other forms of roots music.
Jayanthi Kumaresh is an internationally renowned Carnatic veena maestro hailing from a distinguished family of musicians who have been immersed in the Carnatic tradition for seven generations. She has been playing the instrument since she was 5 years old, and will showcase a selection of evening ragas. Her performances at Celtic Connections 2017 will take place on Friday, January 27th at 7:30pm, and Saturday, January 28th at 8:00 pm.
“I’m looking forward to presenting the national instrument of India – the Saraswati Veena – to an international audience in Glasgow, introducing many of them to the textures of this instrument that has a 15000 year old tradition originating from the Vedic period” says Kumaresh, “I would like to give credit to EarthSync for taking this instrument far and wide where people haven’t heard of it – it’s a great service to the cause of Indian Classical music to facilitate this exposure”.
The husband-wife duo of violin maestro R. Kumaresh and veena virtuoso (lute) player Jayanthi Kumaresh are set to perform on October 1st at the Thalia at Symphony Space in New York City. This concert is part of the Carnatic Masters series, featuring leading figures in South Indian music, presented by Robert Browning Associates.
R. Kumaresh and Jayanthi Kumaresh are two of the leading instrumentalists in their respective fields. The duo will perform solos and duets accompanied by R. Sankaranarayanan on mridangam (double-headed barrel drum) and S. Krishnaswamy on ghatam (clay pot drum).
R. Kumaresh has 40 years of concert experience and is internationally renowned both as a soloist and for his duets with his brother, Ganesh Rajagopalan.
Jayanthi Kumaresh traces her musical heritage back six generations. She has captivated audiences around the world for 30 years and collaborated with many of India’s major artists.
Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Peter Norton Symphony Space
2537 Broadway at 95th Street, New York City
Tickets: $28; seniors, students $24; day of show $32
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