Chitraveena N. Ravikiran at Tattvaloka
Carnatica is conducting their programs this season at the Tattvaloka auditorium. Carnatica was founded and continues to be run by eminent Carnatic vocalists, S. Soumya and K.N. Sashikiran. They have established centers in Chennai and the United States and have also brought out an online tutorial.
Today, Chitraveena N. Ravikiran is performing at seven. A little about Ravi.
He was born on 12th February 1967 to Chitraveena Narasimhan and Choodamani. In 1969, he made his first appearance in the Malleshwaram Sangeeta Sabha, Bangalore.
Soon after that he was presented in The Madras Music Academy, Krishna Ghana Sabha where he stunned the music world with his ability to identify and render about 325 ragas (melodic scales) and 175 talas (rhythmic cycles). He was also able to answer complex technical questions on various aspects of Carnatic music when quizzed by luminaries such as Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, Pandit Ravi Shankar, M S Subbulakshmi, Flute Mali, Palghat Mani Iyer, T N Krishnan, Ramnad Krishnan and Alla Rakha. The Music Academy, Madras, awarded the two-year-old, a monthly scholarship for the next few years.
Ravikiran went on to learn Carnatic music under the guidance of his father, Narasimhan. The latter’s unique teaching methods enabled Ravikiran to develop rigorous discipline and have fun at the same time. Ravikiran debuted as a vocalist in 1972, at Coimbatore, India, at age five. His ability to perform full-fledged three-hour concerts with senior accompanists, displaying rare mastery over both the melodic and rhythmic aspects (such as singing a khanda ata tala varnam in khanda eka tala in the five jati-s) of Carnatic music, amazed scholars and lovers of music alike.
Ravikiran presented concerts to packed audiences for major organisations in various cities until the age of 10, at which time (anticipating a voice change),he switched over to the beautiful 21-stringed chitravina.
However, he resumed his vocal recitals in 1999 and now presents both vocal and instrumental concerts. His masterful knowledge of Carnatic music, his musical acumen, imaginative approach, breath control and diction, have made him a much desired artiste in prominent venues both in and outside India.
From the late 1980-s, Ravikiran had the rare privilege of learning from the celebrated vocalist T Brinda, widely acknowledged as a musicians’ musician. His interaction with her added a whole new dimension to his perception of the microscopic nuances of music.
His thematic vocal recitals on works of venerated composers such as Tyagaraja and Oottukkadu Venkata Kavi have won approbation from music lovers.
Ravikiran is easily one of the most prolific composers in the world of Carnatic music now. He has introduced a number of ragas also. He discovered a raga at the age of two and named it Choodamani after his mother. He has also introduced ragams such as keshavapriya, Mohini, Snehapriya, Shivamanohari and Andhakarini. He has to his credit in excess of 500 compositions. These include, apart from over 300 conventional musical forms, several short numbers that form a part of his music-dance productions as also those created for instrumental ensembles and orchestras. His Carnatic compositions cover a range of themes in various musical forms such as varnam, krti, padam, javali and tillana.
He is the first composer to have composed in each one of the 35 talas of Carnatic music. Like most traditional Carnatic composers who used signature (mudra) for their compositions, Ravikiran signs his pieces with the phrase, Ravi-Shashi. However, many of his operatic pieces will not bear this signature and some pieces also have the word, ‘Ravikiran’ incorporated in the lyrics.
He started the International School of Carnatic Music to promote Carnatic music around the world. He has also authored two books –
Appreciating Carnatic Music, Perfecting Carnatic Music – Level I and II and Inaiyatra Innishai. He has directed several audio and video albums and has also published books by other composers like Tanjavur Shankara Iyer.
He was the youngest and the first Indian to receive some prestigious International awards in the field of music.
I have had the good fortune of knowing this great man and learning from him! Today will be great! Updates after the concert will be up.