Kala Ramnath

Kala Ramnath is an Indian classical violinist. She belongs to the Mewati gharana.[1] She was awarded the Sangeet Natak Academy Puraskaar in 2016, Rashtriya Kumar Gandharva Sanman in 2008 and the Pandit Jasraj Gaurav Puraskar in 1999.[2]

Kala Ramnath
Born29 May
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
GenresHindustani classical music

Early life

Kala Ramnath is the first child of Malathy and T.N. Mani in Chennai, India. Kala Ramnath was born into a family that includes violinists T. N. Krishnan and N. Rajam. Her father, T.N. Mani was known for his contributions to Indian film music.

At the age of two and a half, Kala Ramnath was initiated into violin and vocal training by her grandfather, Narayan Iyer. She represents the beginning of the seventh generation of violinists in her family. It has been said that her grandfather bribed her to practice by offering her sweets and candy.

She started performing from the age of 14 when her aunt presented her in concert.

For fifteen years she studied with the Mewati vocalist Jasraj.

Performing career

Kala Ramnath has performed at all the major music festivals in India, as well as the most prestigious stages throughout the world, including the Sydney Opera House, London's Queen Elizabeth Hall and New York's Carnegie Hall to name a few.

She has forged musical alliances with artists of renown from different genres around the globe incorporating elements of Western classical, jazz, Flamenco and traditional African music.

Kala Ramnath is a sought after artist to work and experiment with orchestras such as the London Symphony and London Philharmonic. She has also worked with musicians including Kai Eckhart, Edgar Meyer, Bela Fleck, Terry Bozzio, Abbos Kossimov, Ayrto Moreira, Giovanni Hidalgo and rock legend Ray Manzarek of the Doors.

‘Raga Afrika’, ‘Global Conversation’ and recently ‘Elements’ are all bands Ramnath has founded along with her fellow world music artists.

Kala Ramnath also has been involved in the background score of the Hollywood films, notable among them being Blood Diamond working with composers like James Newton Howard and George Acogny.

Teaching career

Kala Ramnath regularly lectures and conducts workshops all around the world. A few worth mention here are the Rotterdam Conservatory of Music in Netherlands, University of Giessen in Germany and the Weill Institute in association with the Carnegie Hall in New York.

She is keen to enrich the lives of under-privileged and sick children through music in the form of her foundation, ‘Kalashree’.

Awards and recognitions

  • Composition of Kala Ramnath featured in the Grammy Award-winning album "In 27 Pieces"
  • A featured artist in the Grammy nominated album ‘Miles from India’
  • Recognized as one of the fifty best instrumentalists of the world by the prestigious ‘Songlines’ Magazine
  • Album ‘Kala’ selected again by ‘Songlines’ magazine's one of the 50 best recordings of the world
  • The first Indian violinist to be featured in the violin Bible, ‘The Strad’
  • A solo essay in the ‘Encyclopedia – Rough Guide to World Music’ for her contributions in the field of violin
  • Out of her several recordings best selling albums, Kala’ and ‘Samvad’ were ‘Top of the World’ in the charts for the year 2004, ‘Yashila’ for 2006 and ‘Samaya’ for 2008.
  • A Top Grade Artiste in India's Radio and Television
  • Rashtriya Kumar Gandharva Sanman
  • Pandit Jasraj Gaurav Puraskaar
  • Sangeet Natak Academy Puraskaar



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