music reviews

 Sharaba Shastri experimented and created the Carnatic flute and brought it to the fore of Carnatic music concerts as an influential instrument. N Ramani (born 1934) is one of the finest living exponents of the Carnatic flute.
Ramani was born in Tiravarur in Tamil Nadu into a musical family. His initiation to Carnatic music began at the age of five under his grandfather and he made his stage debut at the age of eight. He is a disciple of  his uncle, the legendary T R Mahalingam (Mali). N Ramani, along with Mali, brought international attention to the Carnatic flute, both in their own distinct flute playing techniques.

 In 1996, he gained the most prestigious title award in Carnatic music — Sangeetha Kalanidhi — awarded by the Music Academy in Chennai. He introduced the duet flute concerts and has founded the Ramani Academy of Flute to promote the Carnatic flute to anyone who is interested in learning, regardless of age.
The double album is a compilation of some of Ramani’s best live concerts. Volume 1 begins with a varanam, ‘Pankajakshi’ by Mahavaidyanatha Iyer (Kamboji — Adi) followed by Tyagaraja’s short composition, ‘Aparadhamulanu’ (Rasali — Adi) and Appar Thevaram’s ‘Vaananai’ (Keervani). The album ends with Muthuswamy Diskshitar’s longish composition of over 30 minutes, ‘Sri Krishnam’ (Todi — Adi).
Volume 2 has Tyagaraja’s ‘Katajudumi’ (Vachaspati — Adi) followed by a longer composition ‘Unmai Arindavar (Kapi — Adi — Ragam Tanam Pallavi). There are short compositions by Bharatiyar, Annamacharya and two Purandaradasa compositions. The album ends with a short tillana. Ramani is accompanied by T S Veeraraghavan on the violin and Tanjore Upendran on the mridangam.

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