Grammy nominated for her 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 in music, frequently featured in Hollywood soundtracks including the Oscar nominated “Blood Diamond” and many more such recognitions, Maestro Kala Ramnath with her ‘Singing Violin’ stands among the best instrumentalists of the world.
Born into a family of prodigious musical talent, which has given Indian music such violin legends as Prof. T.N. Krishnan and Dr. N. Rajam, Kala’s genius with the violin manifested itself during her childhood. Recognizing her innate talent, her astute grandfather, Vidwan A. Narayan Iyer took her under his tutelage. Thus began her journey on the road to astounding renown and acclaim worldwide.
She then went on to become a pre-eminent disciple of the legendary vocalist Pandit Jasraj. During this mentorship Kala revolutionized the violin technique and produced a sound so unique, evocative and akin to classical Indian vocal music that today her violin is called ‘The Singing Violin’.
Today a virtuoso of staggering proportions, Kala 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.
Kala is at the vanguard of the present generation of Indian instrumental super-stars. Due to her rigorous training in the classical tradition she comfortably forges musical alliances with artists of renown from different genres around the globe incorporating elements of Western Classical, Jazz, Flamenco and traditional African music into her rich and varied repertoire.
“…If Mozart had been transported to the South Asian subcontinent, this is what he and improvised Western classical music might have sounded like. This comparison is not thrown in to befuddle or impress. Kala Ramnath is a musician of giant like qualities…” Ken Hunt in the Jazz Wise magazine review of September 2004.
Kala is a sought after artist to work and experiment with orchestras like the London Symphony and London Philharmonic and world music legends like Ustad Zakir Hussain, Kai Eckhart, Edgar Meyer, Bela Fleck, Terry Bozzio, Abbos Kossimov, Ayrto Moriera, Giovanni Hidalgo and rock legend Ray Manzarek of the Doors to name a few.
‘Raga Afrika’, ‘Global Conversation’ and recently ‘Elements’ are all bands Kala has founded along with her fellow world music artists.
Along with being a stellar performer, Kala is also a sought after teacher. She 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.
Her home country India’s Radio and Television bestowed upon her the ‘A Top’ grade performer on Kala; one of the youngest artists to have achieved this honour. She is the recipient of many awards, most notable among them being the ‘Rashtriya Kumar Gandharva Sanman’, ‘Pandit Jasraj Gaurav Puraskar’ and the ‘Sur Ratna’.
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. Most recently one of her compositions was featured in the Grammy winning album “In twenty seven encores”.
An established name in the world music scene, Kala today is keen to enrich the lives of under-privileged and sick children through music in the form of her foundation, ‘Kalashree’.