The master of her Kala

Published: Dec 05, 2012, 07:14 IST | Urmimala Banerjee |

Violin virtuoso Kala Ramnath loves jazz, flamenco and Bollywood with the same passion as Hindustani classical music.

The lady, who is set to perform tomorrow at a music concert instituted by late Pandit CR Vyas, gets talking about music with CS:

Kala Ramnath
Who: Kala Ramnath
What: On her musical journey with the violin 
PIC/ santosh nagwekar

Down memory lane
Pandit CR Vyas was very fond of me. My first association with him was in the 1980s when I was playing at a concert in Delhi. I was a little girl then (smiles). Unfortunately, the accompanying tabla player didn’t understand my scale, so when I told him to raise it a little, he just doubled the tempo. So, I had to stop mid-way and start my rendition all over again. At the end of it, I was a little upset but when Panditji came up on the stage to felicitate me, he told me that I was right in stopping the concert and starting all over again. He was always encouraging of my talent and asked me to accompany him on tours. In 2001, I had done a piece on Puriya Dhanashree, which he loved. Post that, whenever he met me he would talk about it.

Freezing but fun
I recollect one concert in Jalandhar in winter. The temperature was zero degrees and I was on stage dressed in a sari. Now, I can’t wear a sweater or jacket over my blouse, as I need to rest my violin on my collarbone. The show went off well, but I was numb at the end of it. Once I got down from the stage,
I grabbed all my woollens.

The videshi touch
Contrary to the popular notion of the violin being a sad instrument, it is a happy one. Four Seasons by Vivaldi is such a happy composition, it has a montage of emotions. I have seen people dancing to my music in the US and Europe. In fact one of my students, Eyvind Kang, one of the best known names in new age music has done a waltz piece, Sweetness of Candy, which has a Aalaaap of Bilaskhani Todi and Komal Rishabh Asavari. I have also played the violin with flamenco guitarists like Eduardo Niebla and Paco De Lucia.

Where’s the music?
The violin is a new entrant in Hindustani classical music; it is only 150 years old. I feel sorry to see that India is lacking in culture. In a small country like Venezuela, it’s the government that runs programmes in slums and teaches music to the kids. The kids are getting good education, etiquette and acquiring a good ear for music. Gustavo Dudamel, the music director of Los Angeles Philharmonic is a product of this system. In Hungary, the kids have hundred per cent music literacy as they are taught from the age of two.  

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