Neyveli Ramalakshmi

Today will introduce a wonderful artist – Smt.Neyveli Ramalakshmi. Smt.Neyveli Ramalakshmi is an accomplished Carnatic vocal musician. Ramalakshmi is a perfect balance of beautiful voice that is rich in “bhava”, in depth knowledge of Carnatic Music specially the “swara” and “raaga” knowledge, and human values.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Ramalakshmi on her background, and there started a wonderful reminiscing journey into the streets of small town near Chennai, India called Neyveli.

Ramalakshmi’s childhood was in this town of Neyveli, and she started training from her Guru, her mother Smt.Trichy S.Premavathy, a veteran Carnatic Vocalist. Ramalakshmi’s “Guru Shishya” lineage is illustrated below –

Under her mother’s mentoring, Ramalakshmi learnt music from a very young age. Having Carnatic Music in her genes, and having grown with constant exposure to Carnatic music, Carnatic music came naturally for Ramalakshmi. 

Rama as she is lovingly called by her friends, recalls an interesting childhood incident. Her first stage performance was at the young age of 3 at a Kannada Association singing event. Rama being only 3 was not eligible to sing as per the rules of the event. But the musician in her, wanted to perform and the judges let her participate. She sang the Kannada Dasara Pada – “Taarakka Bindige”. The interesting part was that she had her back to the stage, and insisted that she operate the Shruti Box (drone instrument) on her own. She won a prize for her song, and till today treasures that reward.”

Ramalakshmi later received training in Chennai from Sri.O.S.Thyagarajan. Ramalakshmi is an expert in “Thevaram” & “Thiruvasagam”, ancient Pann-based songs on Lord Shiva, which she imbibed from Sri.Ramachandra Oduvar. She constantly advanced herself, by focusing on learning new concepts from various teachers like Sri.Palghat Rajamani Iyer(Son of Palghat Mani Iyer) and Ms.Padma Srinivasan. She is currently learning from Sri.Neyveli Santhanagopalan.

After she moved to the United States, Ramalakshmi started her own music school in the USA by the name of Sukadhwani ( Having taught hundreds of students, she feels very proud that her students are now masters in their own rights. They continue to excel in the field of Carnatic Music, and perform in various concerts in the USA. They also teach Carnatic Music, thereby contributing in keeping the Semmagudi style of music alive. 

Significant Achievements:

  • Performed in various prestigious musical events in and around Chennai, India at a very young age – Chembai Sangeetholsavam, Sri Kapali Fine Arts , Shastry Hall, Nungambakkam Cultural Academy – Mylapore, Narada Gana Sabha – Karur, Sivakasi Arts Club – Sivakasi and Vani Vilasa Sabha – Kumbakonam to name a few.
  • Selected by various music academies -Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Manram, V.D.S. Arts Academy to name a few.
  • Was awarded the title of “Pannisai Selvi” by The Panniru Thirumurai Valarchi Kazhagam.
  • Released Albums on Thevaram and Thiruvasagam and on Devotional Songs.
  • Ramalakshmi had the honor of recording a song for Manirathnam movie “Alaipayuthe”. She is one of the playback singers for the very popular song  “Alaipayuthe Kanna” for which the living legend A.R.Rahman has composed the music.

  • Appeared in various interviews and musical performances on Vijay TV, Sun TV, and Shankara TV, India
  • She performed in various concerts in the United States –Arsha Vidya Gurukulam Concert in PA, Sharadamba Temple in PA, the prestigious Cleveland Tyagaraja Aradhana, Karya Siddhi Hanuman Temple in Dallas, DFW Hindu Temple to name a few. 

Thoughts on future of Carnatic Music

Ramalakshmi feels that Carnatic Music is in great hands for the future generations. She feels that the current generations and the younger generations are well equipped to continue to spread the light of Carnatic Music throughout the world.

Youtube link for a sample concert:

Ramalakshmi currently resides in Dallas area, USA. She teaches Carnatic Music locally or via skype for her New Jersey students and performs in full fledged concerts in the DFW area as well as nationwide.  She continues to perform in Chennai, India during the December music season. She regularly conducts workshops for children in India and United States. 

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