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Carnatic vocalist T.S. Ramaa no more

Renowned Carnatic vocalist T.S. Ramaa passed away in Bengaluru late on Monday night.

The 70-year-old musician, an A-Top grade artiste of All India Radio, taught music at APS College till she retired 10 years ago, and later joined Jain University, Bangalore, where she set up the postgraduate department in music.

R.K. Padmanabha, Carnatic vocalist, described her as a “Satwik musician” who dedicated her life to music with a spiritual bent of mind.

Trained under several gurus, Ramaa was known for her varied repertoire and penchant for learning till the end. “If a young student sang well, she would immediately want to learn the kriti from that person. Ramaa was always thirsting to learn,” recalled Mr. Padmanabha. When in Mysuru, she lived with guru V. Ramarathnam like his daughter. In the later years, she learnt from Jayam-Bhagyam, sisters of the late percussionist T.A.S Mani, and from Bangarpete Krishnamurthy. She also learnt from the late Seethalakshmi Venkatesan and L.S. Narayanaswamy Bhagavathar.

With a silky voice that had a malleable quality, she sang with devotion. Always on the path of tradition, ragas such as Punnagavarali, Kamach, Varali, and Bhairavi came alive in her voice. “She was a simple person and her music was simple and beautiful too,” says Chairman of Sangeeta Nritya Academy, musician Anoor Ananthakrishna Sharma. “Even in class, she was extremely honest and sincere,” recalls Mr. Sharma who was Ramaa’s student in APS College.

Echoing his opinion, Mr. Padmanabha said: “She never ventured into the unknown. She was meticulous and neat in her presentations.” Ramaa respected her fellow musicians and was always generous in complimenting them.

Ramaa never hankered for fame and publicity. “Not once did she complain that she never got her due. When I was chairman of the Sangeeta Nritya Academy as well as the Ganakala Parishath, we conferred awards on her. She was very happy that the honours came her way.” Her concerts, Mr. Sharma says, were like buffet lunches. They would have a wide variety catering to all kinds of audience tastes. Since she had been trained under several gurus, her repertoire was huge. She also had the ability to choose and plan her concerts appropriately.

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