Kronos’ Fifty for the Future Composers

Kala Ramnath - India/USA

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About Amrit

Video: Kala Ramnath demonstrates and discusses key techniques for Amrit, the piece she wrote for Kronos' Fifty for the Future.

Kala Ramnath and arranger Reena Esmail provide performance notes and backing track information for Amrit below.

For players who choose not to or are unable to access the iTablaPro app, click here to download Kronos' backing track in various practice and performance tempos.

Kala Ramnath provides resources

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Amrit Videos

Program Notes

About Amrit, Ramnath writes:

“This composition was created keeping in mind that it should appeal to every type of listener, giving joy and happiness to whomever listens to it. For this, the major scale in Western Classical music was chosen, which I felt would relate to both the Western and Indian Classical genres.

“Its counterpart in Indian Classical Music is Raga Shudh Nat. Ragas literally mean, ‘that which colors the mind.’ Though there are many Indian ragas with the major scale, what distinguishes one from the other is their ascending and descending rule of note patterns. I have incorporated the ornamental Indian slides and glides touching upon the microtones and repetitive rhythmic non-linear patterns so special to Indian classical music, giving it a unique sound and feel.

“When this tune came to me, it took over my mind for days. I was humming it constantly. It sounded like a very joyful and happy tune to me. In Sanskrit, ‘amrit’ means ‘nectar.’ I hope this Amrit gives the same joy and happiness to everyone who listens to it.”

Kala Ramnath's Amrit , arranged by Reena Esmail, was commissioned as part of the Kronos Performing Arts Association’s Fifty for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire, which is made possible by a group of adventurous partners, including Carnegie Hall and many others.

About Kala Ramnath

Grammy-nominated violinist Kala Ramnath has been recognized as one of the 50 best instrumentalists in the world by Songlines Magazine, the same publication who selected her album Kala as one of the 50 best recordings of the world. The first Indian violinist to be featured in The Strad, Ramnath has also been featured in Hollywood soundtracks, including in the Oscar-nominated Blood Diamond.

Born into a family of prodigious musical talents, Ramnath began her violin studies with her grandfather, Vidwan A. Narayan Iyer, before going on to study with legendary vocalist Pandit Jasraj. During this mentorship, Ramnath 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.”

Ramnath has performed at all the major music festivals in India, as well as at several stages throughout the world, including the Sydney Opera House, London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, and New York’s Carnegie Hall. She has also been known to forge musical alliances with renowned artists from different genres around the globe, incorporating elements of Western Classical, Jazz, Flamenco, and traditional African music into her rich and varied repertoire.

As a performer, Ramnath has shared the stage with such musicians as Ustad Zakir Hussain, Kai Eckhart, Edgar Meyer, Béla Fleck, Abbos Kosimov, and rock legend Ray Manzarek of The Doors. As a teacher, she lectures regularly and conducts workshops around the world, such as at the Rotterdam Conservatory of Music in the Netherlands, University of Giessen in Germany, and the Weill Institute in association with Carnegie Hall in New York.

Out of her several recordings, Kala and Samvad were “Top of the World” in the charts of 2004, Yashila in 2006, and Samaya in 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, Ramnath is keen to enrich the lives of under-privileged and sick children through music in the form of her foundation, “Kalashree.”

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