Culture: Devoted to a family tradition

Picture: Geoff Jones

Picture: Geoff Jones

Kellyville singer Krishna Ramarathinam is fast becoming a leading name in Indian classical music.

Since the age of four, the 28-year-old IT engineer has trained rigorously in the Carnatic musical tradition of southern India, honing his art under the tutelage of gurus of the genre.

Schooled over Skype each week by professional Indian musicians, including the protege of the late Indian musician known as SSI — Krishna's grandfather — Mr Ramarathinam is clearly devoted to his art.

"I come from a very musical family," Mr Ramarathinam said. "Listening to my grandfather's old gramaphone recordings when I was growing up, I thought, 'wow, there's a lifetime of learning in this'.

"Now I'm working through the day and singing during the night."

In the past seven years, he has performed in India more than 50 times, mostly in the city of Chennai during a Carnatic music festival.

In Australia, he regularly performs during the Sydney Music Festival, at charity events and classical dance productions. During Hindu religious festivals he has performed at Sydney temples including at Westmead's Murugan temple and at Minto.

"A lot of this music is about gods and also examines the beauty of people," he said. "It's very devotional and very emotional."

Mr Ramarathinam, who also plays the traditional veena and mridangam instruments, said he was keen to bring Indian classical music to a wider audience, collaborate with western musicians and create fusion sounds.

"I'm happy to do performances for charity and to help promote the art form," he said. "I want to devote a great amount of time for the rest of my life to Indian classical music."

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