Accomplished veena and vocal artist GEETHA RAMANATHAN BENNETT is dedicated to continuing the tradition of her guru and father Sangeetha Kalanidhi DR. S. RAMANATHAN. Geetha has performed extensively in India, the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, and Singapore. She was the first veena player to perform in Hong Kong and has appeared in many prestigious venues and series.
She has been awarded the highest rank, “A Top” for veena performance by All India Radio/TV for the last ten years. Her performances have been broadcast by Indian National T.V., All India Radio, the Singapore Broadcasting System, and Malaysian Television.
Her experiments with the fusion of Indian classical music and western styles began in the mid 1990’s when she was invited to perform as a veena soloist in selections of ‘Scheherazade’ with the Colgate University Orchestra and conductor Dr. William Skelton in Hamilton, New York.
Other fusion projects have included a major tour of Europe and the U.S. with percussionist Trilok Gurtu’s world music ensemble ‘The Glimpse’. Geetha has also performed both as a veena player and vocalist on guitarist Andy Summers’ fusion album ‘Peggy’s Blue Skylight’ showcasing compositions of jazz bassist Charles Mingus.
Geetha sang on the Marc Rossi Group’s critically acclaimed new CD “Hidden Mandala,” released in 2008. Her Carnatic improvisations, and melodic enhancement of Rossi’s jazz and Indian influenced compositions led one critic to comment: “…this is truly global fusion.” A second CD by the group is scheduled for released later in 2009.
Her vocal rendition of ‘Mokshamugalada’ composed by Saint Thyagaraja and arranged by Dr. Frank Bennett has been released by Oxford University Press in the book, ‘Music in South India’ by Dr. T. Viswanathan and Dr. Matthew Harp Allen.
Geetha sang for the Hollywood feature film ‘The Guru’ and her veena can be heard in the Imax film ‘Everest’. She played the veena and sang in the musical production ‘The Creation’ (score composed by Jeff Atmajian), which was performed in the Crystal Cathedral, Costa Mesa, California in 2006.
Geetha was awarded the ‘Best Veena player of the season’ by Indian Fine Arts Society in December 2008 and by Narada Gana Sabha, Chennai in December 2006. She has received the Dr.Padmavati Ammal Endowment Prize and the Chellapally Ranga Rao Award endowed by Sri Chitti Babu for her veena concert at the Madras Music Academy.
She has been recorded by Oriental Records, New York; Sangita Asian Music Society, California; AVM Audios; Sangeetha Cassettes; and Inreco, India. In addition to her musical activities Geetha has established herself as an accomplished short story writer in the Tamil language. She has had more than one hundred publications.
One of her stories has received the prestigious ‘Ilakkiya Chindanai’ award. She is honored to have her short story ‘Viddiyaasam’ included in a collection of major Tamil writers edited by famous author Mrs. Shivasankari.