Natesan Ramani commonly known as N. Ramani, born 15 October, 1934 is an Indian Carnatic flautist. N. Ramani was born in Tiruvarur in Tamil Nadu. Aside from the influence of his place of birth, Ramani was born into a musical family. Ramani’s grandfather, Sri Aazhiyur Narayanaswami Iyer, was his first guru and was a well known flute artist and singer himself. Aware of young Ramani’s keen interest in the Carnatic flute, Ramani’s initiation to Carnatic music began at the age of five.
He is a disciple of the legendary T. R. Mahalingam, known more commonly as “Mali,” who first popularised the Carnatic flute in Indian music. The birthplace of Ramani is symbolic in that Carnatic musicians consider Tiruvarur the sacred sanctuary of Carnatic music, being the birthplace of the “trinity” of Carnatic composers, Saint Tyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshitar and Syama Shastri who laid the foundation for the tradition.
Although Palladam Sanjeeva Rao was Sharaba Shastri’s successor, it was “Mali” and N. Ramani as well as K.S Narayanan (the first disciple of Mali), who brought international attention to the Carnatic flute both in their own distinct flute playing techniques, with the latter two improving on the former’s methods.
Bringing out more of the tradition Mali introduced in the playing of the Carnatic flute, Ramani’s distinctive style is the transformation of the Carnatic flute into the voice of a proficient Carnatic vocalist. Stressing such importance on the emphasis of vocal style of playing, he displayed characteristics of the human voice in his concerts often observed in his fast paced yet melodious performances.
According to Ramani, “Mali’s teaching methods were worth emulating. A good teacher should be open to learning from his students too. Mali learnt Aahiri raga from me, which I had learnt from T. Vishwanathan, Balasaraswathi’s brother”.
Awards & Titles
N. Ramani’s performances in All India Radio (AIR) have received numerous praises from renonwned Hindustani and Carnatic musicians alike and his performances overseas had been recognised with numerous awards.
Some of the highlights include the Sangeetha Kalanidhi, awarded by the Music Academy in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, the Sangeetha Acharya award from Wasser College, U.S., the honorary citizenship status in Maryland, Ohio, U.S., and the Padma Shri Award from the President of India. He holds an honorary Cultural Doctorate from The World University of Arizona.