The man and the musician…

Pandit Ramesh Narayan has the unique distinctions of being one of the few vocalists from Kerala who has already carved a niche for himself in Hindustani music. Years of untiring, hard labour and abundant inborn talent have helped him scale the formidable heights of this art.

Humble Beginnings:

Born and brought up in Koothuparambu, a village in the district of Kannur in Kerala, in a family of Carnatic musicians, Ramesh Narayan had his early lessons in music from his parents. His father Narayan Bhagavathar was a well-known musician of those days and his mother Narayani Amma was blessed with priceless Swarashuddhi (Purity of Swar). The musical ambience in Rameshji’s family during his early childhood left a lasting impression on him and he, as a child, yearned to learn more and continued his training in Carnatic music up to the age of twenty years.

While he was a student at the Music College, Chittoor, he was deeply drawn to Hindustani music and decided to dedicate himself to mastering it. Moving to Pune, he learnt Sitar under the tutelage of Shri. Satchidananda Phadke, a renowned disciple of the Sitar Maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar. Becoming a competent Sitarist in no time, Shri. Ramesh Narayan found himself captivated by Hindustani vocal. He joined the Akhil Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya and earned his “Visharad” with high distinction. He felt entranced by the passionately evocative style of Parampoojya Guruji, Padma Vibhushan, Sangeeth Martand, Pandit Jasraj ji and resolved to hone his talent and technique under the Mewati Gharana Maestro. Pandit Jasraj trained him rigorously in the subtler aspects of music in the traditional Gurukula style. Shri Ramesh Narayan has accompanied Guruji at several concerts.

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Unique Musical Attributes:

Blessed with a soulful and sonorous voice, which traverses masterfully over all  four and a half octaves, Ramesh Narayan’s vocalizing is characterized by a harmonious blend of the classic and  opulent elements projecting traditional music as an intense spiritual expression, at once chaste and yet densely coloured. This gives his music a unique and sublime emotional quality, reaching out to the very soul of the listener.

Perfect diction, clarity in sur (musical notes), and gayaki (creative musical progression), command in all aspects of laya and rhythm, depth of composition and an unmistakable interplay between notes and words to evoke the desired mood and emotion, are the hallmark of Ramesh Narayan’s music. This sensitivity, added to the pure classical approach, has given his singing a lyrical quality, the quintessential of the Mewati tradition of singing.

Music and Beyond:

Ramesh Narayan has contributed a lot towards promoting Hindustani classical Music (Khayal gayaki) in Kerala through his Classical and film compositions.
In an attempt to popularize Hindustani Music in Kerala, he also composed and sung several Swathi Thirunnal Hindustani verses in proper Khayal style of Mewati Gharana which was not originally structured with proper notations.
Ramesh Narayan also founded a Hindustani Gharana in South India, the Mewati-Swati Gharana with its own distinct aesthetic and stylistic views and practices under the guidance of pt. Jasraj and with the support of Kerala Government.

The Gharana is an offshoot of the Mewati Gharana and acquired its name as a mark of respect and admiration for the musical genius of Maharaja Swati Thirunnal Rama Varma, who is credited with composing over 400 compositions in Carnatic music as well as Hindustani Music. In fact, after learning about master composer Swathi Thirunnal, Padma Vibhushan Pandit Jasraj was so impressed and he guided Pandit Ramesh Narayan to found Mewati Swati Gharana in South India with the aim of popularizing Swathi Thirunnal’s rarely sung Khayals, on 18th April 2008, with the presence and permission of the Cultural Minister of Kerala during the Maharaja Swathi Thirunnal Award Ceremony.

He is also the Founder of the Pandit Motiram Narayan Sangeet Gurukul, an organization formed primarily to achieve the objective of:-

• To foster leaning and appreciation of Hindustani Classical Music in Kerala.
• Popularizing all genres of Indian Music around the globe
• To imparts valuable training and insights to many discerning students.
• Promoting extraordinary young talents of all forms of music
• Providing medical aid to needy musicians, lyricists and their dependents.

The school which upholds the spirit of the ethnic Gurukul education system aims at grooming Khayal singers in Mewati Gharana style of Hindustani Classical Music and is successful in preparing them for the various All India Examinations in Hindustani Classical music conducted by Akhil Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalay Mandal, Mumbai.

It has been offering free stay, education and training to the economically backward young talents since then. In an attempt to popularize and promote this style of music, it has been conducting several public concerts and workshops on Hindustani music.

The school also holds the privilege of being the only school in South India belonging to the Mewati Gharana style of Hindustani Music. Today, over 300 students are appearing Akhil Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalay Mandal examination every year under this institution.

These are unprecedented initiatives in the history of Indian music that have immortalized his name during his lifetime.

  • Kerala State Film Awards, 2015 – Best Music Director for the film ‘Ennu Ninte Moideen’ & ‘Edavappathy’
  • Kerala State Film Awards, 2014 – Best Music Director for the film ‘White Boys’
  • Indian Music Academy Award for popularizing Hindustani Music in Kerala from the Honarable President of India Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
  • ‘Pt. Appa Jalgaonkar Smruti Sangeet Award’- 2015 by Sanvadini Kala Manch, Pune.
  • Limca book of National records 2013, for completing 24 hour raga cycle in accordance to the ’samay siddhant’.
  • Title Nadha Kala Nipuna-2013’ by Ravindran School of Music, Chennai for his outstanding contribution to the world of music.
  • Title of ‘Sangeet Mahayogi’ by Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma Foundation , on the occasion of 17th Gurupoornima Celebrations of Pandit Motiram Narayan Sangeet Vidyalay, at Levy Hall,Sree Krishnavilasom Palace, Trivandrum, Kerala, held 28th of July, 2012
  • Kerala State Television Awards 2012 for Best Music Director, for his music score for the short film ‘Choodu’.
  • “Kerala Sangeet Natak Academy Award” 2012 for Indian Classical Music.
  • “Pt. Bhimsen Joshi Puraskar” from Bharathiya Vidyalaya India 2011
  • “Sangeetha Puraskar” received by the Arts and Cultural Movment Of India – July 2008
  • Kerala State Television Awards -2006
  • Kerala State Film Critics Award 2006 for Best Music Director
  • Sree Chakra Puraskar 2006.
  • Prem Nazir Foundation TV Awards for Best Music Director 2006
  • Kerala State Film Awards, 2006 – Best Music Director for the film ‘Rathri Mazha’
  • Virtuoso Award 2005 Chennai.
  • Kerala State Film Awards 2005 Best Background Music scorer for the film ‘Saira’.
  • Film Audience Award, 2005 Best Music Director for his work on films ‘Sheelabati’ and ‘Makallkku’.
  • Kerala State TV Award 2004 ‘The Best Music Director Award’ for ‘RAGARDHAM’ programme conducted by Doordarshan kendra”.
  • Virtuoso Award, Chennai 2005.
  • Kerala State Film Critics & Television Award for the year 2003.
  • Nominated for the Raj Kamal Academy of Cinematic Excellence (Race National Award) known as V. Santharam Award,Mumbai.
  • 25th Kerala State Film Critics Award for Best Music Director for the film- “Megha Malhar” for the year 2002.
  • Kerala State Film Critics Award for Television award 2002 for the Television serial “Devaranjini”
  • Mathrubhumi Medimix Film Award for the year 2001.
  • John Abraham Award 2001.
  • Soma Award for the year 2000.
  • Kerala State Television Award for the year 2000.
  • Honoured with the title- “Nada Chinthamani” in the year 1998 for his meritorious service to the cause of music.
  • Centre for Media Studies Buddha Award for the year 1998.
  • Akashavani Annual Award for the year 1997.

o Swaralaya Puraskar 2016
o Acharya Varishtata’ title from Pandit Jasraj Institute Newyork- New Jersey on 10th july 2011 by Sangeet Martand PadmaVibhushan Sri. Pandit Jasraj.
o ‘Imagine India 2011 International Award’for Best Music Director for the film Veettilekullavazhi.
o ‘Madrid International Award’2011 for Best Music Director for the film Veettile kullavazhi.
o “Imagine India 2011 International Award”for Best Music Director for the film Veettilekullavazhi.
o “Taan Samrat Award”from Bhavalaya Muscat 2011
o “Leadership Award”from cultural Education Center ,New Jersey,United States-August 2009
o ‘Goldenchakra International Award’ from madrid film festival Spain as the best music director for the film Paradesi – July 2008.
o “Sangeet Samraat” Award from Shikshayatan Cultural Center, Newyork – September 2008

  • Nominated to the Guinness Book of world records on October 8, 1994 for singing continuously for 30 hour concert at the Soorya Dance & Music Festival 1994, Thiruvananthapuram.
  • Sang and directed songs like ‘Saur Mandal Mein Tim Tim’ for national integration, produced by Jnanpith Laureate, Shri. M.T. Vasudevan Nair for Lok Seva Sanchar Parishad.
  • Director and Founder of Pandit Motiram Narayan Sangeeth Vidyalay, Kerala, the only Vidyalay in South Asia under Mewati Gharana.
  • A staff artiste of All India Radio, Kannur. Composed music for a number of films like “Gharshom”, “Elayum Mullum”, “Magrib”, “Megh Malhar”, “Makalkku”, “Anyar”, “Sheelabati” directed by well-known directors.
  • Honoured by Parampoojya Guruji, Pandit Jasraj ji, at the Pandit Motiram Maniram Musical Festival, Hyderabad, November, 1994.
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