Sitar Siva Ramakrishna Rao - Sitarist and Composer



B. Sivaramakrishna Rao is a musical genius to reckon with in Chennai. A child prodigy with tuneful genes, he has built on natural musical endowments to evolve into a multifariously talented performer and composer. A master of the queen of musical instruments, the Sitar, he plays Thyagaraja kritis with as much panache as a Hindustani Gat. This enables him to accompany an Padma Vibhushan Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna with the same verve and ease as he would entrance the audience of Hindustani Music. His playing is marked by a perfect balance of gayaki vocal and tantrikari (instrumental) styles. Added to this consummate mastery of the two great idioms of Indian classical music, he has a yen for fusion music and has teamed up with doyens of Carnatic music like Thavil Maestro Haridwaramangalam A.K.Palanivel and Legendary Mridangam Vidwan Guru Karaikudi Mani with whom he toured Australia for Melbourne Arts Festival and performed with Australian Art Orchestra. His roots in Carnatic music have been strengthened by his tutelage under the eminent violinist Kanyakumari and his brothers. Sivaramakrishna figures prominently in the music group ‘PRANAVAM’ with his four brothers: B.V. Balasai – flute; B.V. Raghavendra – violin; B. Ganesh Rao – Tabla and B. Subba Rao – ghatam. The Basavaraju brothers have made quite a few waves.

Sivaramakrishna has come a long way since he began learning the rudiments of music at the age of seven from his musician father B. Sudarshana Rao, who raised all his five kids in a musical milieu. The creative ambience at home enabled Sivaramakrishna opt for his instrument at an early age. He got trained rigorously under Pandit Subba Rao, a reputed Sitar and Rudra Veena exponent. The most defining moment of Sivaramakrishna’s musical growth was his tutelage under Ustad Ahmad Hussain Khan, an exponent of the Mian Achpal Gharana which is known for lyrical beauty in the slower movements and purity with clarity of tone in the swifter passages. Sivaramakrishna takes pride in tracing his sitar playing lineage from Ustad Bundu Khan Saheb, father of Ustad Ahmad Hussain and a legendary master of Hindustani music. He is presently learning from Smt. Anupama Bhagwat, One of the leading disciples of  Pandit Shri Bimalendu Mukherjee, doyen of the Imdadkhani Gharana.

 Sivaramakrishna found honors coming his way even as a youngster. He was awarded   ‘child prodigy of the year’ (1990) by the Governor of Tamil Nadu (Madras Telugu Academy’s Ugadi Puraskar) and was complimented by the then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao. Since then he has become a continent-hopping Sitarist performing to universal approbation. On stage, he is a vivacious musician who regales his audience while maintaining high standards of classicism. Maestros like Lalgudi Jayaraman and K.J. Yesudas have enlisted his talent and have acclaimed his work. Music critics of premier publications like The Hindu & Times of India have hailed his sitar playing and creativity.

A thinking musician, Sivaramakrishna is proving himself as a composer too. Composing music for a wide range of musical styles, Sivaramakrishna has an enviable repertoire of albums to his credit. ‘Classical Fusion’, ‘Carnatic in Sitar’, ‘Spa Music albums are some of his creations that would vouch for his creative abilities. A natural verve for music and a creative mind that seeks to expand its horizons bid fair to take Sivaramakrishna to great heights.

Smt Aruna Sivaramakrishna supports him in accomplishing his great musical mission. Sivaramakrishna and Aruna have together conceived and Directed a highly successful ‘Learn to Play’ video series taking musical instruments closer to the people. Reputed musicians like Rupak Kulkarni (Bansuri), E.Gayatri (Veena), S.Sowmya (Carnatic vocalist), Dr. Ram Deshpande (Hindustani vocalist), Dr.Ravindra Katoti, (Harmonium), Udayraj Karpoor (Tabla). U.P. Raju (Mandolin), E.R.Janardan (Saxophone), V.Umashanker (Ghatam), to name a few, have collaborated with them in the series, which has received appreciation from the likes of Sri Vikku Vinayakram and Sri Kadri Gopalnath. Sivaramakrishna and Aruna have also brought out premium videos on Ayurveda.

Creative Collaborations:

# Teamed up with Thavil maestro Haridwaramangalam A.K. Palinivel to execute rare combination of sitar with Sax, Flute, Violin,  Nadaswaram and Vocal.

# Toured Europe with violinist Smt. Kalpana Venkat for Jugalbandhi concerts in programmes organized by Triveni of Paris.

# Played with Canadian guitarist Nadaka in the Maha Mela festival in Singapore.

# Performed under the baton of Violin Maestro and composer Lalgudi Jayaraman in the mega Carnatic Classical even Sunada Pravaham in the Singapore Arts Festival held at Victoria Hall in 2004.

# Toured Europe with the Basavaraju Brothers and Canadian Guitarist Nadaka.

Scintillating Sitar:

*First Sitarist to perform in the Kuwait TV Channel in 1998 August 14 on the eve of Indian Independence Day golden jubilee celebrations.

*Toured South Africa and Mauritius in 2002 under the aegis of Indian Academy of South Africa.

*Performed across Sri Lanka in 2005 in concerts organized by Rotary Club raising Tsunami funds

* Toured Singapore and Malaysia in 2007 for programmes organized by Singapore Fine Arts.Expanding horizons:

Toured Europe with Ateetam team in 2014 organized by Indo –German Association Munich.

Toured Singapore in the year 2015 with Ateetam Team organized shanbhagha vinayaka temple..

Toured Srilanka in the year 2015 by Basavaraj Brothers

Composed Music for

  • Kuchipudi DVD ‘Sri Venkateswara Vaibhavam’ - Super Audio
  • ‘Azhagan Murugan’ album of Mahatma Gandhi Institute, Mauritius
  • ‘Panchakshari’ -  DVD -  Moserbaer.
  • ‘Music from India’ - Geethanjali records
  • Anuraagamallika a devotional album dedicated to Guru Sivananda Murthy Bheemli, Vishakapatnam
  • Saranam Guru Charanam, Sanathana Dharma Trust, Vizag.
  • SPA sounds for Peace, Tranquility, Harmony, Sensuousness, Bliss, Revitalize & Healing - Super Audio Company.
  • Spiritual Music Of India, Healing Ragas, Meditation Ragas & Kamasutra Music - Super Audio Company
  • Composed Music for a very Unique Project named “ ESSENCE OF LIFE”  - A REVOLUTION IN MUSIC & DANCE. This project is based on the profound teachings of a World’s greatest Philospher Jiddu Krishnamurthy.
  • Composed music  for the Albums “ DHYAN MUSIC, KARMIC HEALING, MUSIC FROM HIMALAYAS , MUSIC FROM TAJMAHAL & MUSIC FROM RISHIKESH” – Super Audio.

       Has played numerous recordings for all the reputed Music Directors, to name a few   Devi Sri Prasad, Vidya Sagar, Selva Ganesh etc.,

Albums played…

“Dr Balamurali krishnas” [Jayadeva  Ashtapadis , Bhadrachala Ramadas Sankeerthanams,  Krithis on Lord  Shiva etc for Sangeetha Live Cassettes & Records .

“Living Colours”-Rain Tree Records ,
“Music to the Rekhi” [ Sneham] – Super Audio.
 Silken Strings [ Veena & Sitar Jugalbandhi] Sagar Audios Bangalore.
"Music From India” [Sravanam]- Geethanjali Records ,
“Yakshas Classical Fusion”-Super Audio,
 Sitar & Sax [Fusion Album]
“ Namaste” Hindustani Classical- Geethanjali Records,
“FOCUS” Sai Bhajans in Sitar- Saican co., Canada.
“Carnatic In Sitar”- RPG Saregama,

 Spiritual Music Of India, Healing Ragas, Meditation Ragas & Kamasutra Music - Super Audio Company

“ Essence of life”  by Dega Arts.
Ateetam  “Incredible India” – Super Audio
Ateetam  “Spirit of India”  -   Super Audio

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