Ranjani Ramachandran is a leading vocalist, teacher and researcher of Hindustani music. A unique voice in the world of Indian classical music, with impeccable training in the Khayal form of vocal music, she has emerged as a brilliant interpreter of past traditions with a contemporary approach towards music making. Endowed with a rich vibrant voice, a vast repertoire of compositions, coupled with immense dedication to her chosen vocation, Ranjani has earned wide acclaim for her performances, which are well known for their powerful exposition and highly melodic appeal. Trained in the Gwalior and Jaipur gharana gayakis, Ranjani is a versatile musician equally well versed in other forms such as Thumri, Dadra, Kajri and Chaiti. She is also well known for her soulful renditions of bhajans.
Initiated into music by her mother Vijaya, Ranjani has trained under master musicians of India and carries forward the legacy of her eminent gurus. Her formal training began under the tutelage of Pandit Kashinath Bodas from Kanpur, and subsequently continued under Vidushi (Dr.) Veena Sahasrabuddhe in Pune. In 2001, she was awarded a five-year resident scholarship at the prestigious ITC Sangeet Research Academy (SRA) in Kolkata, with Padmashri Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar as her guru. While at SRA, she also received guidance from the famed Thumri exponent Padmavibhushan Vidushi Girija Devi.
Awards & Recognition
Ranjani has been recognized with numerous distinguished awards and honours. She received the central government scholarship for young artistes in 1998, the Surmani award from Sur Singar Samsad, Mumbai in 2010 and the Pandit Ramkrishnabua Vaze Yuva Gayak Puraskar in 2013. Empanelled as a performing artiste for the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) since 2008, she is also a graded artiste of AIR (All India Radio) and Doordarshan. In 2006, she received the Charles Wallace Grant from the UK to conduct research on 'Advanced techniques of analysis in Khayal performance' at Durham University, UK. Ranjani is a PhD in music and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Hindustani Classical Music at Sangit Bhavana, Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan in West Bengal.
She has collaborated with ethnomusicologists in India and abroad and participated in inter- disciplinary projects with visual artistes. In 2016 she was a consultant and collaborator in 'Khyal: Music and Imagination', an inter-disciplinary project based in Durham University, UK. In 2018 she was a vocalist for the internationally acclaimed essay film 'O Horizon' directed by The Otolith Group, UK. In 2020 she also contributed to the soundscape of the installation exhibition ‘Ways of remembering Jallianwalah Bagh & Rabindranath Tagore’s response to the massacre’ curated by Sarmistha Dutta Gupta with artistic direction by Sanchayan Ghosh, held at Victoria Memorial, Kolkata.
Ranjani is regularly invited to conduct workshops on Hindustani music. She has lectured at institutions such as the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI) in Kolkata, Centre for Creativity at IIT Guwahati and SPIC MACAY (Society for the Promotion of Indian Culture and Music Amongst Youth), for which she conducted workshop demonstrations for government school children from Kota in Rajasthan and Siwan in Bihar.
In a career spanning more than two decades, Ranjani has been featured in prestigious music festivals across India, US and the UK. Selected performances include the Serendipity Arts Festival (Goa), MUSICON (Durham, UK), Vishnu Digambar Jayanti Samaroha (New Delhi), ITC SRA Sangeet Sammelan, Pandit Kumar Gandharva Smriti Samaroha (Dewas), SPIC MACAY, Chowdhury House Music Conference (Kolkata), Jadavpur University (Kolkata), Horizon Series ICCR, Chandigarh Sangeet Sammelan, Dakshini Sangeet Sammelan (Kolkata), Nehru Centre (London), Learnquest Academy (Boston), Basant-Bahar (California), Classical Arts Society (Houston), Higley Centre for Performing arts (Phoenix, Arizona), Sangeet Samrat Alladiya Khan Sangeet Samaroha (Mumbai), Khayal Rang, First Edition Arts (Mumbai), Past Present, First Edition Arts (Kolkata), Sur Sangam, IIT (Guwahati), Dadar Matunga Cultural Centre (Mumbai), Arpan Festival (India Habitat Centre, New Delhi), Jadunath Bhavan Museum and Resource Centre CSSS (Kolkata), Kalakshetra Art Festival (Chennai), Kala-Bhavana, (Visva Bharati, Santiniketan), Bharatiya Sangeet Vidyalaya (Dharwad), Riwaayat and Campus Concert series (Hyderabad), Sangeet Pratibha, Sangeet Natak Academy (Vishakhapatnam).
Ranjani combines an active career as a performing artiste with contributions towards dissemination of Hindustani music at various levels. She considers the multiple roles of a performer, pedagogue and researcher as mutually reinforcing. She is also passionate about environmental issues and often lends her voice in support of climate action including most recently at the Music 4 Climate Justice (M4CJ) streamed live during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland in November 2021. As a conscious and sensitive person, she believes in social justice and actively supports organizations working towards fundamental rights and free education.