Dr Pantula Rama is an international singer, instrumentalist and author from India who performs Carnatic music. She was recognized as a child prodigy in music and has been performing since the age of 8. Composing music in intricate rhythms is considered to be her specialty. Known as Andhra’s Nightingale and Golden Voice, Pantula Rama lives in Vishakhapatnam and is married to violinist MSN Murthy.
Aruna Chandaraju wrote about her at Deccan Herrald, “The appeal of Dr Pantula Rama’s kutcheries is that the music is of a very high order. Her performances and work are known for chaste classicism, serenity, sobriety and technical perfection. Widely recognised as an outstanding vocalist of Carnatic music. Rama’s very melodious voice, effortless elucidation of ragas, her bhava-soaked rendition, technical skills, and immensely creative manodharma, taken along with a wide repertoire, endear her to rasikas.”
G Swaminathan reported at The Hindu, “Pantula Rama’s concerts always carry a gentle tone of authority coupled with melody.”
Venkatesan Srikanth also wrote about her, “Rama strikes a perfect balance in her knowledge of theory and aesthetic in practice of music.”
Early Life & Education
Pantula Rama was born to parents who are musicians themselves. Her father Pantula Gopala Rao is a trained violinist. On the other hand, her mother Padmavathi is a Veena player. Her father was her first teacher for music. However, she later underwent advanced training with Sangeeta Kalasagara Ivaturi Vijayeswara Rao. After finishing school, Pantula Rama obtained a seat for MBBS. However between medicine and music, she chose to become a professional musician. Eventually, she earned Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Music from Andhra University. Her Phd thesis at the same university titled A study of the shaping of an ideal musician through saadhana was published as a book by Gyan Publishers.
Pantula Rama has performed at various concerts and festivals.
- She performed at a concert in January 2009. V. Subrahamaniam wrote about her, “Exquisite music taste was in display in Rama’s raga alapana. Her imagination/manodharna gushed out as though the gates of a reservoir had been opened up, each sanchara revealing chaste Kalyani.”
- In 2011, she performed at Thyagaraya Ganasabha after being felicitated by Upasana (A cultural and literary organisation). Gudipoodi Srihari wrote about her, “She displayed an assertive voice and command on musical grammar.”
- Dr Pantula Rama performed at a concert in Chennai with her husband MSN Murthy and others. The Hindu wrote about her, “It requires immense skill, technical capacity, creative faculty of a high order and detailed knowledge of the lakshanas of ragas to effortlessly elucidate them.”
- She performed at the tenth edition of Indira Sivasailam Concert in October 2019. The Hindu wrote about her performance at the concert, “In this special concert, her complex and scholarly ragam-tanam-pallavi in Kalyani was the piece de re-sistance. It was composed to an intricate rhythm which was, indeed, Pantula Rama’s forte.”
In 2017, Dr Pantula Rama started an initiative called PaRa to raise awareness towards Carnatic music and to foster openness towards various genres of music. PaRa meant Para Tatvamu – The Supreme consciousness. Through this initiative, she collaborated with other like minded artists to organize events.
Pantula Rama is the recipient of various tiles including Gaana Kalaa Saraswathi, Isai Peroli, and Nada Vallabha.
- Best Musician, State Award from Government of Andhra Pradesh– Presented for the year 1996-97
- MS Subbulakshmi Award– conferred by Visakha Music Academy, 2010
- Outstanding Vocalist Award– conferred by XS Real organization, 2011
- Devi Women’s Award for Dynamism and Innovation– conferred by New Indian Express, 2015
- Senior Vocal Outstanding Pallavi Award, Outstanding Lady Vocalist– conferred by Madras Music Academy, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2018
- Indira Sivasailam Endowment Medal– Indira Sivasailam Foundation in collaboration with the Madras Music Academy, 2019
- Ragam Tanam Pallavi award from Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana Festival