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Boston area Carnatic singer crosses divide into contemporary pieces

Deepti Navaratna is the first Carnatic (South Indian classical) vocalist to apply her traditional training—with its emphasis on spontaneous creation and intricate ornamentation—to contemporary Western classical pieces. On KA (release: November 5th, 2013), Navaratna’s mesmerizing Raaga essays find new explorative vistas co-conspired by celebrated South Asian-heritage composer Sirish Korde. Written for carnatic soprano and instrumental ensemble, the work takes this Ka duality as its central idiom.

In the Vedas, Ka occupies both question and answer. Similarly, the song cycle explores the unifying duality of voice and instrument, percussion and melody, and, perhaps most prominently, a synthesis in the seemingly insurmountable differences in Eastern and Western music. In bridging two seemingly incompatible traditions, the singer finds poignant silences, delicate microtones, and spaces for improvisation.

“I love the contemplative yet adventurous edge to such music-making,” Navaratna says. “In exploring new frontiers for contemporary classical music, I am able to use my traditional wisdom more consciously and in a different yet purposeful quest for beauty through sound.”

Recognized by the Boston Globe for her 'particularly lovely and bewitching voice,’ Deepti Navaratna's music embodies a rare mix of classical wisdom, expressivity and virtuosity. Her long-standing immersion and training in South Indian Classical music under several gurus such as Rohini Manjunath and T.V Gopalakrishnan informs a musical persona that is deeply rooted in the South Indian classical idiom.

An empanelled artiste of All India Radio since 2000, she topped the All India Radio’s National Music competition twice in the categories of Carnatic and light classical music in 1999 and 2000. She was featured as a Youth Ambassador for the Arts at the prestigious National Youth Festival hosted by the Government of India in 1999 and 2001.

After moving to the United States, she has received several distinctions as a traditional musician such as Cambridge Arts Council Grant (2011), Emerging Artist Award from St.Botolph Foundation (2011) and the Traditional & Ethnic Arts Fellowship from the Utah Arts Council (2009). Her music has been featured at premiere performing spaces in the United States such as Asia Society (New York City), Symphony Space (New York City), Jordan Hall (Boston), Harvard Arts Museum (Cambridge), Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), Yale School of Music (New Haven, CT), and the Peabody Essex Museum (Salem) among others.

She is the artistic director of the Carnatic Alchemy Project which combines artistic and entrepreneurial activities towards re-presenting South Indian classical music for contemporary and mainstream audiences.

For more details on the artist, please visit