Born: June 10, 1970 Primary Instrument: Percussion
Ravi Padmanabha is a percussionist, multi-instrumentalist, improviser/composer. His initial interest was in drum set which later led to a variety of world instruments. From an early age, Ravi was exposed to Indian Classical music. At age 18, he began his formal Tabla studies with Pandit Ananda Gopal, and later with Pandit Samar Saha of Calcutta. He then continued with Tabla Maestro Pandit Sharda Sahai. He worked for Trivini, an Indian Classical Music organization, which allowed him to meet and learn more about his rich musical heritage. While living in Buffalo Ravi spent many years performing in a wide variety of musical styles, including jazz, world, and experimental music. He has helped form many groups, such as Hylozoa with Steve Baczkowski on winds, Tala Rasa with Ron Locurto on guitar, and Omkara with Naryan Padmanabha on santoor and Aneal Padmanabha on guitar. Ravi has performed at Buffalo's Drum Day and Maelstrom Percussion Ensembles Master Drummers Program. In 1995 Ravi was diagnosed with a tumor in his ear called an Acoustic Neuroma. After successful removal of the tumor Ravi was left with little hearing in one ear. This condition has not hindered his musical ability,but has enhanced his awareness of sound and interaction with fellow musicians.
Since moving to NYC in August 2001, Ravi has performed in various groups including the Howling Makams, with Brandon Terzic and Tomchess. He has performed with many musicians including, Robert Dick, Willam Parker,Peter Kowald, Pauline Oliveros, Daniel Carter, Adam Lane, Blaise Siwula,Steve Swell and Bern Nix. Ravi has several unique recordings to his credit including MOORSING a CD that features compositions based mainly on the Moorsing (jaw harp/jews harp). In 2005 the Buffalo Suicide Prevention unit was formed with Mike Allard, Steve Baczkowski, Mike Hermanson, Leif Nicklas and Ravi Padmanabha. The units first release has captured the deep improvising history shared by all its members.
In 2005 Omkara has collaborated with Josh Geisler to create a live soundtrack for a Projectile Arts film titled Take me to the river.
In 2006 Ravi and fellow Buffalo Musicians performed in the William Parker Buffalo Orchestra which inaugurated the new Righteous Babe Records/Hallwalls performance space. Also in 2006 Ravi and NYC multi-instrumentalist Daniel Carter released Nivesana. Tom Chess and Ravi have recorded several Cds and have performed at the Rubin Museum of Tibetian Art (NYC)and the Museum of Natural History(NYC).
In 2008 Ravi and his two brothers created a sitar jam band called, “Family FUNKtion and the sitar jams”. They have released 2 CDs and continue to perform actively.
In 2010 William Parker formed the “Trance Quartet” with master double reed artist , Bill Cole with Steve Baczkowski and Ravi. The group has performed at Hallwalls and the John Coltrane Memorial concert series at Syracuse University.
In Indian Culture it is not uncommon for people to pursue such diverse fields as music and science. Besides music, Ravi has excelled in academics. He received a Doctorate of Dental Surgery, DDS in 1997 from the University at Buffalo Dental School.