Maragatham Ramaswamy was initiated into the art of Carnatic Music at a young age. She began her musical journey studying the violin from her earliest guru, Sri Trivandrum V Harihara Iyer. Subsequently, she began vocal lessons under the tutelage of Vidwan Tanjore S.Kalyanaraman, a direct disciple of the legendary G. N. Balasubramanian. It was from him that Maragatham honed her creative skills and developed a formidable repertoire. She joined the College of Carnatic Music, Adyar where she got the opportunity to learn both vocal music and violin from the immortal greats and Sangeetha Kalanidhis who were on the faculty at the time. She took vocal lessons from musicians par excellence such as Palghat K. V. Narayanaswamy, T. M. Thiagarajan, Ramnad Krishnan and B. Rajam Iyer and violin instruction from exponents such as Sri. Varahur Muthuswamy Iyer, Prof. T. N Krishnan, and Sri M. S. Anantharaman. She graduated from the Vidhwan course for vocal and violin. After graduation, she had the wonderful opportunity of private violin lessons from maestro Sri Lalgudi Jayarman.
Maragatham’s performances at the Music Academy, Sri Krishna Gana Sabha and the Indian Fine Arts Society in Chennai were very well received. Her “precise grasp of laya (rhythm) and exquisite sense of raga“ (Indian Express) were lauded. She received rave reviews from renowned music critics like Sri N. M. Narayanan (The Hindu) and the feared Subbudu who praised her sonorous voice and creativity. Maragatham gave vocal and violin performances at All India Radio, Chennai and toured several cities within India. Maragatham’s talents were recognized in the form of awards and titles from the Madras Music College, Music Academy’s Music Festival and Sri Krishna Gana Sabha. She received a Gold Medal for Outstanding Student from Sri R. Venkatraman, the President of India. Aspiring students started approaching her for vocal and violin lessons and other instrumentalists approached her for sharing her expertise and knowledge of music.
In the late 80s, after decades of living in Chennai, Maragatham and her family migrated to the United States. In 1987 she established the Ragamalika Music School in the DC Metro Area, which became a second home to scores of students of all age groups, crossing linguistic, religious and even national barriers.
Through her years of living in the United States, Maragatham has been an artiste, mentor, a teacher as well as a music consultant for public stage performances to American audiences. She was a music consultant for Terrence McNally’s “A Perfect Ganesha” performed at the Arena Stage in Washington D.C. Her performances at the Smithsonian Institution’s Sacred Sounds on the Mall, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the U.S. Army Base in Fort Belvoir, and Takoma Park Music festivals helped propagate Carnatic Music to international audiences. She was also featured in the Washington Post Online. Maragatham was blessed with the title of Sangeetha Acharya Ratnam by the Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt. She received the “Best Music Teacher” award from the Sivan Fine Arts Academy and the Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana Festival. Tamil Thenral Radio honored her for her outstanding contribution to Carnatic Music in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area. She received the Vishwayogi Vishwamji Foundation award for her contribution to propagating Carnatic music in the West.
With 34 years of dedicated service to music, the Ragamalika Music School showcases itself every year at its Annual Day Student Recital. This is a veritable feast for the students, parents and audience alike. It is a day of music, no doubt, but also a day for unity and solidarity through the finest of fine arts that is Carnatic music.
Usha started learning music at the age of five. Her first teacher was Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar with whom she learnt for about eight years. Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar who hails from Trivandarum, learnt music from a disciple of Harikeshanallur Muthaiah Bhagavatar. Usha later learnt from Anatharaman Bhagavatar. He is the grandson of Travancore Anantharaman Bhagavatar who was the Aastana Vidwan at the Court of the Maharajah of Mysore. Anantharaman Bhagavatar is the Aastana Vidwan of Sringeri Mattam, Mumbai, He founded the Naadabrahmam School of Music and later the Music Trust of Sri Naadabrahmam. The Sri Naadabrahmam Trust is doing yeoman service to propagate vocal Carnatic music and it endows titles every year to a prominent teacher in the field of music. Usha also passed the Carnatic Music Senior Vocal exam conducted by the Government of Karnataka, under the guidance of Anantharaman Bhagavatar.
Usha has continued to pursue music since 1999 under the guidance of Smt. Maragatham Ramaswamy who needs no introduction! Usha is an IT professional residing in Northern Virginia.
Lavanya started her music education at the age of six from Ms. Sukanya Vishwanathan in Mumbai, India. She later learnt from Sangeeta Kalanidhi Sri R. K. Srikantan who comes from a distinguished traditional family of musicians of Rudapatnam in Karnataka. A highly respected musician, Sri. R. K. Srikantan was made the Asthana Vidwan of Sri Venkateshwara Temple, Pittsburgh, in 1985 and has performed in concerts all over the world.
After moving to the US in 1997, Lavanya continued her learning of Carnatic music under the tutelage of Ms. Maragatham Ramaswamy. As part of the Ragamalika Music School, she has performed in various venues in the DC metro area including the Smithsonian, the US Capitol, the Siva Vishnu Temple in Maryland and more. Lavanya is an IT professional residing in Ashburn, Virginia.
Jaishree is a recipient of the National CCRT Music Scholarship, Govt of India and has 15+ years of teaching experience. She has an M.A. In Indian Music from the University of Madras, India, She is a 1st rank holder in the Karnataka State Senior Music Examination and State level concert competition. She won 1st place in the Ghazal category at SAARC. Jaishree is a 2023 recipient of the US Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award.