Srimathi Narmatha Ravichandhira is chosen this year for recognising excellence in “Performing Arts and Education” by Victorian Premier as one of 12 people to receive awards for service delivery to multicultural Victoria. Narmatha is a highly respected teacher, performer, choreographer, composer, adviser of Indian fine arts, and collaborator in Indian and inter cultural arts as one who has received recognition for her unique contribution to the development of vocal, violin and Bharatha Natyam to a wider community particularly in Australia, NZ, UK and France. In August of this year, Narmatha’s traditional bharathanatyam students participated in the 2013 Victorian State School spectacular to a packed audience at the Hisence Arena. This event was televised on Channel 7 in October.
Narmatha received her initial training from her father and renowned vocalist, Sri Ayyakkannu Desigar and continued her studies in both vocal and violin under Padma Bushan Lalgudi G Jayaraman. Her initial training in Bharatha Natyam was from Sri Erambu Subbiah and his daughter Srimathi Shanthini Sivanesan of Sri Lanka. Narmatha was also trained by Srimathi Leelambigai Selvarajah (one of the earliest teachers to have trained at Kalakshetra) at Manipay Ladies College. During this period, she won a dance scholarship from the government of Sri Lanka. Her tertiary qualifications include a Masters in Vocal Music from the University of Madras, and post graduate training in Bharatha Natyam under Padmashree Adyar K Lakshman.
Narmatha was the first to be awarded the Teacher’s Certification by the North Ceylon Oriental Music Society in Indian classical Vocal, Violin, Bharatha Natyam and Kathakali. She has also received a number of awards from the Government of Sri Lanka, a graded artiste of the All India TV and has performed on Doordarshan Television in India.
After migrating to Australia in 1992, Narmatha established Guru Kaaraikkudi Mani’s Sruthi Laya Kendra school of Indian Classical Music in Australia and Guru Adayar K Lakshman’s Bharatha Choodamani School of Indian Dance (Aust). She has successfully reached beyond the Indian community to coach several students from their inception to presenting a full-length debut recitals. She has also presented some of her students at international dance festivals in India, including the prestigious Chennai Music and Dance Festivals and in Sydney.
Narmatha has performed at prominent venues in Sri Lanka, India, the UK, France, New Zealand and Australia, including the Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne Concert Hall, Victoria’s Immigration Museum and the music departments of Monash University and the University of Tasmania. She was the first artiste to headline and perform at events including the International Women’s Festival and the UNESCO World Conference in France and at the Victorian Arts Centre and becoming known for incorporating different cultures into one performance. Narmatha provided sound-scape broadcast of Indian classical music in Sydney’s Olympic Village during the Olympic Games and on bridge that connects Federation Square to the MCG in Melbourne.
Narmatha has also conducted master classes for a number of professional western classical violinists, vocalists and jazz musicians from Australia and New Zealand. In 2007, she was recognised by the Australia Council for the Arts as a creator of new works in Indian classical music and dance. She has continued to compose new music and tuned new compositions for her own dance creations and staged successful premiere productions in Australia, including those at dance debut recitals and in ‘Salangai in Sangamam’ in Melbourne. Narmatha consistently involves students of appropriate competences under her direct supervision in charitable performances for World Vision, Oxfam, Lions Club, JET Foundation, Parliament of World Religions, places of worship and senior citizen groups.
Narmatha has been formally acknowledged in the Parliament of Victoria for her contribution to the arts by the Victorian Government. Further, the Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development and the Minister for Women’s Affairs who was the guest speaker at a TYME ( talented young musicians ensemble) concert, addressed the audience and applauded Srimathi Narmatha and her husband Ravi M Ravichandhira OAM, for their commitment in developing a powerful fine arts infrastructure.
Narmatha holds a BA (Hons) in Economics from the Jaffna University, Sri Lanka and MA (Hons) in Economics from the University of Madurai, India; and MA in Music from University of Madras.