Ranjani and Gayatri are Carnatic concert vocalists and violinists, and sisters.
Ranjani and Gayatri were born to N. Balasubramanian and Meenakshi (a Carnatic vocalist as well). Born into a Palakkad Iyer family deeply involved in classical music, Ranjani and Gayatri's musical talents were discovered at a very early age. They started their violin training at the early age of nine and six respectively from Sangita Bhooshanam Prof. T.S. Krishnaswami at the Shanmukhananda Sangeeta Vidyalaya, Mumbai.
As violin duet artists
Ranjani and Gayatri began their music career as violin duet artistes even before they reached their teens. Through their intense training from Sangita Bhooshanam Prof. T. S. Krishnaswami, they quickly established themselves as top-class violinists of international repute. The sisters achieved success as violin duet performers, and subsequently they also proved successful as violin accompanists. Both Ranjani and Gayatri have accompanied various artists on the violin, including D.K.Pattammal.As vocal artists
The sisters have given vocal concerts since 1997, after they became students of Padma Bhushan Sangeeta Kala Acharya P.S.Narayanaswamy. They have learnt quite a few Bhajans from vocalist Seetha Narayanan. Their chance meeting with an amateur Hindistani vocalist in Chennai, Vishwas Joshi, an official of the World Bank working in Washington, from whom they learnt a few abhangs and gavlis, paved way for further learning from Manek Bhide and Appasaheb Deshpande of Kolhapur.Within barely three years, they won high praises from critics and music lovers all over the globe. Their music, imbued with a deep and abiding classicism, has been described as an exhilarating blend of vitality, melody and emotion. Ever since their debut in 1997, they have performed in all prominent sabhas in the December Music Festival in Chennai, and at premier institutions all over the country. They have to their credit several album releases, both violin and vocal. They give various world tours every year, touring many countries such as the United States, Canada,Singapore, Malaysia, UK, Australia and many more.
Apart from singing, Ranjani and Gayatri also have an interest for composing music. A few of the abhangs they sing at the end of their concerts have been tuned by them. They have also tuned many other thukkada pieces, including bhajans. Here is a list of some of the songs tuned by the sisters:
- Bolava Vitthala – Abhang (Sant Tukaram) – Tuned in raag Bhatiyar.
- Pagaivanukkarulvai (Subramanya Bharathi) – Ragamalika
- Naachke Aaye – Bhajan (Ambujam Krishna) – Tuned in raag Sohini
- Raam Naam Mhanata – Abhang ( Tukaram) – Tuned in raag Jhenjhutti
- Sharana Sharana – Abhang (Sant Tukaram) – Tuned in raag Pilu.
- Dhanya Dhanya – Abhang (Sant Eknath) – Tuned in raag Durga.
- Sada Majzhe – Abhang (Sant Tukaram – Tuned in raag Misra Malkauns.
Ranjani and Gayatri have received multiple awards and recognitions throughout their career. In addition, various music personalities from all over India have recognized their talent. Most recently, the sitar player of North India, Bhatat Ratna Pandit Ravi Shankar, was so impressed by their singing that he organized a concert of theirs in Delhi. Here is a list of the awards and recognitions received by the sisters:Sanskriti Awards, instituted by Sanskriti Foundation New Delhi, (recognizing their contribution to the field of performing arts)Kalki Krishnamurthi Memorial Award (instituted by the Kalki trust in memory of the writer Sri.Kalki Krishnamurthy)Yogam Narayana Swamy AwardNational Eminence Award (by the Shanmukhananda Sabha, Mumbai)Title of "Isai Peroli" from the Kartik Fine Arts, Chennai in Dec 2005.Dr. M.L. Vasanthakumari Endowment Award, instituted by CMANA (The Carnatic Music Association of North America, Inc), USA awarded by Narada Gana Sabha, Chennai.Sarada Krishna Iyer Memorial Award for Outstanding Concert during December 2003 from the Music Academy, Chennai.T.S.Sabesa and Thanjavur Ponniah Pillai Award for Viruttam/Sloka singing from The Music Academy, Chennai.Performed their debut violin duet concert at the Indian Music Group Festival of Music when they were thirteen and ten years old respectively.Recipients of the Goverment of India Talent Search Scholarship from the age of ten.Winners of the First Prize in the All India Radio National Competition for Violin.Recipients of the title of "Sangeeta Shanmukha Mani' conferred by Shanmukhananada Fine Arts and Sangeeta Vidyalaya, MumbaiWon The Outstanding Violinists Award for four consecutive years from the Music Academy, Chennai from 1994 to 1998. Won the Award for Best Kirtana Rendering for their vocal concert from Sri Krishna Gana Sabha in 1999.