R. Prasanna

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Prasanna
Guitar Prasanna.jpg
Prasanna performing at Chennayil Thiruvaiyaru 2015
Background information
Born Oct 2, 1970
Genres Carnatic, Jazz, Rock, World Music, Film Music
Occupation(s) Guitarist, Singer, Composer, Producer, Music Educator, Teacher
Instruments Guitar, Bass, Piano, Percussion
Website www.guitarprasanna.com

Prasanna (also known as Guitar Prasanna), a pioneer in performing Carnatic music on the guitar—as well as skilled in playing and composing in genres such as jazz, progressive rock, and world fusion music.

Contents

Early life and background[edit]

Prasanna grew up in Chennai, India and fell in love with the guitar at age of five after hearing his neighbor play. He received his first guitar when he was ten years old and would try to play Tamil and Hindi film songs and imitate the sounds of his sister’s Carnatic singing with the instrument. Prasanna’s interest in Western pop music developed when his father’s colleague gave him some cassette tapes with songs by The Bee Gees, ABBA, Toto, Peaches and Herb, and the Pointer Sisters. “For a young boy growing up in pre-internet times in South India, such diverse musical exposure was magical, and I lapped it all up”.

At the same time, he was still enthralled by Indian film music. “The great Indian film composer Illayaraja, was my first big musical influence. I learned so much about Carnatic music, western harmony, counter point and rhythms and orchestration through his music. He continues to inspire me”. After studying basics with his first guitar teacher C.G. Shanmugaraj for a few months, Prasanna studied western music theory and standard guitar vocabulary from classical guitarist Thangadural Samuel for sometime. By now, Prasanna was equally serious about Carnatic music on the guitar and started charting a pioneering path for myself training in the traditional Guru Shishya approach with Carnatic vocalist Tiruvarur Balasubramaniam for 6 years and continuing his study for the last 26 years with legendary Carnatic violinist Sangeetha Kalanidhi A. Kanyakumari.

Prasanna was also a topper in school and his passion and excellence in Math and Science secured him an admission to India's most prestigious Engineering Institution - During his years studying naval architecture at Indian institute of Technology, Madras, he also established himself as one of India's most highly regarded young guitarists, touring the country India with his rock bands, covering songs by Santana, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Rush, Steely Dan, Jethro Tull, and Scorpions, and started getting recognition as a Carnatic artist at the same time. Prasanna's musical development led him into the blues and jazz traditions and many of its sister genres. After a brief stint as a software consultant, he gave up a promising career in engineering and IT, followed his passion and headed to Berklee College of Music in Boston where he majored in Jazz and Classical Composition, setting a stronger foundation for the ever-evolving palette of music from which he draws.

Today, Prasanna enjoys a reputation as a fearless innovator, earning worldwide praise not only for his expertise in performing the ancient and demanding art of Carnatic music on a contemporary western instrument - the electric guitar, but also for the special and instantly identifiable signature with which he blends Carnatic music with contemporary western and world music.

Education[edit]

Prasanna received a Bachelor's degree in Naval Architecture from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras in 1992. He also graduated magna cum laude from the Berklee College of Music, Boston.

Awards and achievements[edit]

Discography[edit]

Leader[edit]

Apna Ek Kal (Prasanna feat. Anuradha Palakurthi and Hariharan) - Single - theme song for NGO Ekal Vidyalaya[edit]

Released Oct 23, 2016 by Shri. Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister for Human Resource Development

Sunayana Kachroo - Lyrics, Prasanna – Composer, Producer, Acoustic guitars, Electric guitars, Vocals, Anuradha Palakurthi - Vocals, Executive Producer, Hariharan - Vocals, Children’s Choir - NSS Hill Spring International School and St. Xavier’s High School, Fort, Mumbai, Jay Gandhi - Flute, Ismail Lumanovski - Clarinet, Abhik Mukherjee - Sitar, Manu Koch - Piano, Fender Rhodes, Korg CX3 Hammond Organ, Steve Jenkins - Bass, Kenny Grohowski - Drums, T.S. Nanda kumar -Mridangam, Nitin Mitta - Tabla, A. Sivamani - Bells, Shakers, Tambourine, Triangle, Daf, Kanjira, Ghungroo, Mixed by Elliot Scheiner, Mastered by Bob Ludwig

All Terrain Guitar – Susila Music, Release date – Aug 5, 2016[edit]

Prasanna – electric and acoustic guitars, Shalini Lakshmi and Natalie John – vocals, Dave Douglas – trumpet, Rudresh Mahanthappa and David Binney – alto sax, Vijay Iyer – piano, Mike Pope – acoustic and electric bass, Bill Urmson – electric bass, Rodney Holmes and Mauricio Zottarelli – drums

Live in Sedona (DVD) – Susila Music, 2009[edit]

Prasanna – electric guitars, konnakol, Poongulam Subramanian- mridangam, S. Karthick – ghatam, morsing, konnakol, Bangalore Amrit – kanjira, konnakol

Electric Ganesha Land – Susila music, 2006[edit]

Prasanna – electric guitars, electric bass, konnakol, Haridwaramangalam A. K. Palanivel – thavil, Prapancham Ravindran- mridangam, S. Karthick – ghatam, morsing, konnakol, B.S. Purushotham – kanjira, konnakol, Papanasam Sethuraman – kanjira

Ra Rama (Carnatic) – Kosmic music (India), 2005[edit]

Prasanna – electric guitar, Haridwaramangalam A. K. Palanivel – thavil, J. Vaidhyanathan – mridangam, S. Karthick – ghatam

Be the Change – Susila music, 2004, Carbon7 records (Europe and Japan)[edit]

Prasanna – electric guitars, acoustic guitars, vocals, Victor Wooten – electric bass, Alphonso Johnson – electric/acoustic bass, Jeff Coffin – tenor sax, soprano sax, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, alto flute, Shalini – vocals, Andy Suzuki – tenor sax, alto sax, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, alto flute, acoustic piano, Ralph Humphrey – drums, Derico Watson – drums

Ragamorphism – Susila music, 2004 – Guitar instructional DVD[edit]

Peaceful – Susila music, 2001[edit]

Prasanna – electric guitar, acoustic guitar, 12 string acoustic guitar, vocals, keyboardss, synth/drum programming, Keith Peters – bass, J. Vaidhyanathan – mridangam, Karthick – ghatam, Chandrasekhar – additional synth programming, Aravind – additional drum programming

Shakthi – The Omnipotent – Music Today (India), 2000[edit]

Prasanna – electric guitar, J. Vaidhyanathan – mridangam, S. Karthick – ghatam

Natabhairavi – Inreco (India), 2000[edit]

Prasanna – electric guitar, Haridwaramangalam A. K. Palanivel – thavil, Karthick – ghatam

Apoorva Ragas on Guitar – Kalakendra (USA), 2000[edit]

Prasanna – electric guitar, Poovalur Srinivasan – mridangam

Echo – Saican (Canada), 2000[edit]

Original arrangements of Sai bhajans on guitar. Prasanna – electric guitar, Madhu – tabla, assorted Indian percussion

Roots – Sangeetha/HMV (India), 1997[edit]

Prasanna – electric guitar, Embar Kannan – violin, K.V. Prasad – mridangam, B.S. Purushothaman – kanjira

Guitar Indian Style – Oriental Records (USA), 1996[edit]

Prasanna – electric guitar, Embar Kannan – violin, Srimushnam Raja Rao – mridangam, Karthick – ghatam

Spirit of Youth (Carnatic) – Saragam (India), 1993[edit]

Prasanna – guitar, Madurai Balasubramaniam – violin, Poongulam Subramaniam – mridangam, Subhash Chandran – ghatam

Vibrant Aesthetics – Inreco (India), 1993[edit]

Prasanna – guitar, Sikkil Bhaskaran – violin, Triplicane Shekar – thavil, Subhash Chandran – ghatam, Ganesh Kumar – kanjira, Raman – morsing

Evergreen Classicals on guitar – Keerthana (India), 1993[edit]

Prasanna – guitar, Meera Sivaramakrishnan – violin, Tanjore Subramaniam – mridangam, Subhash Chandran – ghatam

Evergreen Melodies on guitar – Keerthana (India), 1993[edit]

Prasanna – guitar, Meera Viaramakrishnan – violin, Tanjore Subrmaniam – mridangam, Subhash Chandran – ghatam

Guitar goes Classical – Audio Fine (India), 1993[edit]

Prasanna – guitar, T.K.Padmanabhan – violin, Tanjore Subramaniam – mridangam, T.D.Balu – ghatam

Special Projects[edit]

Million Dollar Arm – Score and Sound track[edit]

Produced by Walt Disney productions and Directed by Craig Gillespie. Walt Disney Records, 2014

A.R. Rahman – composer, primary artist, cocals, Matt Dunkley – orchestration, Prasanna – electric guitar, Asad Khan – sitar, Gaayatri Kaudinya – Vocals, Nick Glennie-Smith – choir, Neeti Mohan – backing vocals, T.R. Krishna Chetan, Ishaan Chabra – programming

The Hundred Foot Journey – Score and Soundtrack[edit]

Produced by Steven Spielberg/Oprah Winfre/Juliet Blake and Directed by Lasse Hallstrom. Hollywood Records, 2014

A.R. Rahman – composer, primary artist, Vocals, Gaayatri Kaudinya, Shalini Lakshmi – Vocals, Prasanna – electric guitar, classical guitar, Peter Calo, George Doering – guitars, Matt Dunkley – orchestra conductor, Henry Hey – piano, Chinna Prasad – tabla, Naveen Kumar – flute, Asad Khan – sitar, Ishaan Chabra – programming

A R Rahman featuring Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan, Farah Siraj & Ani Choying, Rayhanah & Issrat Quadhri, Prasanna, Sivamani – Sony Music India, 2013[edit]

MTV Coke Studio

A.R. Rahman – Piano, keyboards, Harpejji, Continuum keyboard Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan, Farah Siraj, Ani Choying, Sushmita Das, Rayhanah, Issrat Quadhri, Blaze – lead vocals, Prasanna – electric and acoustic guitars, Sivamani – drums and percussion, Kevin Doucette – piano, Keba Jeremiah – acoustic guitar and many other musicians

Tirtha – ACT Music+Vision (Germany), 2011[edit]

Vijay Iyer – piano, Prasanna – electric guitar, Nitin Mitta – tabla

Ragabop Trio – Abstract Logix (USA), 2010[edit]

Steve Smith – drums, George Brooks – tenor/alto sax, Prasanna – electric, acoustic guitars

Aka Moon “Guitars” – De Werf (Belgium), 2002[edit]

Fabrizio Cassol – alto sax, Prasanna – guitar, David Gilmore – guitar, Pierre Van Dormael – guitar, Michel Hatzigeorgiu – bass, Stephane Galland – drums

Lagaan, Sony Music, 2001 – With A.R.Rahman[edit]

String Orchestra for title track arranged and conducted by Prasanna

Summa cum Jazz – BMG (USA), 1999[edit]

The Berklee College of Music Guitar Album, Vol. 2

Featured Guest[edit]

  • Mantra Revealed – Marc Rossi, Innova records, 2012
  • Inner Duality – David Hines, Spice rack records, 2009
  • Hidden Mandala- Marc Rossi, Gravity records, 2008
  • The Music Messiah- Illayaraja, Agi music, 2006
  • Moving – Tony Grey, 2004
  • Apfelschaun- Ben Schwendener/Uwe Steinmetz, Gravity Arts, 2003
  • Peace in Progress – Manisha Shahane, 2003
  • Play by Ear – Deep C, 2002

Partial list of recordings for Indian Films[edit]

  • 'Kochadaiyan’ soundtrack (Tamil) – A.R. Rahman, 2014
  • ‘Highway’ soundtrack (Bollywood) – A.R.Rahman, 2014
  • ‘Essaye Moi’ soundtrack (French) – Pierre Van Dormael, 2006
  • ‘Mumbai Express’ soundtrack (Tamil) – Illayaraja, 2005
  • ‘Ghajini’ background score (Tamil) – Harris Jayaraj, 2005
  • ‘Swades’ soundtrack (Bollywood) – A.R.Rahman, 2004
  • ‘Dil ne Jisa apna kaha’ soundtrack (Bollywood) – A.R.Rahman, 2004
  • ‘Udhaya’ soundtrack (Tamil) – A.R.Rahman, 2003
  • ‘Ramanaa’ soundtrack (Tamil) – Illayaraja, 2002
  • ‘Nee Romba Azhaga Irukke’ soundtrack (Tamil) – Aravind/Jaishankar, 2002
  • ‘Lagaan’ film soundtrack (Bollywood) – A.R.Rahman, 2001
  • ‘Grahan’ film background score (Bollywood) – Karthik Raja, 2001
  • ‘Dumm Dumm Dumm’ soundtrack (Tamil) – Karthik Raja, 2001
  • ‘Vanchinathan’ soundtrack (Tamil) – Karthik Raja, 2001
  • ‘Pukar’ soundtrack (Bollywood) – A.R.Rahman, 2000
  • ‘Split Wide Open’ soundtrack (English) – Karthik Raja, 1999
  • ‘Harischandra’ soundtrack (Tamil) – Agosh, 1999
  • ‘Enn Swasa Kaatre’ soundtrack (Tamil) – A.R.Rahman, 1998
  • ‘Jeans’ soundtrack (Tamil) – A.R.Rahman, 1998
  • ‘Kizhakkum Merkkum’ soundtrack (Tamil) – Illayaraja, 1998
  • ‘Zor’ soundtrack (Bollywood) – Agosh, 1998
  • ‘Nam iruvar namakku iruvar’ background score (Tamil) – Karthik Raja, 1998
  • ‘Kadhala Kadhala’ soundtrack (Tamil) – Karthik Raja, 1998
  • ‘Ullasam’ soundtrack (Tamil) – Karthik Raja, 1996
  • ‘Lovebirds’ soundtrack (Tamil) – A.R.Rahman, 1996
  • ‘Muthu’ soundtrack (Tamil) – A.R.Rahman, 1995
  • ‘Puthiya Mugam’ soundtrack (Tamil) – A.R.Rahman, 1992

Composer[edit]

Films[edit]

  • Composer of original score for Megan Mylan’s short film After my garden grows (2014)
  • Composer of original score for Ian McDonald’s documentary film Algorithms (2012)
  • Composer of original score for Balaji Sakthivel’s Indian National and Filmfare Award-winning feature film in Tamil Vazhakku Enn 18/9 (2012)
  • Composer of original score for Megan Mylan’s 2009 Oscar Award-winning documentary film Smile Pinki
  • Composer of original score for Chetan Shah’s documentary film ‘The Open Frame’ (2011) and English feature film Framed (2007)

Dance Theater[edit]

A Story and a Song[edit]

For alto saxophone, voice, spoken word, guitar, carnatic, Indian folk and western percussion | Boston University Dance Theater, Boston, MA, United States, July 20, 2007 (US premiere) | Commissioned by Navarasa Dance Company, Somerville, MA | Aparna Sindhoor, choreographer

The Tempest[edit]

For string orchestra, string quartet, two guitars, two voices, bamboo flute, carnatic percussion | Everest Theatre, Seymour Centre, Sydney, Australia Aug 4, 2004 (premiere) | Commissioned by Lingalayam Dance Company | Astad Deboo, choreographer

DNA in Dance - Story of DNA through Indian Classical Dance[edit]

For string quartet, female voice, synthesizers, FX loops, electric guitars, carnatic percussion | Tufts University, Medford, MA, United States, Sept 5, 2004 (premiere) | Commissioned by Ranjani Saigal and Tufts University | Kausalya Srinivasan and Ranjani Saigal, choreographers

Sanaatana[edit]

For soprano voice, flute, oboe, violoncello, harp, two guitars, carnatic voice, veena, violin, carnatic percussion | Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, UK Sept 14, 2001 (premiere) | Commissioned by Institute of Fine Arts, London, UK | Maresa Moglia and Krishnaveni Lakshman, choreographers

Soliloquy[edit]

For guitar, synthesizer, voice, violin, bamboo flute, carnatic percussion | Museum Theatre, Chennai, India Feb28, 1997 (premiere) | Commissioned by Padmini Chettur; Padmini Chettur, choreographer

Educator[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]