Ramnad V. Raghavan, a widely respected performer of the Karnatak mrdangam and long-time member of Wesleyan’s music faculty, died in Chennai, India, Nov. 21 after a long illness.
Raghavan came from a distinguished family of musicians that produced, among others, his brother Ramnad V. Krishnan and internationally known violinists L. Subramaniam and L. Shankar. Sri Raghavan learned mrdangam from his brother Ramnad Easwaran.
He served as artist in residence in music at Wesleyan from 1970 to 1975, and again from 1987 to 2000, teaching South Indian drumming. In the years between his Wesleyan appointments he lived in Cleveland, Ohio where he was a founding organizer of the internationally renowned Cleveland Aradhana.
While he was dedicated to the highest ideals of Karnatak music, and had accompanied the greatest Karnatak musicians, he also performed with East-West fusion ensembles and artists, including guitarist John McLaughlin. During his years at Wesleyan, Sri Raghavan was a popular and patient teacher who worked with hundreds of students, some of whose careers were profoundly influenced.
He is survived by his wife, Sarada, a son, Chandru, and two daughters, Mala, and Viji. Chandru and Mala live in Middletown. Planning has begun for a memorial service, with date and time to be announced.
(Announcement by David Nelson, artist in residence in music)