Shantala Subramanyam born in Bangalore, was raised in Chennai, heartland of Carnatic music, renowned for its emphasis on improvisation on beautiful ragas within a highly evolved rhythmic vocabulary. She plays the VENU, a Carnatic bamboo flute, and it’s an instrument with a warm sonority.
Shantala displayed keen interests in music when she was only an year old and like many Carnatic musicians, Shantala started playing in early childhood under the guidance of her father M N Subramanyam, himself an amature musician and her brother Shashank, an eminent flute artist. It was also her good fortune to be trained by eminent performers - vocalist late Sri. Vairamangalam Lakshminarayanan and is currently pursuing vocal music training under Sri O.S.Thyagarajan and Sri T V Gopalakrishanan. She is grateful to the famed South Indian drummers Trichur Sri.Narendran, Patri Satish Kumar and Parupalli Phalgun for imparting rhythm training, spread over a decade.
Owing to her diligent training and hard training, Shantala has been highly appreciated for her melodic presentations combined with complex rhythmic patterns. Today, she’s recognized as an important and authentic voice in this demanding tradition and this view has been echoed by music critiques.
A few quotes from critiques:
Feb 11, 2016 – The Hindu
“Shantala Subramanyam’s playing was nuanced and contemplative.”
Dec 15, 2012 – The Hindu
“Shantala Subramanyam is a very gifted and well-trained flautist. Her concert at the Bhavan, Mylapore was thoroughly enjoyable on may fronts, particularly to the song selection and intelligent rhythmic variations.”
Feb 12, 2010 - Friday Review, The Hindu , Chennai says:
“Poise and softness marked Shantala Subramaniam's playing.”
April 18, 2008 – Friday Review, The Hindu, Chennai edition:
“Young Shanthala Subramaniam’s flute recital for exuded confidence given by her musical prowess and the diligent training she has undergone to master the instrument.”
Jan 30, 2009 - Friday Review, The Hindu, Thiruvananthapuram: "Flautist Shantala Subramaniam has attained a style that combines innovation with tradition."
May 01, 2009 - Friday Review, The Hindu, Bangalore edition:
".. the renderings were marked by clarity of notes, aesthetic appeal, and technical prowess."
Shantala has graced the stages of many reputed organizations in India and is a frequent visitor to Europe, USA, Canada, England, Ireland and Malaysia for concerts, workshops and lec-dems. Some of her notable in India include concerts for Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Narada GanaSabha, Mudhra, Hamsadhwani, Rama SevaMandali, Bharatiya Sama Gana Sabha, Chembur fine arts, Sri Rama Laltha Kala Mandir, Parathasarathy Swami Sabha and so on.
Some of the presitigous festivals and venues abroad include: RASA-Utrecht, Bray Jazz Festival, Ireland, UMEFOLK, Stallet, UKK - Sweden, MILAPFEST, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and Nehru Center -UK, UNOmaha, UNCG, MIM - Phoenix, Arab Museum - Detroit, North Charleston Arts festival, Oregon, LearnQuest - USA, Sacred music festivals - Drammen - Norway, Markotberdorf -Germany, Strasbourg - France, Indian Embassy in Paris and Stockholm are some of the prestigous International festivals and venues that have featured Shantala's performance.
She has given master classes in Carnatic music and rhythms in Goteborg University, Music Academy OSLO, Music conservatory- Trondheim, Royal College of Music – Stockholm,UNCG -North Carolina, University of Oregon - Eugene, Folkhogskolas -Fridhem, Skurup and Malmo, Sweden. She has performed for young audiences in schools in Sweden,Norway,Germany, USA and India.
Shantala is also a well sought after teacher. She has been imparting training in South Indian vocal music, flute playing and reciting kunakkol [vocal rhythm] to many a student from India and across the globe.
She has released 3 CD albums titled “Bamboo in Harmony”, "Bamboo Sings" and “Dakshin” in collaboration with popular and competitive artists from the South Indian music tradition. The albums have been highly appreciated by critiques and audiences alike.