Geetha Bennett is no more

Remembering musicians of the recent past
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#1 Geetha Bennett is no more

Post by mohan » 07 Aug 2018, 08:54

Veena vidushi and writer Geetha Ramanathan Bennett (daughter of Prof S. Ramanathan) has passed away after a very long battle with cancer. May her soul join one with the almighty. She is survived by her husband, Frank Bennett, and son.

Here is an article about her mission to put her father's recording on Youtube: ... 425925.ece
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#2 Re: Geetha Bennett is no more

Post by PUNARVASU » 07 Aug 2018, 09:31

Yes, got the news early in the morning from my sister who is her friend.
A great loss. She strived to complete her mission as stated above, putting up a brave fight.
May she find peace.
Condolences to her family and her students.
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#3 Re: Geetha Bennett is no more

Post by thanjavooran » 07 Aug 2018, 09:38

Very sorry to hear. A great writer besides a musician/ musicologist like her father. Admirer of Sujatha [ Rangarajan ] a great writer.
A very great loss. RIP
07 08 2018
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#4 Re: Geetha Bennett is no more

Post by rshankar » 07 Aug 2018, 09:41

Heartfelt condolences to her family! May her soul RIP
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#5 Re: Geetha Bennett is no more

Post by CRama » 07 Aug 2018, 11:02

A Great loss. Heartfelt condolences to her family and disciples. Om Shanthi.
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#6 Re: Geetha Bennett is no more

Post by gardabha_gana » 07 Aug 2018, 15:14

A great loss, very sad indeed. Deep condolences to her family and students. Have heard (and Frank) in the bay area. What an adorable couple - the concerts were so intimate, fun and interesting.
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#7 Re: Geetha Bennett is no more

Post by Sreeni Rajarao » 07 Aug 2018, 18:30

Sorry to hear the news, Condolences!
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#8 Re: Geetha Bennett is no more

Post by arasi » 07 Aug 2018, 18:35

Sad, indeed! A musician who was special in many ways. Such a father's daughter, music her business too, writing as well, teaching, and then the fight with cancer...After she moved to CA, I hadn't seen her.
The year 1980, they had a concert of Jayalakshmi Santhanam :( at their house in Connecticut. Then to a wider audience in Hudson Valley when JS was accompanied by Frank and was surprised with his playing, wishing she had included kritis with more complex tAlAs in her list of songs."I didn't imagine he was that good!", she kept saying.
They stayed with us at that time. What an agreeable couple! Their son, wearing his Superman cape, moved around the place rhythmically too I guess, absorbed in playing the hero...
Many years have passed, but Geetha was snatched away too soon. Heart-felt condolences to Frank and their son, and the rest of the musical family of hers...
Last edited by arasi on 08 Aug 2018, 01:37, edited 1 time in total.
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#9 Re: Geetha Bennett is no more

Post by kvchellappa » 07 Aug 2018, 20:16

S. Sowmya

My dearest Geetha Akka...A Vainika par excellence, wonderful singer, a great musician, a super writer, a very very strong and gritty person, amazing sense of humour, very eloquent speaker, absolute clarity in thoughts, speech and action, a very down to earth human being, very very beautiful with lovely blue grey eyes, absolutely lovable, adorable and reminded me of Thatha always....Will miss your physical presence, Geetha Akka but I know that you will be in my heart, mind and spirit with Thatha and Mami. Love you. -S
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#10 Re: Geetha Bennett is no more

Post by arasi » 08 Aug 2018, 01:47

Sowmya, from what I gather was so much part of that family, growing up with all the music in her guru Dr. Ramanathan's household. How the arts must have flourished in that environment! I saw Vanathi dance once as a youngster. She was like a lightening bolt, a live wire on stage--art in action...
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#11 Re: Geetha Bennett is no more

Post by hnbhagavan » 08 Aug 2018, 04:48

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#12 Re: Geetha Bennett is no more

Post by Sundara Rajan » 08 Aug 2018, 10:05

Shocked to learn that Geetha has passed away, although I knew that she was fighting cancer for the past few years. Her father Sangeetha Kalanidhi Dr. S Ramanathan and I became acquainted during his Wesleyan Years in the 1960s, when I was in University of Illinois, and we used to exchange greetings when he was in Madurai. Geetha and Frank used to visit us in Upstate New York whenever they were in the area, until I moved to Florida in 2003. A few years ago she played my favorite song Nadachi Nadachi in the morning session of Music Academy and informed me before hand by email, having learned that I was in Chennai. I did enjoy her presentation in the company of Dr.Bennet. My wife Barathi joins me in conveying our condolences to Dr. Bennet.
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#13 Re: Geetha Bennett is no more

Post by shankarank » 08 Aug 2018, 19:58

Sincere condolences to the family of Geetha Bennett. I cherish an university workshop that the organization I was part of, arranged in Ohio State. She played a lilting gAnA mUrtE in the evening concert!
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#14 Re: Geetha Bennett is no more

Post by bilahari » 08 Aug 2018, 20:20

Condolences. I remember the Bennetts in concerts in San Diego. I enjoyed her vINa.
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#15 Re: Geetha Bennett is no more

Post by mahavishnu » 08 Aug 2018, 22:17

Sincere condolences.
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#16 Re: Geetha Bennett is no more

Post by uday_shankar » 08 Aug 2018, 22:27

Had the privilege of saying hello to her once... a multi talented person who put up an absolutely heroic fight against cancer and won for a long time... Deepest condolences to the family.
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#17 Re: Geetha Bennett is no more

Post by Lakshman » 09 Aug 2018, 16:17

Heartfelt condolences to her family and friends. Huge loss to the Karnatak music community.
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#18 Re: Geetha Bennett is no more

Post by Ramasubramanian M.K » 10 Aug 2018, 01:41

What great Artist/human being!! I have known her and Frank before their marriage. Met them in Connecticut with VKV. Since then we have been very close. She was battling cancer for quite a long time.

Condolences to Frank and his son. Frank was a true gentleman--supportive of Geetha subordinating his apps ion for he art form.
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#19 Re: Geetha Bennett is no more

Post by rajeshnat » 10 Aug 2018, 09:29

Two writeups in THe Hindu, dated Aug 10,2018. Condolences to vidushi Geetha. Few years back atleast 2 or 3 occassions I have seen her encouraging artists in SIMALA,Los Angeles , sitting in the first few rows . With few accquintances that I know of in LA, I am told she is a very nice person.

I did not know she was also a short story writer till I read the below writeup by Swaminathan. ... 642101.ece ... 642319.ece
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#20 Re: Geetha Bennett is no more

Post by parivadini » 10 Aug 2018, 11:37

Sometime in the late 90s, I tuned in late on radio to a concert. The tanam had just begun. As Khamboji flowed I was trying to figure out who the player was. I was quite sure I hadn’t heard this musician before. The measured yet vibrant playing got me hooked onto the rest of the concert. At the end came the announcement and I had heard Vid. Geetha Bennett for the first time.

As I developed interest in Carnatic music, I was fascinated by the music and works of Dr. S. Ramanathan, Geetha Bennett’s father. There were a lot of mention about his work on Silapadikaram but it was not easy to locate the publication. In 2001, I was in the US to do my Masters degree and through internet I could locate Geetha Bennett. With a hope of finding Dr. SR’s book I drew courage to call her up. She must have been surprised to receive that call from a stranger. Internet bandwidth and ease of digitization were not great then. Geetha did mention she had his thesis but was hesitant to send me the only copy she had with her. That was the only conversation I had with her.

As years rolled over, my fascination to Dr. S. Ramanathan – the personality — only grew. I had the chance to discuss and learn more about him with his other family members, some students and many rasikas.

A few months before Dr. Ramanathan’s centenary year, I ran into an article by Geetha Bennett on her illustrious father. Her account was a fascinating read and left me longing for more. I wanted to meet her and get more insights from her. When I contacted her niece, I was shocked to know about her prolonged fight with cancer.

Despite ill health, she travelled to Chennai to be a part of her father’s centenary celebrations and played a wonderful tribute concert last year. The Senchurutti varnam (a composition of Dr. S.R on Tyagaraja and perhaps the only varnam composed in this raga) is still ringing in my ears.

Despite going over 50 chemo sessions, here she was, on a mission on YouTube to record and document at least 100 songs that she had learnt from Dr. S. Ramanthan. The videos that are available are a treasure trove bearing the undeliable stamp of Dr.SR. One can see that despite her frail state, the music had a rejuvenating effect on her. The way she glows along with the composition would be etched in my memory forever.

It is unfortunate and our loss that she could only partly realize her dream. Her students and other students of Dr. S.Ramanathan can perhaps fulfill her dream.

Goodbye Vid. Geetha. I wish I had met you once.

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