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This page is dedicated to South Indian percussionists in Carnatic music, fusion, and traditional percussion music of Kerala. Featuring photos, accurate names & bios, e-mail links, and video clips of players of Kanjira, Jalatharangam, Ghatam, Konnakol, Morsing, Thavil, Percussion Ensembles from Kerala, and Mridangam. Construction will be ongoing through 2008 so check back often if you are interested in updates. Special thanks to Sri Erode Nagaraj for help with bios in the mridangam section. Please note that the artists on this page are in no particular order other than by instrument. This page is no longer updated due to time constraints.

KANJIRA

Abhishek Raghuram (2005)

Primarily a singer who was coached in kanjira by G. Harishankar. Grandson of mridangam master Palghat R. Raghu. Located in Chennai.

Alathur T. Rajaganesh (2005)

A mridangam player who also performs on kanjira. Learned kanjira from B. Harikumar & V. Nagarajan. Located in Trichy.

V. Anirudh Athreya (2005)

Youngest Carnatic performer on kanjira (17 years old). Learned kanjira from his relative V. Nagarajan and now studies with T.K. Murthy. Located in Chennai.

B.S. Purushotham (2005)

One of the busiest Carnatic kanjira players in Tamil Nadu. Learned kanjira from T.K. Murthy. Originally from Bangalore, now located in Chennai. YouTube Video 1.

B. Shreesundarkumar (2005)

The most advanced Carnatic kanjira player in Tamil Nadu. Performs regularly with all of the top Carnatic vocalists and instrumentalists and fusion artists. Top mridangam student (A grade) of Karaikudi R. Mani. Grew up around G. Harishankar and learned his playing style on kanjira by observation. His power, speed, rhythmic complexity, and beauty in phrasing are that of a senior artist despite his age being only 24. Located in Chennai.

N. Amrit (2005)

The most advanced Carnatic kanjira player in Karnataka and most advanced student of G. Harishankar who has mastered many aspects of his playing style in terms of power, speed, rhythmic complexity, and beauty in phrasing. Performs often with all of the top Carnatic vocalists and instrumentalists and fusion artists and plays for marathon bhajan performances (up to 6 hours). Highly experienced teacher. A grade kanjira artist and also a great mridangam player who learned from Sri M. Vasudeava Rao and Sri A.V. Anand. Located in Bangalore.

C.P. Vyasa Vittala (2005)

Former student of G. Harishankar and K.N. Krishna Murthy. Located in Bangalore.

C.S. Venkatramanan (2005)

Son of the late kanjira artist C.K. Shyam Sundar. Learned kanjira and mridangam from his father. Originally from Chittoor, now located in Chennai.

Dakshinamurthy Pillai (1935)

Mridangam and kanjira master in the early 1930s. Responsible for furthering the fingering from Pudukottai Manpoondia Pillai by applying more complicated mridangam fingerings to kanjira. His playing is said to have raised the level of kanjira playing. He learned kanjira from Pudukottai Manpoondia Pillai in the late 1800s.

Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman (1938)

At age 5 with kanjira. See his mridangam entry below for bio.

Govinda Harishankar (1979)

The greatest Carnatic kanjira player who ever lived. Still to this day, musicians are in awe of what G. Harishankar was capable of with one hand. His was born on June 10, 1958 and died on February 11, 2002. G. Harishankar started on kanjira at a very young age with his father Govinda Rao, started formal mridangam training with the legend Palghat T.S. Mani Iyer and then later with C.S. Murugaboopathy. He also studied with Ramanathapuram Sri C.S. Sankarasivam. He plays kanjira right handed but mridangam left handed (it is said that he did so to prove that playing mridangam was not as hard as kanjira so he switched to playing mridangam left handed). G. Harishankar is responsible for furthering the complexity of modern kanjira playing in terms of advanced techniques for speed, power, rhythmic complexity and beauty in phrasing (left hand bending of the skin). It is said in India by many of the senior percussionists that performed with him or witnessed him play that he could top any mridangam player he was matched with in a concert during the percussion solos (thani avarthanam). G. Harishankar on several occasions even topped tabla player Zakir Hussain when they shared the stage in Malaysia and Europe. He had only a few students that carried on his secrets and techniques. Some of his best recorded playing was as a member of Sruthi Laya with Karaikudi R. Mani on mridangam, T.V. Vasan on ghatam, and Srirangam S. Kannan on morsing in the 1980s-1990s. To many in India, his death was proof that he was in fact human and not a god. YouTube Video 1. YouTube Video 2. YouTube Video 3.

Guru Raghavendra (2005)

Plays fusion with vina player Rajesh Vaidhya.

 

H.P. Ramachar (2005)

Sadly, Ramachar recently died on June 23, 2006. He was the oldest kanjira player in India at 82 years old. Responsible for introducing a new level of speed in the 1970s. Researched the history, construction of, and tuning of kanjira more than any other musician in India. His first concert on kanjira was in 1931 accompanying with mridangam master Palghat T.A.S. Mani Iyer. He learned mridangam from H. Puttachar and taught himself kanjira.

K.S. Rangachari (2005)

One of the older kanjira players still performing at 71 years old. Father of Mambalam Sisters, who he exclusively accompanies now. Began performing on kanjira in 1950. Learned mridangam and kanjira from T.R. Harihara Sharma (father of T.H. "Vikku" Vinayakram & T.H. Subash Chandran). Originally from Kanjipuram, now located in Chennai.

 

K.V. Gopalakrishnan (2005)

Son of K.V.R.S. Mani. Learned from his father and T.K. Murthy. Mainly a mridangam player who also performs on kanjira. Located in Chennai.

K.V.R.S. Mani (2005)

Originally from Madurai, now located in Chennai.

Latha Ramachar (2006)

India's only performing female Carnatic kanjira player. She learned kanjira from her father H.P. Ramachar and also U.K. Sivaraman but has also had some training on mridangam. She is a member of the all female ensemble of percussion and saxophone called Karnataka Mahila Laya Madhuri and has performed all over India, Europe, and the USA with many of India's top artists. Located in Bangalore.

Karnataka Mahila Laya Madhuri

 

Palghat T.S. Mani Iyer (mridangam on left) and Palani Subramania Pillai (left hand kanjira on right, c. 1950s]

Palghat T.A.S. Mani Iyer

Palghat Mani Iyer, one of two of the greatest mridangam players ever, was born in 1912 in Palghat, Kerala and died in 1981. He was named Ramaswamy during Namakaranam (naming ceremony) but when introduced to the music world as a mridangam accompanist at the age of ten, he acquired the name "Mani."

He first studied with Palghat Subba Iyer and Kalpathy Viswanatha Iyer. Later with Thanjavur Vaidanatha Iyer. Mani came into prominence after accompanying Chembai Vaidanatha Bagavathar in a music concert at Madras.

He was unusually talented in rhythm and quickly mastered the technique of the art of playing mridangam from his gurus and predecessors such as Azhaganambi Pillai, Dakshinamurthy Pillai and even studied the temple drumming of Kerala (panchavadhyam, chenda, edakka, among others).

Before Mani Iyer’s arrival in the music scene, the two mridangists Alaganambi Pillai and Dakshinamurthy Pillai (also a kanjirist), dominated the art of percussion playing. The innovations of Mani changed the style of mridangam playing as Y.G. Doraisamy points out: "It was Mani Iyer who started the now prevalent trend of the mridangam, not just keeping the time with tekkas and moras, but actively accompanying the musical phrasing, so as to be a rhythmic running commentary, reproducing on the drum all the subtleties and rhythmic complexities of the musical composition."

Palghat Raghu, a disciple of Mani Iyer, describes his guru as a genius in that he showed music followers the manner of blending with the music of the main artist in handling the kritis of every conceivable mood and tempo. By his consistent excellence he could raise the concert to thrilling heights. It was Palghat T.S. Mani Iyer who outplayed kanjira player Dakshinamurthy Pillai and reclaimed the front seat on the stage for mridangam players. Mani Iyer also occasionally performed on kanjira.

Palani Subramania Pillai (c. 1940s)

Born in 1908 and died in 1962, never recognized formally with awards for his innovations in the art of mridangam and kanjira (most likely because of prejudice that he was not Brahmin). Palani Subramania Pillai was a contemporary of Palghat T. S. Mani Iyer. Equally skilled at mridangam and kanjira, he was a left handed player.

His technique on mridangam is said to have been the first to introduce the gumki or bending of the bass head by sliding and pressing the hand into the skin. His technique is said to have featured more rhythmic complexity while Mani Iyer featured more beauty in the phrases that he played and how they fit the music he was accompanying. Both players had extremely advanced rhythmic and accompanying skill, and there really is no comparing the two with regards to which was a better performer.

P. Subramania Pillai was a student of his father Pazhani Muthiah Pillai and later Dakshinamurthy Pillai. In concert, Iyer and Palani were each other's favorite to accompany with as Mani played mridangam while Subramania played kanjira. One story goes that during one of their concerts in the percussion solos they traded phrases for an entire hour each not being able to top the other.

 

Pudukottai Manpoondia Pillai

Born in 1859 and died in 1922, Manpoondia Pillai is considered to be the father of the Pudukottai school of percussion. He is also said to have invented the kanjira, which is not really true as the instrument and players existed before his time. What he is responsible for is introducing the kanjira to Carantic instrumental and vocal music beyond bhajans. His life story of a lantern bearer at the Pudukottai palace who rose to become a high ranking artist is one of triumph of the human spirit.

In his palace job in the mid-1800s he was exposed to dholak and thavil players and became fascinated with thavil. Having first learned a frame drum local to the area (known then as daff), he soon became a student of thavil (he was left handed) and learned from Tirugokarnam Mariyappan.

Manpoondia (he was also known as Mamundi) displayed an unusual skill in that he could play all of the patterns he was shown that required 2 hands with 1 hand.

He also redesigned the kanjira of his time by reducing the number of jingles from 3 pairs to a single pair and replaced the ghungroo pellet bells that were common as jingles at that time with coins as the pellet bells made too much sound that distracted singers and other musicians. He also may have been the first to use Bengal monitor lizard skin (Varanus bengalensis bengalensis) in place of goat skin on kanjira making the instrument more suitable for Carnatic music.

It was Manpoondia Pillai that introduced a more complex laya into Carnatic music with his kanjira in the form of korvais and moras. He began accompanying bhajans and gained attention with his skill of being able with 1 hand to repeat anything a mridangam player could do with 2 hands at that time. Manpoondia Pillai is also said to have been influenced after hearing the mridangam playing of Narayanaswami Appa. Supposedly, after hearing Appa's playing, Pillai realized the tonal possibilities of melody oriented intricacies. This may have been how the bending technique on kanjira began to develop.

He began traveling around southern India to music centers introducing the kanjira and his skill at bhajan performances. Upon reaching Madras (now Chennai), Pillai was asked to accompany the singer Tiruvayyaru Subramaniya Iyer (also known as Patnam Subramaniya Iyer). Before the concert, Subramaniya Iyer challenged him and wanted to know what he was prepared to give up if he could not play what was sung at the concert. Pillai said that if he failed to play what was sung he was prepared to throw his kanjira into the sea and give it up completely. Subramaniya Iyer then said that if Pillai did play what was sung he would give up his place in the center of the stage to him and stop singing.

Subramaniya Iyer had prepared an intricate pallavi and sang it at the concert. Manpoondia Pillai heard it and played it back and started elaborating on it using his imagination. Subramaniya Iyer accepted defeat and decided to concede his place to Pillai. Manpoondia Pillai humbly declared that it was not his place, and that it was his desire to continue to accompany Subramaniya Iyer's music wherever he sang. The two went on to give numerous performances all over Madras and other places and this established the kanjira as a prominent instrument suited for accompanying in Carnatic music concerts. This is also how the kanjira player began sitting in front of the mridangam player because his skill level was higher than that of the typical mridangist at that time.

Manpoondia Pillai is also responsible for training the first Carnatic singer in his refined rhythmic concepts (Konerirajapuram Vaidyanatha Iyer) as well as training percussionists Dakshinamurthy Pillai, Pazhani Muthiah Pillai, and Seithur Zamindar in his rhythmic style on kanjira and mridangam. This brought a much higher level of performance to the stage in such trio concerts with the singer, mridangam player and kanjira player all trained in this more refined rhythmic style.

In his last years, he renounced worldly life, becoming a sanyasi under the name of Murugananda Swamigal.

Mayavaram Somusundaram (2005)

One of the older performers of kanjira still playing at 78 years old. He began performing Carnatic concerts in 1947 and learned mridangam and kanjira from Boobadhiveli. Originally from Mayavaram, located now in Chennai. He recently passed away in 2012.

 

N. Ganeshkumar (2005)

Born in 1964, Ganesh is a kanjira player specializing in fusion and has released the first instructional DVD for kanjira in the USA. He learned from T.H. Subash Chandran. Located in Chennai. Website.

Nerkunam S. Sankar (2005)

Former student of G. Harishankar. One of the few kanjira players that has learned only kanjira and has never studied mridangam. Originally from Nerkunam, now located in Chennai. Additional e-mail.

Neyveli B. Venkatesh (2005)

One of the few mridangam players that still performs on kanjira. Neyveli travels most of the year for performances in Europe with top artists from India. He is a highly experienced teacher of both mridangam and kanjira and has trained students all over Europe. He learned mridangam from A. S. Balaraman and kanjira from M.N. Kandaswami Pillai. Originally from Neyveli, now located in Chennai. YouTube Video 1.

Karthik Venkataraman (2007)

Kanjira player who studies with Raja Rao, located in Toronto.

Guruvayur Dorai (2005)

Located in Chennai. Mainly a mridangam artist but occassionally performs on kanjira. Born on July 2, 1935, Dorai started to play the mridangam at a very early age. His gurus were Sri Palghat Subba Iyer and Sri Palani Subramania Pillai. Guruvayur Dorai has played in almost all the prestigious music meetings in India and has traveled extensively all over the world. Carnatic music lovers in the US are familiar with his style since his first tour in 1974. Dorai is the recipient of numerous awards including the Kalaimamani - a title conferred in 1990 by the Tamil Nadu government, Asthana Vidwan of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam in 1991, and Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1997.

Papanasam S. Sethuraman (2005)

Learned kanjira with Kalaimamani and Mayavaram Somusundaram and is self taught on mridangam. Performs regularly in Carnatic music and fusion, especially with Ghatam S. Karthick's Heart Beat. Originally from Thirunellveli, now located in Chennai. YouTube Video 1.

T. Vinayakram Selvaganesh (2005)

Born in 1972, Selvaganesh (also known as Chella S. Ganesh) is primarily a kanjira player specializing in fusion and perhaps is the best known kanjira artist outside of India having worked with Remember Shakti, Jonas Hellborg, Zakir Hussain, Free ~ Winds, Andrew Lum, and Rikhy Ray. He is also the first kanjira artist to have a CD released under his own name. In India, he works mainly in fusion and session work for film soundtracks and composes his own music via computer. His playing technique is unusual in that his touch is light and he often plays the open tone (dum) with an upstroke with his three fingers as opposed to the traditional classical technique that all other kanjira artists learned, which is to play the open tone with a down stroke of the index finger. Learned kanjira, ghatam, mridangam, and konnakol with his father T. H. "Vikku" Vinayakram but primarily with T. H. Subash Chandran. In 2007, he released the introductory DVD with John McLaughlin on basic solkattu called The Gateway to Rhythm. Located in Chennai. Alternate e-mail. YouTube Video 1.

 

Thanjavur Srinivas (2004)

 

Ghatam Brother R. N. Prakash (2004)

Originally from Bangalore but now located in London, the Ghatam Brothers are R. N. Prakash (pictured above) and R. N. Prathap. They learned from Bangalore Vidwan K. N. Krishna Murthy. Both of the Ghatam Brothers are equally skilled on kanjira, mridangam, ghatam, and konnakol. Located in London, England, UK.

C.K. Shyam Sundar

(1938-2005)

C.K. Shyam Sundar learnt mridangam and kanjira initially from Thanjavur Ramadasa Rao and became a kanjira disciple of Pudhukottai Swaminatha Pillai. He accompanied Chithoor Subramaniya Pillai, Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer, Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar and many other stalwarts at a very young age. He has played kanjira along mridangam legends such as Palani Subramania Pillai, Kuthalam Siva Vadivel Pillai, T.K. Murthy, Palghat Raghu, and Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman. He was a B-High grade artist for All India Radio and he worked as a lecturer in mridangam at the Tamil Nadu Music College, Madurai and he became a lecturer in kanjira at The Government Music College, Adyar, Chennai. He was awarded Kalaimamani in 1986 and received the Guruvayur Dorai Trust award in December 2004. Originally from Chittoor, relocated to Chennai during his career.

Delhi Raman Srinivasan

Mridangam player who also plays kanjira. One of the only Tamil kanjira players located in New Delhi in North India (where he was born). He learned mridangam and kanjira from V. Chandrasekaran, U.K. Sivaraman & Guruvayur Dorai.

Thenkasi H. Paramasivam (2005)

Learned mridangam from Thenkasi K. Hariharan, kanjira from Pudukottai Paranbariyam, and mridangam, kanjira, and konnakol from Trichy R. Tayumaravai. Located in Trichy.

Thirukadaiyur T. K. Dakshinamoorthy (2005)

Kanjira player mainly for violinist Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan. Born in 1926, he is one of the older players still performing today at 80 years of age, and he sits in front of the mridangam player. His guru was Kuthaalam Siva Vadivel Pillai. Originally from Thirukadaiyur, now located in Chennai.

Thiruvayur Saikrishnan (2005)

Learned kanjira and mridangam from Kumbakonam Rajapa Iyer. Originally from Thiruvarur, now located in Chennai.

Thrikakkara Y.N. Shantharam (2005)

One of the few kanjira players from Kerala. Shantharaman learned mridangam from Serpala Gopalakrishnan and kanjira from Parashala Ravi. Located in Kerala.

Tirupur G. Sridhar Kumar (2002)

A mridangam player who also performs on kanjira, often with Smt. Nithyasree Mahadevan. Located in Chennai.

Trichy V.V.S. Manian (2005)

One of the few performers that accompanies on kanjira and konnakol. Learned mridangam, kanjira, and konnakol from Trichy Thayumnavar. Originally from Trichy, now located in Chennai.

Trivandrum D. Rajagopal (2005)

Mainly a mridangam player who also performs on kanjira. Learned mridangam from B. Dorai Swami and mridangam and kanjira with Sri R. Vaidyanathan. Originally from Trivandrum in Kerala, now located in Chennai.

Trichy Sankaran (2001)

Primarily a mridangam player of the highest caliber, Trichy also performs on kanjira in Canada and the USA. Learned from Palani Subramania Pillai. Originally from Trichy, now located in Toronto, Canada. Website.

 

V. Nagarajan (c. 1980)

Born on the July 30, 1930 and died in February 4, 2002. Son of violin player Sangeetha Kalanidhi Sri. Papa K. S. Venkatramiah. Nagarajan was a mridangam player that developed a nerve problem in his right hand so he switched to playing kanjira left handed. He learned mridangam from Tanjore Sri Vaidyanatha Iyer for a few years and then with Palghat T. S. Mani Iyer for several years for both mridangam and kanjira. Palghat T. S. Mani Iyer taught him the traditional methods and techniques of kanjira. His first concert was at Trichy with the Alathoor Brothers in 1950. He taught kanjira at Wesleyan University in Connecticut as a Visiting Professor in 1967 and in 1974 he taught at the University of Berkeley-California.

 

JALATHARANGAM

Anayampatti S. Ganesan (2005)

Ganesan is 1 of just 3 jalatharangam players left still performing in southern India. He plays a set of 19 antique porcelain bowls from China that are 100 years old. He is also a singer and violinist. His was the only jalatharangam performance for the 2005-2006 concert season in Madras from Nov. - Jan. some 3000 concerts at 75 locations (and only because of a cancellation, he was arranged to play to fill in!). Located in Chennai.

 

Nemani Somayajulu (2004)

Nemani Somayajulu comes from a musical family and learned jalatharangam from Anayampatti Dhandapani. Jalatharangam consists of several porcelain bowels of different sizes, arranged in a semicircle before the performer. They are filled with different amounts of water in order to tune each bowel to a specific pitch and each is struck with a pair of wooden sticks. He also plays mridangam and ghatam. He is based in North India in the city of Hyderabad in the state of Andhra Pradesh and works for All India Radio. Google Video 1.

GHATAM

Bangalore K. Venkataram (2000)

One of the oldest and most respected ghatam players from Bangalore in Karnataka, South India (born c. 1934). He began a Percussive Arts Centre in Bangalore in 1981 to bring not only Carnatic and Indian percussionists together in the spirit of learning and respect of the American Percussive Arts Society but also helped expose Indian percussionists to other percussion styles outside of India by organizing concerts and seminars at the Percussive Arts Centre in Bangalore (and is now run by his son, mridangam artist V. Krishna since his death). Between 1994-2002, he edited and published 7 volumes of the Tala Vadya Seminar, which featured articles on the history and style of Indian percussion and percussionists (similar to the Percussive Notes Research Edition from the USA).

T.H. "Vikku" Vinayakram (2001)

Born in 1932, Vinayakram is the most recorded ghatam player in India and the most well known ghatam player outside of India. Between the late 1950s and the 1990s, Vinayakram has performed and recorded with all of the important male and female vocalists and instrumentalists in South India. Since the early 1970s, he has recorded and performed with many jazz and pop musicians in the West, such as Shakti, Remember Shakti, Mickey Hart, and Airto Moreira, among others. He was part of the first performance of South Indian music at the United Nations in New York with M.S. Subbulakshmi in 1966 and he was the first South Indian musician to win a Grammy Award for recording with pop musician Mickey Hart in 1991. He has a school in the Triplicane area of Chennai in South India called Sri Jaya Ganesha Thala Vadya Vidyalaya Percussion School. He learned ghatam, morsing, kanjira, and konnakol from his father T.R. Harihara Sharma. In 2008, he reeased the dual instructional DVD Ultimate Guru: The Language and Technique of South Indian Percussion Vol. 1. Vikku prefers the Maana Madurai ghatam. Located in Chennai. Shakti YouTube Video 1.

T.H. Subash Chandran (2005)

Younger brother of T.H. "Vikku" Vinayakram, Subash is a highly experienced teacher in the West and in India. He has trained many Western percusisonists in ghatam, kanjira, konnakol, and other percussion instruments. He learned from his father T.R. Harihara Sharma. Subash is not only a respected ghatam player in India but one of the few remaining high level artists for konnakol (solkattu performance). He has a school at the Sankara Apartments in the West Mambalam area of Chennai. He released the first instructional DVD for ghatam and konnakol in 2007 called The Art of Ghatam and Konnakol. Subash prefers the Maana Madurai ghatam. Located in Chennai. Website. YouTube Video 1.

V. Umashankar (2000)

Son of T.H. "Vikku" Vinayakram and a specialist in fusion music. He recorded with his brothers V. Selvaganesh and V. Mahesh with Jonas Hellborg and Shawn Lane. Learned from his father and T.H. Subash Chandran. Umashankar prefers the Maana Madurai ghatam. Located in Chennai. YouTube Video 1.

T.V. Vasan (2005)

1949-2010

Younger brother of singer and mridangam master T.V. Gopalakrishnan. T.V. Vasan was trained in mridangam, pakhawaj, maddalam, thavil, kanjira, and ghatam and also taught vocalists. He learned from his brother and has been an All India Radio A grade artist for 33 years. As a ghatam artist he was part of the legendary group Sruthi Laya with Karaikudi R. Mani on mridangam, G. Harishankar on kanjira, T.V. Vasan on ghatam, and Srirangam S. Kannan on morsing. Equally skilled on mridangam, he was constantly performing several concerts a day in the 2005-2006 season. Vasan prefered the Madras ghatam. Originally from Kerala, relocated in Chennai.

E.M. Subramaniam (2004)

E.M. Subramaniam learned ghatam from his father and started playing at the age of 8. He has accompanied almost all of the senior musicians of South India including top mridangam players such as Palghat T.A.S. Mani Iyer, Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman, and T.K. Murthy, among others, and top tabla artists of North India such as Allarakha Khan, Kishen Maharaj, and Zakir Hussain, among others. He has traveled to many countries including the USA, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, and the Far East, among others. He has been a grade A ghatam artist of All India Radio for the past 39 years. He was awarded the title of "Kalaimamani" by the government of Tamil Nadu in South India in 2000. Subramaniam prefers the Maana Madurai ghatam. Located in Chennai. YouTube Video 1.

S.V. Ramani (2005)


Born on April 30, 1966, S.V. Ramani learned from his father Sri P. R. Seshamani and later became the disciple of Sri Guruvayur Dorai. He holds an A-Grade in ghatam and B-High in mridangam. He has been accompanying top Carnatic artists for the past 32 years in India and has performed in USA, UK, Germany, Australia, France, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, and Sri Lanka. He has served as teacher and head of the percussion department in Kala Mandir, Singapore, and he is currently heading Swaralaya in Chennai since 2000. He has won many awards. S.V. Ramani plays a Madras ghatam and is located in Chennai. YouTube Video 1.

Ganesh Anandan (1990)

Ganesh Anandan is a very creative musician that plays unique music on a variety of Indian and non-Indian percussion instruments including ghatam, kanjira, thavil, mridangam, and frame drums. He is also a gifted composer and instrument designer. He was born and raised in Bangalore, south India, where he studied Carnatic music for several years namely the venu with G. Venugopal and the mridangam with K.K. Parthasarthy. In 1976, he moved to Canada where he studied music theory and piano privately. He took part in a variety of workshops including Cuban bata rhythms, Brazilian samba, and was a member of the University of Montreal's Indonesian gamelan ensemble for a year. Since then, Ganesh has returned to India on several occasions to continue Carnatic percussion studies with T.N. Shashikumar at the renowned Karnataka College of Percussion in Bangalore studying the thavil and kanjira. In Canada and the USA, he had workshops on the bodhran and tar with Glen Velez (USA) and tammorra and tamburello with Alessandra Belloni (USA) and Carlo Rizzo (Italy). Since 1994, Ganesh has been transposing south Indian rhythmic concepts and drumming techniques onto tambourines, frame drums, and alternative surfaces. He has developed a dynamic personal playing style that combines the Carnatic method with a variety of personal finger drumming innovations. Ganesh prefers the Bangalore ghatam. Originally from Bangalore, now located in Montreal, Canada.

Ghatam S. Karthick (2006)

Part of the younger generation of new and highly skilled players, Ghatam S. Karthick holds several music degrees and performs with many of the leading Carnatic artists as well as having his own fusion group Heartbeat. He learned from T.H. "Vikku" Vinayakram and T.H. Subash Chandran. He is an A grade ghatam artist by All India Radio (AIR) and also sings. Karthick prefers the Maana Madurai ghatam. Located in Chennai. Website. YouTube Video 1. YouTube Video 2.

 

Ghatam Vaidyanathan Suresh (2006)

Part of the younger generation of new and highly skilled players, Ghatam V. Suresh learned from T.V. Gopalakrishnan and works with the leading Carnatic and fusion artists as well as some Hindustani and jugal bandi artists. He is skilled on mridangam, kanjira, thavil, konnakkol, dholak, ghatam, and is a vocalist. He is known for a special technique called double gamaka where he can produce the bass notes with equal ease with both the right and left wrists. Suresh prefers the Maana Madurai ghatam. He occasionally performs on the ghatam tharangam (a set of tuned ghatam). Located in Chennai. Website.

Sukanya Ramgopal (2005)

One of India's few performing Carnatic female ghatam artists. Sukanya stared as a violinist with T.H. Gurumurthy (brother of T.H. "Vikku" Vinayakram) before switching to mridangam and ghatam with T.H. "Vikku" Vinayakram for 20 years. In 1992, she was the first to perform on the ghatam tharangam (a set of tuned ghatam). She has performed with the all-female instrumental ensembles in India called Sri Taal Tarang and Karnataka Mahila Laya Madhuri. Sukanya prefers the Maana Madurai ghatam. Located in Bangalore.

Kottayam Unnikrishnan (2005)

K. Unnikrishnan is a mridangam player who also performs on ghatam. He learned from T.V. Vasan. Unnikrishnan prefers the Madras ghatam. Located in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala.

 

Adichanalloor M. Anil Kumar (2006)

Anil Kumar is equally a vocalist and ghatam player. His technique on ghatam is amazing in that he has complete control over the intonation of his instrument and can produce all of the notes of a given ragam being performed on the stage on his ghatam perfectly in tune. Anil prefers the Maana Madurai ghatam. Located in Kerala.

M.R. Manjanatha (2005)

Manjanatha is a ghatam player who also plays tabla, mridangam, kanjira, and dholak. He prefers the Mysore ghatam. Located in Mysore.

N. Najaram (2006)

Ghatam artist who plays the Maana Madurai ghatam.

Udupi Balakrishnan (2006)

Mridangam player who also plays Maana Madurai ghatam.

 

Tripunithura N. Radhakrishnan (2003)

Tripunithura N. Radhakrishnan was the disciple of the late Shri G. Narayanaswamy (his father), Shri T. V. Gopalakrishnan (his cousin), and Shri Parassala Ravi. He started accompanying artists on the ghatam at the age of eleven. YouTube Video 1.

Ghatam Brother R.N. Prathap (2004)

Originally from Bangalore but now located in London, the Ghatam Brothers are R.N. Prathap (pictured above) and R.N. Prakash. They learned from Bangalore Vidwan K.N. Krishna Murthy. Both of the Ghatam Brothers are equally skilled on kanjira, mridangam, ghatam, and konnakol. The Ghatam Brothers prefer the Madras ghatam. Located in London, England, UK.

Ghatam Giridhar Udupa (2004)

Ghatam Giridhar Udupa is one of the younger generation of new and amazing percussion artists in Bangalore. He began learning at age 4 from his father the mridangist Vidwan Ullur Nagendra Udupa. He is currently a disciple of Vidushi Ghatam Sukanya Ramgopal and Vidwan Ghatam V. Suresh. Udupa performs on the Maana Madurai ghatam and also performs on mridangam, kanjira, morsing, and konnakol. Apart from playing Carnatic music, he has performed in many fusion, jazz, blues, flamenco, symphonic, Celtic, world music, and jugal bandi concerts and has been part of numerous international music festivals with renowned Indian musicians like Dr. L. Subramaniam, Pandit Jasraj, and Ganesh & Kumaresh, among others. Located in Bangalore. Website. YouTube Video 1.

Trichy K. Murali (2004)

K. Murali first studied mridangam with his mother. Then he learned from Trichy Thayumanavan who told him to switch to ghatam. He is an A grade ghatam artist with All India Radio. Originally from Trichy, now located in Chennai.

A.S. Murali (2007)

A. S. Murali plays a Madras ghatam.

 

 

Glenn "Rusty" Gillette (2000)

One of the few American ghatam players (another being John Bergamo), "Rusty" plays a Maana Madurai ghatam and is also a jazz pianist. He was the instructor of traditional South Indian music at San Diego State University in California, USA until 2005. He began his study of South Indian percussion with T. Ranganathan at the California Institute of the Arts in 1970 and then studied ghatam in India with T. H. "Vikku" Vinayakram. He has performed with noted musicians including T. Viswanathan, T. Ranganathan, Jon Higgins, L. Subramaniam, and Trichy Sankaran and also specializes in mridangam accompaniment for Bharatha Natyam, a unique form of classical South Indian dance. A talented teacher & lecturer, "Rusty" has taught South Indian rhythmic skills and music for The Center for World Music, The Balasarasvati School of Music and Dance, The American Society for Eastern Arts, The College Music Society, and University of California, San Diego. Located in San Diego, California, USA. YouTube Video 1.

MORSING

Srirangam S. Kannan (2005)

Kannan started music at the age of 33. He became interested in morsing (started being used in Carnatic music since 1930s-1940s), quit his bank job, and began studying with a local mridangam player how to play laya (rhythm). he learned from Pudukottai Mahadevan and later Karaikudi R. Mani. Within 6 months he was accompanying concerts on morsing and has been doing so ever since. He came to prominence as a member of the legendary group Sruthi Laya which include Karaikudi R. Mani on mridangam, G. Harishankar on kanjira, T.V. Vasan on ghatam, and Srirangam S. Kannan on morsing. Located in Chennai. YouTube Video 1.

Bangalore B. Rajasekar (2006)

Rajasekar is one of the prominent and skilled morsing artists from Bangalore. He regularly tours outside of India. Located in Bangalore.

Kottayam S. Muralidharan (2006)

Muralidharan is one of the most sought after morsing artists in Kerala. He is uniquely skilled in that he has the ability to play morsing and recite konnakol simultaneously during his solos. Amazing player. Located in Kerala.

N. Sundar (2005)

Sundar is equally skilled as a morsing artist and tabla player specializing in Carnatic music and fusion. He is a member of Ghatam S. Karthick's fusion ensemble known as Heart Beat. Located in Chennai. YouTube Video 1.

M. Raja Raman (2006)

Raja Raman is one of the older morsing players still performing. He has performed and recorded almost exclusively with violinist Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan since the 1970s. Located in Chennai.

M. Gururaj (2003)

M. Gururaj learned mridangam and morsing from T.A.S. Mani of Bangalore. He has been a member of the Drums of India ensemble of T.A.S. Mani and has traveled widely abroad in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, USA, Canada, Scotland, Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Germany. Gururaj has provided accompaniment to many stalwarts from South India and has been a prime morsing accompanist in the concerts of Flute S. Shashank. He is currently on the staff of All India Radio, and is located in Mangalore.

 

 

Malaikottai R.M. Deenadayalu

Malaikottai R.M. Deenadayalu is a respected morsing artist from Trichy, Tamil Nadu. He is a disciple of Trichy R. Thayumanavan and now studies under Sri. B. Harikumar. He has accompanied many of the leading Carnatic artists and musicians in India and abroad. He is an A grade artist of All India Radio, Trichy and has received many awards and honorific titles such as Sangunatha Chakravarthy, Morsing Laya Boopathy, and Asthana vidwan of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam.

Pramath Kiran (2007)

Pramath Kiran hails from a musically inclined family. His father is a prolific composer and his mother a great music enthusiast. Being brought up in an atmosphere of art and culture, Pramath took to Music early in life. He started with learning Vocal under Smt.Vijayalakshmi of Bangalore. Discovering his inherent talent for Rhythm, Pramath was put under the tutelage of Vidwan Anoor Anathakrishna Sharma who guided him on the nuances of Laya and morsing and Shri Uday Raj Karpur for tabla. Pramath is also a multi-percussionist and plays a variety of Indian and western percussion instruments. Located in Bangalore. Website.

CARNATIC TABLA

V.B. Madhusudhanan

V.B. Madhusudhanan is one of the top Carnatic tabla players in Chennai. Tabla is a North Indian instrument but it is played all over India. In the South, tabla players sometimes learn to play Carnatic style phrases on tabla. V.B. Madhusudhanan is a top studio player, plays Hindustani music as well as Carnatic, and is a great fusion percussionist. His is known for his Carnatic tabla work with the great ensemble Sruthi Laya led by Karaikudi R. Mani. Located in Chennai.

N. Seetharaman

N. Seetharaman is a great Tamil tabla player located in Chennai. He is equally versed at Hindustani and Carnatic music and also works as a studio percussionist. He is familiar with pakawaj techniques and rhythms as well as dholak, mridangam, tabla, and tape (Tamil frame drum folk music).

KONNAKOL

Tiruchi Tayumanovar (2005)

Tiruchi Tayumanovar is the oldest living konnakol artist in India. Located in Trichy.

T.H. Subash Chandran (2005)

Younger brother of T.H. "Vikku" Vinayakram, Subash is a highly experienced teacher in the West and in India. He has trained many Western percussionists in ghatam, kanjira, konnakol, and other percussion instruments. He learned from his father T.R. Harihara Sharma. Subash is not only a respected ghatam player in India but one of the few remaining high level artists for konnakol (solkattu performance). He has a school at the Sankara Apartments in the West Mambalam area of Chennai. He released the first instructional DVD for ghatam and konnakol in 2007. Subash prefers the Maana Madurai ghatam. Located in Chennai. Website. YouTube Video 2

 

H. Ramakrishnan

Born in 1941 and trained on mridangam by Palani Subramania Pillai and Karaikudi R. Mani, Ramakrishnan also plays kanjira and is a Carnatic vocalist but he is also known as one of the few remaining konnakol artists. In recognition of his talent, he has been awarded the Kalaimamani award by the Government of Tamil Nadu, India for his contributions to the art of konnakol. Located in Illinois, USA.

THAVIL

Valayapatti A.R. Subramaniam (2005)

Valayapatti A.R. Subramaniam, born 1940, is the senior most top thavil artist in India since the 1960s. He has performed and recorded for many years with violinist Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan and is a master of all the advanced thavil techniques. He learned from Mannargudi M.N. Rajagopal Pillai. Located in Madurai.

Haridwaramangalam Sri A.K. Palanivel (2000)

Born in 1948 in Haridwaramangalam in Thanjavur, A.K. Palanivel received his training in thavil under his father S. Kumaravel Pillai and T.G. Muthukumaa Swamy Pillai. He has performed widely in India and abroad accompanying senior artists and participating in innovative ensembles of instrumental music and also dance. For his outstanding contribution, he has been variously honoured by Sabhas and institutions, which include the Kalaimamani Award of the Government of Tamil Nadu. He was the first thavil artist to receive the pretigious Padma Shri award in 2004. Website. YouTube Video 1.

K. Sekar (2005)

K. Sekar is a thavil artist who not only plays for nagaswaram wedding concerts but also accompanies Carnatic instrumental concerts and performs in fusion. Great player. Located in Triplicane area of Chennai.

Ramesh Shotham (1990)

Ramesh Shotham was born in Madras, South India. He began his musical career as a self-taught rock drummer with Human Bondage in 1970. In the mid-1970s, he learned pakhawaj from Arjun Shejwal in Mumbai and then returned to Madras (Chennai), to study thavil with K.P. Ramu. He studied other South Indian classical percussion instruments such as ghatam, mridangam, kanjira, and morsing at the Karnataka College of Percussion with Professor T.A.S. Mani. In 1980, Ramesh went to Europe with the Indo-jazz-fusion group known as Jazz Yatra Septet to perform at various festivals. The group made a recording titled Sangam in 1981. Since 1981, Ramesh Shotham has lived and worked in Europe. During the last 20 years, he has performed on over 120 recordings and has worked for almost all the leading TV and radio stations in Germany and Europe. Originally from Chennai, now located in Germany. Website. YouTube Video 1.

Fusion & Studio Percussionist

Anandan Sivamani (2000)

A. Sivamani is a percussionist that specializes in fusion and studio work. He plays mainly Western drums but does not use his feet and prefers to stand up while playing a large set up of instruments. He has studied the basics of Carnatic music and jazz and mixes these in his music. He has worked with Egberto Gismonti, James Asher, Louis Banks, Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan, Remember Shakti, Zakir Hussain, T.H. "Vikku" Vinayakram, and A.R. Rahman, among others. Born in Chennai but located in Mumbai now. YouTube Video 1.

Percussion Ensembles of Kerala - Traditional Temple Music

Guru Krupa Kalakendram - Chenda Melam Ensemble (2007)

Guru Krupa Kalakendram is 12 piece all-female chenda melam ensemble from Nedumangadu in Kerala. They have performed all over India including Chennai, Mumbai, Calcutta, and Kerala. They are the disciples of Bhanu Asan.

Chenda Melam Ensemble (2005)

This group played chenda melam music with such instruments as chenda (stick beaten rope tensioned drums, usually 2 types of tuning low and high) 3 kombu (brass horns tuned in unison & playing in thirds), and a line of ilathalam (thick small cymbals) players. Chenda melam is featured at temple festivals in Kerala. The second row of chenda are tuned low and play rhythmic pulsations outlining the talam while the cymbals in the back row also play subdivisions outlining the talam, which shifts from 4 to 6 to 7 beats before repeating in a cycle. The front line of Chenda are tuned higher and are played with a pair of curved sticks in a typically fast Indian manner. Almost rudimental by Western standards. The kombu (horns) interject blasts of sound at certain intervals as a cycle is climaxing and beginning to repeat. Native to Kerala, located in Kerala. Contact info:

Mr. Vatta Kadruravi (“Ravi”)
Phone: (001-91) 04923-266583
Cell: (001-91) 9447-675009

YouTube Video of Other Chenda Melam Event.

Kshetrakala - Panchavadyam Ensemble (2005)

This group played panchavadyam music, which is another type of temple ensemble from Kerala that uses five musical instruments being the maddalam (hour glass shaped drum played with hands on both sides pictured above), idakka (hour glass shaped drum played with a stick), thimila (long cone shaped drums tuned very high and played with the hands pictured at top), kombu (brass horns), and ilathalam (thick small cymbals). High degree of interlocking between the various drums and shifting of meters is common. Native to Kerala, located in Chennai. Contact info:

Kshetrakala – Kerala Temple Programs
No. 2 Bajanai Kovil 3rd Street
Choolaimedu, Chennai 600 094
Tamil Nadu, India

Phone: (011-91) 98414-21124

Mattanur Sankaran Kutty on Chenda (2004)

Mattanur Sankaran Kutty on chenda, a top percussionist from the state of Kerala in South India and has traveled to several countries of the world in traditional Kerala percussion ensembles and in a special jugal bandi percussion group with Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman. Located in Kerala.

The chenda is a hollow cylindrical drum made of softwood with both ends covered with cowhide. The tuning of the instrument is adjusted by moving small bamboo rings to tension the rope on the shell. The chenda is played by beating the upper skin with two slightly curved sticks. This instrument is traditionally a part of the chenda melam percussion orchestra of Kerala, which accompanies some of the temple festivals there.

Porur Unnikrishnan on Thimila (2004)

Porur Unnikrishnan on Idakka (2004)

Porur Unnikrishnan on thimila (top photo) and edakka (bottom photo), a top multipercussionist from the state of Kerala in South India and has traveled to several countries of the world in traditional Kerala percussion ensembles and in a special jugal bandi percussion group with Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman. Located in Kerala.

The thimila is a cone shaped drum made from polished jackwood. Leather braces hold the drumheads made of calf hide. The leather braces are also twined round the waist of the drum. This arrangement helps to adjust the tuning, which is very high.

The idakka is an hourglass shaped drum made of wood. The drumheads are held in position by interlacing rope. The playing technique involves simultaneously beating the drum with one hand with a stick while manipulating the strings with the other hand to create pitch changes. These 2 instruments are traditionally part of the panchavadyam percussion orchestra of Kerala, which accompanies some of the temple festivals there.

MRIDANGAM

A.V. Anand (2006)

Left-handed mridangam player, the absolute top in rhythmic complexity on the instrument in the state of Karnataka. His calculations are extremely refined. Located in Bangalore.

 

B. Sivaraman (2006)

Born on June 6, 1972, B. Sivaraman hails from a family of musicians. His father Sethalapathy Balsubhramaniam is a disciple of the great composer Papanasam Sivan. B. Sivaraman is a mridangam A-grade artist for All India Radio. He learned from Kumbakonam Sri Rajappa Iyer for 6 years and has been a prime disciple of Sangeetha Kalanidhi Shri T.K. Murthy since 1987. He has won many awards including the Yuva Kala Bharathi and Nadha Oli. He has accompanied Ganesh & Kumaresh and Zakir Hussain, among others. Located in Chennai.

Guruvayur Dorai (2005)

Located in Chennai. Born on July 2, 1935, Dorai started to play the mridangam at a very early age. His gurus were Sri Palghat Subba Iyer and Sri Palani Subramania Pillai. Guruvayur Dorai has played in almost all the prestigious music meetings in India and has traveled extensively all over the world. Carnatic music lovers in the US are familiar with his style since his first tour in 1974. Dorai is the recipient of numerous awards including the Kalaimamani - a title conferred in 1990 by the Tamil Nadu government, Asthana Vidwan of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam in 1991, and Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1997. YouTube Video 1.

J. Vaidyanathan (2005)

Located in Chennai. J. Vaidyanathan, son of the late Sangitha Kalanidhi Sri D.K. Jayaraman, and had his advanced training from Sangitha Kalanidhi Dr. T.K. Murthy. He has won several prizes and awards and has accompanied Smt. M.S. Subbalakshmi, Smt. D.K. Pattammal, Smt. M.L. Vasanthakumari, Sri D.K. Jayaraman, Dr. S. Ramanathan, Sri K.V. Narayanaswamy, Sri B. Rajam Iyer, Sri T.N. Krishnan, Sri M.S. Gopalakrishnan. He has given performances all over India and in the USA, USSR, Singapore, Muscat, Mauritius, and Australia. YouTube Video 1.

K. V. Prasad (2005)

Located in Chennai. K. V. Prasad commenced his mridangam training at the age of six from the Eranakulam Narayana Iyer. He had further training from Professor Parassala Ravi, Principal of the Palakkad Music College. He received advanced training from Sangeetha Kalanidhi T. K. Murthy. K. V. Prasad is a versatile percussionist and also plays other instruments such as tabla, Western percussion, and congas. Shri Prasad has been a long time accompanist to M. S. Subbulakshmi late in her career. He has also been a favored accompanist to musicians such as Yesudos, Unnikrishnan, and A. Kanyakumari, among others. His mridangam playing is marked by soft and deft strokes with a clean handling of the instrument and unobtrusive accompaniment. He is widely traveled and has played in many international festivals. He is a staff artist at All India Radio in Chennai.

Karaikudi R. Mani (2005)

Located in Chennai. Mani was born on September 11, 1945 at Karaikudi to Sri T. Ramanatha Iyer and Smt. Pattammal. Mani had his initial training in mridangam under Karaikudi Sri. Rangu Iyengar and later under Sri T. R. Harihara Sharma and Sri K. M. Vaidyanathan. He received his first award when he was 18 at the National level from Dr. Radhakrishnan, the President of India. He is a recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi National Award for 1998. Mani was also responsible for the formation of the musical orchestration of cultures called "Melodyssey" consisting of 40 artists of South Indian, North Indian, and Western instruments along with voices. This innovative orchestration won widespread appreciation. Mani has also introduced the Laya Ratna percussion duet concerts, which have been performed in most of the leading forums in India. He was the co-founder of the leading group modern Indian music in the 1980s-1990s called Sruthi Laya with G. Harishankar, T.V. Vasan, and Srirangan S. Kannan, and has started a publication called Layamani Layam. He has founded an teaching institution named Sruthi Laya Kendra Natarajaalaya with Smt. Rajeswari Sainath (a niece of Karaikudi R. Mani). YouTube Video 1.

Kumbakonam K. Ramakrishnan (2005)

Studied mridangam with Kumbakonam Shri M. Rajappa Iyer. K. Ramakrishnan is a B High Grade All India Radio mridangam artist. Born in Kumbakonam but now located in Chennai.

M.R. Sainath (2005)

M.R. Sainath learnrf mridangam from his father, Sri M.R. Rajappa. He is a B High grade mridangam artist and a musician on All India Radio staff since 1984. He was the recepient of title "Layakalanidhi" from Bhandoop Fine Arts, an organization in Mumbai and the Aasthana Vidwan of Sri Ganapathi Sachchidananda Ashram in Mysore, Karnataka.

Madipakkam Suresh (2006)

Madipakkam Suresh had his initial training on the mridangam under Kumbakonam Narayanaswamy Iyer. He became a disciple of Karaikudi Mani in 1988. Suresh became the instructor of Sruthilaya Seva Trust, a center for Carnatic percussion arts in Kodambakkam. He taught there until 1997 and then began accompanying all of the major Carnatic artists. He has traveled throughout India with his guru and has accompanied leading artists. He has done lecture-demonstrations at universities in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, and Philadelphia in the USA and has performed at the World Drums Festival in Toronto, Canada and the World Tamil Movement Cultural Festival in 2000 in Montreal, Canada. He is an "A" grade mridangam artist. Located in Chennai.

N. Manoj Shiva (2005)

Born on February 26, 1972, Manoj had initial training in mridangam under Kumbakonam Rjappa Iyer and Srirangarajapuram Jayaraman from age four, and he received advanced training in mridangam from Palghat R. Raghu since June 1992. He was awarded a Gold Medal for mridangam playing by Y.M.C.A.-Chennai at the age seven and has won the first prize for mridangam accompaniment in concerts from institutions like The Music Academy, and Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, among others. He is an "A" grade mridangam artist by All India Radio. Located in Chennai.

Karukkurichi N. Mohanaraman (2006)

Karukkurichi N. Mohanaraman learned from Sri K. M. Vaidhyanathan and Thinniyam Krishnan. He is an A grade mridangam artist for All India Radio and has won awards such as Yuva Kala Bharathi and Nadha Kanal. Located in Chennai.

Narayanaswami Appa (c. 1800s)

Born in Thanjavur, he started his career as a copyist in state service. Later, he learned mridangam from Sivaswamy Appa. His mastery was unparalleled and melodious and even the very fast and soft patterns carried a telling clarity and balance. He embellished concerts in which both the singers and audience realized the beauty of music from the way he complimented the songs. It is said that the left head of his mridangam (bass head) was tuned to the exact lower octave note of the right head (treble head). He would play mridangam for sometime and always check the tuning of his meettu (nam), chapu and thoppi (left side) with rava before any concert. The greatness of his fingers were so that it is said that his tuning would never go off. He was never known to have tuned a mridangam in the concert hall with the stone. He kept about 8 mridangams ranging from pitches "D" to "A". Even the artistes tuned their thambura and violin to his drone note. He also realized that the tip of the fingers had a significant role in producing nadham, and he avoided touching hard materials, for example the lintel of his cart was covered with velvet and if he needed to open doors of a train, he asked somebody to open it for him. He was also an accomplished singer, composer, flautist, and jalatharagam player. He accompanied great masters like Maha Vaidyanatha Iyer (1844--1893), Patnam Subramanya Iyer (1845–1902), Sarabha Sasthri, and Veena Seshanna.

Neyveli R. Narayanan (2005)

Located in Chennai. Narayanan learned mridangam from S. K. Ganesa Pillai, the late Thanjavur Upendran and mridangam legend Padmashri Umayalpuram Sri K. Sivaraman. He has accompanied T.N. Seshagopalan, T.V. Sankaranarayanan, T.R. Subramanian, K.V. Narayanaswamy, Trichur V. Ramachandran, O.S. Thiagarajan, Mandolin U. Srinivas, Ravikiran, Flute N. Ramani, and many others. He has on commercial recordings released by labels such as Sangeetha, H.M.V., and A.V.M. Music India, among others. Narayanan has performed in all the leading sabhas in India. He has also won acclaim in other countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia, Singapore, United Kingdom, Germany, Dubai, Muscat, Malaysia, Switzerland, New Zealand, Holland, and Hong Kong (China). He has also participated in many national and international festivals such as the Festival of Asia (London), National Arts Council (Singapore), among others. He is an 'A' Grade mridangam artist. The Bharat Kalachar gave him the Yuva Kala Bharathi award in 1997. Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha (Vani Mahal) gave him the Award for Excellence in mridangam in 1997. He also received the Thanjavur Vaidyanatha Iyer Award from Raagam Fine Arts in 1999. YouTube Video 1.

I. Sivakumar (2005)

Sivakumar is an excellent mridangam accompanist. Sri Sivakumar hails from a family of famous musicians. He is the son of Gana Saraswathi Smt. D. K. Pattammal and son-in-law of mridangam maestro Palghat Sri Mani Iyer. He is the disciple of Palghat Kunjumani and later had advanced training from Palghat Sri Mani Iyer. He has been accompanying all of the senior Carnatic artists for the last 50 years. He often accompanies his daughter, vocalist Nithyasree Mahadevan. YouTube Video 1.

P. Satish Kumar (2005)

Satish was inspired to learn mridangam by his mother, Padmavathy, a renowned violinist. He studied with Sri Ramachandramurthy, V.A. Swami, and V. Narasimhan in Andhra Pradesh. He is an A-grade (staff) artist of All India Radio in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. He has accompanied leading musicians and won many awards. Located in Chennai.

Poongulam Subramanyam (2005)

Poongulam S. Subramanian was born in the year 1966. He learned mridangam from his father Poongulam R. Sabesaiyer and afterwards with Raja Rao. In 1991, he received the Best Percussionist Award from YACM. He has also received awards from the leading music organizations including Vasantha Priya (1992) and Krishna Gana Sabha (1993). Other awards include him being awarded the titles Yuva Kala Bharathi (Bharat Kalachar), Full Prince (Muzhu Ilavarasu - Tamil Isai Mandram,Thiruvaiyaru), and Laya Gana Sudaroli (Kumbakonam). He has made successful concert tours to Oman, Sri Lanka, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Bahrain, among others. Located in Chennai. YouTube Video 1.

Prapancham S. Ravindran (2006)

Prapancham S. Ravindran, a mridangam A-Grade artist for All India Radio, learned from Thanjavur Sri. Rajam Iyer, and Balakrishana Naidu. He has accompanied L. Subramaniam, Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna, N. Ramani, M.S. Gopalkrihnan, and many others. He has performed in UK, USA, Europe and elsewhere. He has maintained a music sabha called "Adhilakshmi Arts Academy" since 1993. Website. YouTube Video 1.

R. Sankaranarayanan (2005)

Located in Chennai. A left-handed mridangam player and disciple of Srimushnam Raja Rao. Hails from the family of Papanasam Sivam, who was a great composer of the recent past. Sankar also plays mridangam for Sampradaya (traditional) bhajans.

 

Raja Rao (2005)

Located in Chennai. Sri Raja Rao got his initial training from his father vidwan Venkataramana Rao and subsequently from the well-known Kumbakkonam Rajappa Iyer. He has captured the hearts of music lovers in India as well as abroad with his versatile and masterly performance on the mridangam. His consistent technical perfection have made Sri. Raja Rao one of the most famous mridangists in the Carnatic music scene. Sri Raja Rao has been conferred with numerous titles and has won several awards including the Kalaimamani (from the government of Tamil Nadu), Rasika Kalaratna (Sydney), Sangeetha Ratnakara (Cleveland Aradha Committee), and Best Mridangist Award (Music Academy, Madras). Sri Raja Rao has performed all over the world including numerous visits to USA. Raja Rao is also a fine vocalist and an exponent of the kanjira and morsing. YouTube Video 1.

K.P. Parameswaran

Son of Sri K.S. Padmanabha Iyer, trained in mridangam with his grandfather Sri Kodunthirapully Swaminatha Iyer (who was a student of Sri Thanjavur Vaidyanatha Iyer and Sri Palakkad Mani Iyer). He now trains with Dr. T.K. Murthy. He is an All India Radio ‘A’ grade mridangam artist and has accompanied many of the prominent Carnatic vocal and instrumental artists in southern India. Located in Palakkad, Kerala.

Kumari Rajna Swaminathan (2005)

One of the few female mridangam players in the world and also one of the youngest performing Carnatic concerts at 15 years old. Rajna learned from her father Dr. P.K. Swaminathan at age 5 and then at age 8 from U.K. Sivaraman. She is also a pianist and bharathanatyam dancer. Located in Burtonsville, Maryland, USA. Website. YouTube Video 1.

Rohan Krishnamurthy

Rohan is one of the younger generation of mridangam artists located in the USA at 20 years old. Originally from India, he began his studies with Damodharan Srinivasan and then later became a disciple of Guruvayur Dorai. Rohan has successfully developed a modern tuning system for the mridangam that involves metal tuning lugs mounted on the shell for each head allowing for independent tuning and head replacement (see his published article in Percussive Notes, August 2006). Rohan also is proficient on the kanjira and is also studying Western classical percussion. He is highly skilled in both Carnatic music and reading Western music notation, is an experienced teacher, and has been involved in the premiere of several mridangam concerti and chamber music pieces in the USA including Echoes by Elizabeth Start and Maathras by Keith Murphy (both concerti in 2006) and Migration by Elizabeth Start (chamber piece for mridangam, violin, and piano, 2006). Located in Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA. Website. YouTube Video 1.

Thiruvarur Bhakthavatsalam (2006)

Located in Chennai. Thiruvarur Bakthavathsalam has been a well known mridangam artist for over 30 years. He had his initial training from his uncle Thiruvarur Krishnamurthy and later from his mother T.R. Anadavalli. He has accompanied almost all of the stalwarts of carnatic music and has participated in jugal bandis with other artists including the tabla master Ustad Zakir Hussain. YouTube Video 1.

T.K. Murthy (2005)

Born on August 13, 1924, T.K. Murthy studied mridangam from Thanjavur Vaidyanatha Iyer. Shri Murthy has more than 70 years of concert experience and has accompanied almost five generations of Carnatic musicians. He represents the Thanjavur style of mridangam playing, which was perfected by his guru Thanjavur Vaidyanatha Iyer. He has performed internationally in Scotland, at the United Nations in the USA, Sri Lanka, and numerous locations throughout Europe and North America. He has accompanied all of the major Carnatic recent artists and played for celebrated musicians of the North like D.V. Paluskar and Narayana Rao Vyas. T.K. Murthy's students include K.P. Parameswaran, J. Vaidyanathan, B. Sivaraman, B.S. Purushotham, among others. He is a master in konnakkol and is featured on has released CDs in both the 35 and 108 varities of talams. He has received several honors including Sangeet Natak Academy Award and the prestigous title Sangeetha Kalanidhi. Located in Chennai. Website. YouTube Video 1.

T.V. Vasan (2005)

Younger brother of singer and mridangam master T.V. Gopalakrishnan. T.V. Vasan was trained in mridangam, pakhawaj, maddalam, thavil, kanjira, and ghatam and also teaches vocalists. He learned from his brother and has been an All India Radio A grade artist for 28 years. As a ghatam artist, he was part of the legendary group Sruthi Laya with Karaikudi R. Mani on mridangam, G. Harishankar on kanjira, T.V. Vasan on ghatam, and Srirangam S. Kannan on morsing. Equally skilled on mridangam, he was constantly performing several concerts a day in the 2005-2006 season. Vasan prefers the Madras ghatam. Originally from Kerala, now located in Chennai.

B. Ganapathiraman

B. Ganapathiraman (elder brother of B. Sivaraman) learned initially from Srimushnam Raja Rao and Nagai Soundararajan and became the disciple of Kumbakonam Sri Rajappa Iyer. He is a B-High grade mridangam artist, and he has accompanied leading musicians such as Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna and others. He has won many awards including the Yuva Kala Bharathi and Nadha Oli. His father Sethalapathy Balsubhramaniam is a disciple of the great composer Papanasam Sivan. Located in Chennai.

Kumbakonam Saravanan (2005)

Kumbakonam Saravanan was born on September 25, 1965. He learned mridangam from Poongaulam Sri Sabesa Iyer, Thanjavur Srinivasan, and Vazhuvur V. P.Ramadoss. He is a B-high grade artiste for All India Radio. He is a lecturer in Govt. Music College. He has also received the Thanjavur Upendran Award from Raagam Fine Arts and best player award from The Music Academy in 1998. Located in Chennai.

Ramnad V. Raghavan (c. 1980s)

Great mridangist who played and recorded with Shakti in the 1975 (he is on the 1st recording called Shakti with John McLaughlin). He studied with his brother Ramnad Easwaran. He taught for many years at Wesleyan University in CT and now resides in Chennai. Raghavan also recorded on the 1st Jamey Haddad LP called Names in 1984.

Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman (2005)

Located in Chennai. Sangeetha Kalanidhi, Padmabushan Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman, the topmost mridangam vidwan alive in the world today was born on December 17, 1935. The maestro learnt this divine art under four great and illustrious masters: Sri Arupathi Natesa Iyer, Sri Tanjavoor Vaidyanatha Iyer, Sri Palghat Mani Iyer, Sri Kumbakonam Rangu Iyengar. He has accompanied a galaxy of maestros of recent past and is a double graduate of The University of Madras (BA & BL degrees).
He is a trend setter of new techniques, innovations, and creative ability in accompaniment, solo renditions, and jugal bandi programs with his North Indian counterparts, fusion concerts with celebrated westerners have earned him a special place in the world of art, for more than 60 years great merit today, both vocal and instrumental. Besides his professional career, this legend has undertaken the very laudable task of doing original research in the art of mridangam. This resulted in his highly acclaimed lecture demonstrations done in all important centers in India and abroad, which enabled him to disseminate knowledge of this divine art to art lovers, music conferences, music seminars and the like. He is the only mridangam vidwan who has explored and placed before the world of art lovers his authentic information on the techniques and nuances of mridangam for more than three decades. He has introduced the fiberglass mridangam to Carnatic music for the first time, improvised a mechanical jig to eliminate human error in the molding of skins for both sides of the instrument and has done research work on tanned and untanned skins for the mridangam. He is the embodiment of effortless playing with scientific approach regarding fingering techniques and even complicated phrases. His innovations include analysis of the ingredients of the black patch on the treble side of the mridangam, on the overtones produced from that head, has synthesized traditional and modern approaches in playing on the instrument, evolving new patterns of rhythmic designs (moras and korvais), and his elegant and bewitching compositions are being played by numerous vidwans and aspiring players of today. He is a poet among other mridangam artistes, who embellishes classical music with aesthetic beauties and the sense of when to play and when to pause, irrespective of any tempo with clarity and casual elegance. His CDs include Garland of Rhythm, Drums of India, Laya Dhara, and the fusion CD Ganesh with Aka Moon. He is also the Director of The Thanjavur Vaidhyanatha Iyer School for Percussion, and a faculty member of The Music Academy, Chennai and the Rhythmology Program of the Music Department at The University of Madras in Chennai. YouTube Video 1.

B. Harikumar (2005)

B. Harikumar was born in Changanasery, Kerala and learnt from Sri Mavelikara Velukkutty Nair. He graduated in mridangam from Swati Thirunal Music College and is a staff artiste at All India Radio in Thiruchy since 1989. He has conducted Jugal Bandhis and Tala Vadya programs around the world with maestros like Sri T.N. Sheshagopalan, Sri Ajay Chakraborthy, Sri Rashid Khan, Zakir Hussain, and Sri Tanmoy Bose in USA, Europe, India, Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Australia. He has won many prestigious awards. Located in Tiruchirapalli.

Thanjavur Vaidhyanatha Iyer (c. 1940)

Vaidyanatha Ayyar was born in Vaiyacheri near Thanjavur in 1897 and died on April 13, 1947. He learned mridangam from Thanjavur Doss Swamigal, Kannuswami Nattuvanar, and K. Ponniah Pillai. He trained disciples in the "Guru Kula" system. He was popularly known as "Vaitha Anna," ("Vaitha" is the short form for Vaidhyanatha and "Anna" means elder brother.) Initially, he played for Parameswara Iyer’s drama troop and traveled to many places in India. Soon, he accompanied Harikesanallur Muthaih Bhagavathar, Fiddle Appa Iyer Subharama Bhagavathar, Kanchipuram Nayana Pillai (from 1916-1926). He also served in the State Broadcasting Radio Station in Trivandrum. Vaidhyanatha Iyer served as a "King Maker" in the field of mridangam with three of his disciples being the legends Palghat T.A.S. Mani Iyer, T.K. Murthy, and Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman. Only after coming under his tutelage, Mani Iyer started playing the "arai chappu" stroke (more common in modern mridangam playing). T.K. Murthy grew up as an adopted son in the maestro’s house and often played double mridangam with him in many concerts. Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman used to play any lesson in 4 speeds immediately after learning the nuances from Vaitha Anna at the young age of 14. Like the singing culture of vocalists, T.V. Iyer imparted a unique pedagogy based on his mridangam fingering and is today considered to be the "Father of Mridangam." It is said that in his playing style, one can identify whether a pallavi, anupallavi, or charanam was being performed just by hearing his mridangam accompaniment. His other disciples include Mangudi Dorairaja Iyer (who wrote a book for learning mridangam), ghatam Vilvadhri Iyer, and Krishnamurthy Rao, among others.

Palghat R. Raghu (c. 1950s)

Located in Chennai. Palghat R. Raghu was born on January 9, 1928 in Rangoon, Burma (now Myanmar) but his family comes from Palghat, Kerala in India. He initially learnt from Tinniam Venkatarama Iyer and Trichy Raghava Iyer. Later he learned the art from the legendary mridangam innovator Palghat T.A.S. Mani Iyer. He also earned a degree in mathematics. His thani avartanams with complex and highly mathematical korvais bear the stamp of innovation, scholarship, and majestic mastery of this complex instrument. Complex calculations are a trademark of his rhythmic style. He has accompanied such vocal carnatic legends as Sri Papanasam Sivan, Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer, Madurai Mani Iyer, G.N. Balasubramaniam, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, Alathur Brothers, Ariyakkudi, M.D. Ramanathan, Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar, K.V. Narayanaswami, among others. He has also accompanied artists such as T.V. Sankaranarayanan, Trichur Ramachandran, O.S. Thyagarajan, Doraiswamy Iyengar, Balachander, Flute Mali, Lalgudi Jayaraman, N. Ramani, T.N. Krishnan, M.S. Gopalakrishnan, among others. Palghat Raghu has toured extensively in Europe, USA, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, and elsewhere. He has also been involved in East-West fusion music. He has been visiting professor of music at Wesleyan University in CT, San Diego State University in CA and University of Berkeley in CA. For his continuing contribution to carnatic music, Palghat Raghu has been honored with numerous awards that include amongst many others: Sangeet Natak Academy Award, Palghat Mani Iyer Award (first recipient), Padma Shree, Mridangam Chakravarty Award, Kalaimamani (Tamil Nadu), Sangeetha Choodamani, Mridangam Nada Mani (Sankaracharya), praises from the President of India, Nada Brahmam - award from Narada Gana Sabha (2000), and Nada Nidhi (2001).

Erode K.S. Nagaraj (2000)

Karappattu Subrahmanian Nagarajan first studied mridangam with Palladam Ramachandran then in 1990 Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman became his guru. E. Nagaraj is the top student of Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman. Originally from Erode, he is now located in Chennai. E. Nagaraj is an excellent teacher of mridangam and South Indian rhythmic concepts and theory and is very highly recommended, particularly for non-Indian students. E. Nagaraj is also skilled at singing and is a published poet. He has been decorated with numerous awards and honors, is an A grade mridangam artist with All India Radio, and a teacher at The Music Academy in Chennai.

David Nelson (2004)

Dr. David Nelson, one of the few American mridangam artists, has been performing and teaching South Indian drumming since 1975. From his principal teacher, the renowned T. Ranganathan, he learned to accompany a wide range of styles, including Bharata Natayam, South Indian classical dance. He has a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University in CT, where he is Artist in Residence in South Indian drumming. He has accompanied well-known artists throughout the United States, Europe, India, and China. He has also written extensively on South Indian drumming, including a major article in the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Located in Connecticut, USA. Website.

 

T.V. Gopalakrishnan

(c. 1980s)

T.V. Gopalakrishnan, from of a musical family, is a master vocalist, mridangist, percussionist, and violinist. He is an artist with an unparalleled range, having mastered concert techniques of the purely classical and the modern, the Southern Carnatic and Northern Hindustani. He has brought a rich crop of disciples to prominence, both in India and globally. He has given hundreds of concerts - vocal and instrumental - around the world. He recorded the first tala vadya kuttcheri LP called Percussion Through the Ages in the 1960s. He has also experimented with mridangam design in developing a seperate tuning system for each head that involves metal tuning lugs mounted on the outside of the shell. A pioneer in music therapy, he is dedicated to spreading the power of music through his combination of skill, precision, and passion. Located in Chennai.

T. Ranganathan (c. 1980s)

T. Ranganathan (born March 13 1925 - died December 22, 1987) came from a devadasi family of hereditary musicians and dancers that traces its musical lineage to all three composers known as the Trinity. With his brother, flautist and singer T. Viswanathan (1927-2002), he established Carnatic music in the United States. Ranganathan learned from the legendary master Palani M. Subramania Pillai (1908-1962). A brilliant and sensitive (if under-rated) mridangam player, Ranganathan was also a great teacher who dedicated his career to teaching his non-Indian students in the USA at Wesleyan University in CT and CalArts in CA. He forged his own approach to bharata natayam accompaniment, having been influenced by Balasaraswati's drummer, M. Kuppuswami Pillai.
Website.

Poovalur Srinivasan (2000)

Poovalur Srinivasan (also known as "Sriji") is the most well-known Indian mridangam players located in the USA. Originally from Chennai, he studied South Indian classical music from his father P. A. Venkataraman. For over three decades Poovalur has performed with the leading artists from both South and North Indian classical traditions. Since his move to the United States, Poovalur has performed and recorded with artists such as Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Bela Fleck, Mark O’ Connor, John Bergamo, Glen Velez, and Hands On'semble. He is the founding member of the group Brahma. He is currently a faculty member at the University of North Texas. He has also taught at CalArts and San Diego State University. Website. YouTube Video 1.

Palani Subramania Pillai (c. 1950s)

(with Madurai Mani Iyer-vocal & Lalgudi Jayaraman-violin)

Born 1908 - died 1962. See entry above in kanjira section for his bio.

Palani Subramania Pillai

Palghat T.A.S. Mani Iyer

(c. 1950s)

Born 1912 - died 1981. See entry above in kanjira section for his bio. YouTube Video 1. YouTube Video 2.

Vinod R. Venkatraman (c. 1970s)

Vinod Venkatraman was born into a family of rich musical ancestry. He began performing at a very early age of seven. Venkataraman had his initial training in mridangam from Trichy Raghava Iyer, and later from one of the greatest exponents of the mridangam Palghat R. Raghu. Venkataraman has performed extensively all over India, Indonesia, Singapore, Canada, Europe and the USA. He has to his credit numerous concerts with legendary greats like Prof. T.N. Krishnan, L. Subramaniam, and N. Ravikiran, among others. Venkataraman has collaborated with legendary jazz artists like Stephane Grapelli, Larry Coryell, Hubert Laws, and Alice Coltrane. He is a resident of Long Beach, California, USA where he is a professor of mathematics.

Vellore Ramabadran (2007)

Located in Chennai. Vellore Ramabhadran learnt from his father Konakkal Sri Gopalachariar. He enhances a musical recital without the needless display of technical exuberance. He has accompanied stalwarts of the past like Chembai Sri Vaidhyanatha Bhagavadar, Maharajapuram Sri Viswanatha Iyer, Ariyakudi Sri Ramanuja Iyer, Madurai Sri Mani Iyer, Musiri Sri Subramania Iyer, Sri G. N. Balasubramaniam, Semmangudi Sri Srinivasa Iyer, and Maharajapuram Sri Santhanam. Ramabhadran is a recepient of several awards and honors like Sangeetha Kalanidhi, Kalaimamani, Sri Chowdiah Memorial Award, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, among others. The rotary club of Madras-East presented to him the Vocational Service Award for the year 1991 for his excellent contribution in his vacation. In January 1994 Sankranti Sangeet Utsav by Murugappa Group paid its tribute to him as a master of great skill. YouTube Video 1.

Trichy Sankaran (2001)

Primarily a mridangam player of the highest calibre, Trichy also performs on kanjira in Canada and the USA. Learned from Palani Subramania Pillai. Originally from Trichy, now located in Toronto, Canada. Website. Trichy Sankaran with Zakir Hussain & G. Harishankar YouTube Video 1.

Neyveli B. Venkatesh (2005)

One of the few mridangam players that still performs on kanjira. Neyveli travels most of the year for performances in Europe with top artists from India. He is a highly experienced teacher of both mridangam and kanjira and has trained students all over Europe. He learned mridangam from A.S. Balaraman and kanjira from M.N. Kandaswami Pillai. Originally from Neyveli, now located in Chennai.

Ghatam Brother R.N. Prakash (2004)

Originally from Bangalore but now located in London, the Ghatam Brothers are R.N. Prakash (pictured above) and R.N. Prathap. They learned from Bangalore Vidwan K.N. Krishna Murthy. Both of the Ghatam Brothers are equally skilled on kanjira, mridangam, ghatam, and konnakol. Located in London, England, UK.

Jayachandra Rao (2004)

Jayachandra Rao (left handed) started learning mridangam at the age of 5 with Vidwan Trichur E.P. Narayan Pisharady and later received advanced training with Palakkad T.R. Rajamani (the son of Palghat T.A.S. Mani Iyer). He has also learned bamboo flute from his father K. Rahavendra Rao. Jayachandra has accompanied stalwarts from the field of Carnatic Music including Vidwan T.K. Govind Rao, Dr. N. Ramani, Bombay Sisters, Rajkumar Barathi, Kadri Gopalnath, Maharajapuram Ramachandran, R.K. Srikanthan, Akella Mallikarjuna Sharma, and Sangita Vidushi Miss Jun Obi (from Japan). He is a member of the Indian percussion group Layatharanga. Located in Bangalore. Website.

Ramanathapuram C.S. Murugabhoopathy (c. 1980s)

Murugabhoopathy was born to Chitsabhai Serrai of Ramanathapuram and died in the early 2000s in his 70s. He had his training form his father and his brother C.S. Sankara Sivam. He was a favorite mridangist for the flute maestro T.R. Mahalingam. Murugabhoopathy has been the visiting Principal for Tamil Isai Sangam Music School, Madurai and has been a member of the Advisory Committee Government Music College Madras. He has received numerous titles including the Kalaimamani, Padmashri, and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. He is one of the three most celebrated mridangists including Mani Iyer and Pazhani. In his technique, the balance and nadha (sound) that he produced in his thoppi was remarkable. Taught kanjira legend G. Harishankar.

T.A.S. Mani (Mridangam)

& Karnataka College of Percussion (1998)

The Karnataka College of Percussion (in photo are T.N. Ramesh-thavil, T.A.S. Mani-mridangam, and R.A. Ramamani-vocals, not pictured are members T.N. Shashikumar-kanjira, R.A. Rajagopal-ghatam, S. Sudarshan-dholak, and G. Omkar-morsing) in Bangalore, South India, has been training young musicians on various percussion instruments and vocal techniques of South India. This college has trained a large number of students in India and from abroad since its inception. Many of them have obtained distinction in the Indian government's State Board of Examinations and became professional musicians. As part of their curriculum, periodical programs are arranged to promote art and culture and encourage talented youngsters. The Karnataka College of Percussion is world famous for its vibrant percussion ensemble and vocalist.

T.A.S. Mani is the director of the ensemble and his wife, Mrs. R.A. Ramamani, is the lead vocalist with the Karnataka College of Percussion. Percussion instruments used in the ensemble include mridangam, ghatam, kanjira, morsing, dholak, and thavil. A special feature of this ensemble is konnakol, a concert performance of solkattu or vocal percussion syllables. The Karnataka College of Percussion has performed in Asia, Australia, Europe, and America, has participated in many international percussion festivals as well as the Indian Jazz Yatra Festival, and made many recordings with such diverse artists as Okay Temiz, Charlie Mariano, Ned Rothenberg, Embryo, Dissidenten, Chris Hinze, Louis Banks, and the WDR Big Band.

T.A.S. Mani, the founder and president of Karntaka College of Percussion, is an internationally renowned teacher, mridangam player, and composer. He is responsible for introducing the Karnataka College of Percussion to audiences outside of India since 1975. He has accompanied leading musicians of Carnatic classical music, and has composed many pieces employing experimental rhythms. He also teaches at Bangalore University, has written books on mridangam, and is a member of the audition board of All India Radio. Karnataka College of Percussion is located in Bangalore in the state of Karnataka.

Address:

Karnataka College Of Percussion
Sri. T. A. S. Mani
93/2, 17th Cross Street, Westpark Road,
Malleswaram,
Bangalore 560055 Karnataka, India

H.S. Sudhindra (2007)


H.S. Sudhindra is a disciple of Sri. M. Vasudeva Rao & Srimushnam V. Raja Rao. He is an A grade mridangam artist and is located in Bangalore. He is the principal of "Suswaralaya College of Music, located in Bangalore, Karnataka. He has won many awards and performed across India and in the US and UK.

Arjun Kumar (2007)


Arjun Kumar, an A grade mridangam artist, initially learning mridangam from (his father) Sri Arjunan and Sri T.A.S. Mani. He was awarded the Govt. of India scholarship and came under the tutelage of the mridangam legend, Padmabhushan Umayalpuram Sri K. Sivaraman. He has accompanied most of the leading and contemporary Carnatic musicians and has also perfomed in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, USA, France, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Australia, and Switzerland. He is located in Bangalore.

Sri Ramesh (2007)

T.R. Dhandapany (2002)

Sri T.R. Dhandapany took his initial training in mridangam from Sikkal Shri A.S. Natesa Iyer. Later, he studied with Sri Harihara Sharma, Principal of Jaya Ganesh Talavadya Vidyalaya of Chennai. Located in New Delhi, North India.

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