Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman\’s Rhythm Fantasies

Leicester, UK – Rhythm Fantasies (Sense
World Music
) is a live recording by Mrudangam virtuoso
Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman, made at Saptak Festival. It is a  collaboration
led by Sivaraman, featuring some of India’s most skilled percussionists. The
ensemble reflects the rich variety of drums and percussion that have been played
in South India for more than 3000 years.

The performance style featured on this recording is known as ‘Tala Vidya
Kecheri’ and involves several percussionists locked into an intense rhythmic
dialogue. The interplay is improvised and its success depends on the high
technical skills of the participants and their willingness to engage in a
healthy spirit of musical competition.In contrast to Northern India, the South was never successfully invaded by
the Mughals and its musical forms thus represent a culture untouched by outside
influences. However, both North and South share the basic concept of tala
(rhythm) and raga (melody). Throughout the performance the main rhythmic themes
are outlined by Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman, one of the most respected and revered
mrudangam players in modern times.

Sri Sivaraman chose the popular eight beat rhythmic cycle known as Adi tala
as a framework for this performance. The concert was recorded on the 12th
January 2004 at the twenty fifth Saptak Festival held in the city of Ahmedabad
in India. The keeping of time or taalam was managed by N. Hariharan throughout
the concert by beating the right hand gently against the right thigh while
seated with legs crossed. This practice is an essential visual aid to the other
percussionists, similar to the role played by the conductor in western classical

The artist featured on the album are Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman on mrudanagam;
M.A Sundareswaran on violin; E.M Subramaniam on ghatam; Mattanur Sankaran Kutty
on Chenda; Porur Unnikrishnan on edakka & timila; Srirangam S Kannan on morsing;
and N. Hariharan on talam.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.