Tag Archives: mridangam

Artist Profiles: Mayuram T. Viswanathan

Mridangam artist T. Viswanathan graduated from the Tamilnadu Music College in 1990. Since then, he has been receiving advanced training from the world renowned mridangam maestro Guruvayur Dorai.

He has performed with several leading artists in the field as well as numerous dance performers. He has extensively toured USA and Europe and conducted workshops in Europe.

Viswanathan has also collaborated with top ranking jazz artists in France.

Viswanathan comes from a traditional music family. His grandfather [on his mother’s side] Thiru Muthuveer Pillai is the famous thavil vidwan in the field of music. He was honored by the Indian goverment. His other grandfather is also a thavil vidwan. His name is Pakkirisswamy Pillai.


Artist Profiles: Trichy Sankaran

Trichy Sankaran

Trichy Sankaran (mridangam) is a virtuoso percussionist whose mastery on this important South Indian percussion instrument is respected throughout the world. His first musical training was under his cousin Sri P.A. Venkataraman, and he later became a disciple of the late Sri Palani Subramania Pillai.

He made his public debut at the age of thirteen. Mr. Sankaran has performed widely throughout Asia, Europe and North America. In addition to playing mrdangam in traditional South Indian music settings, he has also performed with jazz, world music and other contemporary music ensembles.

He is currently Professor of Indian Music Studies at York University, Toronto, and his teaching techniques have been filmed and documented by the C.B.C. His writings include a text book on mrdangam performance and rhythmic theory.


Suitable for framing,with David Rosenboom and J. B. Floyd (ARC Records, 1975)
Laya Vinyas – Mrdangam Solo (Music of the World, 1990)
Sunada,with Karaikudi Subramaniam (Music of the World, 1993)
Whirled,with Oliver Schroer (Big Dog Music, 1993)
Oliver Schroer and the Stewed Tomatoes,with Oliver Schroer (Big Dog Music, 1996)
Lotus Signatures,with Dr. N. Ramani (Music of the World, 1997)
Ivory Ganesh Meets Doctor Drums,with Paul Plimley (Songlines, 1998)
Catch 21: Trichy’s Trio,with Suba Sankaran and Ernie Tollar (Deep Down Productions, 1999)
Innovative Music Meeting,with Rajesh Mehta and Rohan De Saram (True Muze Records, 1999)
The Carnatic Violin,with Prof. T. N. Krishnan (Kriyative World Music, 2001)
Kutcheri: Live at Kalakshetra,with Sanjay Subramanyan (Charsur Digital, 2001)
Mukhari,with Chitraveena Ravikiran (Rajalakshmi Audio, 2002)
Maza Mezé: Secrets Moon Magic,with John Wyre and Suba Sankaran (CBC, 2004)
Gajaleela – Mridangam and Kanjira Solo (Charsur Digital, 2005)
Kutcheri: Live in Chennai,with Lalgudi G. J. R. Krishnan and Lalgudi Vijaylakshmi (Charsur Digital, 2007)
Live at Music Academy Madras,with Malladi Brothers (Rajalakshmi Audio, 2007)


Artist Profiles: T.A.S. Mani

Karnataka College of Percussion

T.A.S. Mani, the founder and president of Karnataka College of Percussion (KCP) is an internationally renowned teacher, performing percussionist (mridangam -classical drum) and composer.

He is responsible for putting KCP on the world map since 1975. He has accompanied leading musicians of Carnatic (south Indian) classical music, and has composed many pieces employing experimental rhythms. He also teaches at the Bangalore University, has written books on mridangam and is a member of the audition board of All India Radio.

He is also the founder and director of the percussion ensemble Tala Tarangini which is known worldwide.


Reise, with Embryo (Schneeball, 1979)
Sangam, with Charlie Mariano and Louis Banks (Eigelstein, 1981)
Jyothi, with Charlie Mariano (1983)
Life, with Embryo and Charlie Mariano (1980)
Germanistan, with Dissidenten (1982)
Germanistan Tour 83, with Dissidenten (1983)
The Jungle Book with Dissidenten (1984)
Shiva Ganga with Dr. Raghavendra (1995)
Blue Glass with C. Hinze (1997)
River Yanuma (Music of the World, 1999)
Bangalore Wild, with David Rothenberg (2000)
The Great Train Journey, with Dr. Ragavendra and Charlie Mariano (2002)
Om Keshav, with Charlie Mariano (2005)


Artist Profiles: Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman

Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman

Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman, a living legend, is the greatest exponent of the Mridangam (barrel shaped hand drum with drum heads on either side) and South Indian rhythmic principles, which is all encompassing. He is in the 55th year of his musical career, having debuted at the very tender age of 10. He has accompanied leading South Indian Musicians of yesteryears and continues to do so for today’s upcoming young artists too, in order to encourage them. He has equally shared the stage with great North Indian musicians like Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ustad Alla Rakha, Pandit Kishen Maharaj, etc.

The Mridangam can be traced back to the Hindu Gods and was played by Nandhi, the bull God on whom Lord Shiva rides. Sivaraman is considered as an Avatar (incarnation) of Nandhi himself.

In addition to playing traditional South Indian Carnatic concerts and Jugalbandhi’s (duets) with North Indian counterparts, Sivaraman has traveled all over the world and performed with non-Indian percussionists and musicians, composing the musical scores and providing the training.

He performed as the lead artiste on Mridangam for a percussion ensemble at the Rhythm Sticks festival held in London Royal Albert Hall on July 24, 1999. He composed the musical score for this show wherein a few other renowned artists from India, UK and Africa participated along with him.

He has performed with the famous Jazz Band AKA MOON from Brussels and will be joining them for a millennium concert in the year 2000. He has also collaborated with prominent American musicians like Steve Coleman, Dennis Chambers and Kenwood Dennard. Sivaraman has won the admiration of Hall of Famers like George Gaber, Harold Jones, Jazz musicians like Muhal Abrams, Michael Brecker and many prominent drummers.

He has several titles to his credit including “Padmasree” by the Government of India. He is a lawyer by education and has an excellent command of English. He is widely read and can speak at length on any subject. He has great stage presence and even an ordinary concert becomes extraordinary by his superb music. The Mrudangam becomes the King of Percussion and Queen of Melody in his hands, and he brings out the best from this divine instrument.

Since 1999 he has been extensively touring the USA promoting Mridangam and South Indian music by giving clinics and performances at various universities and prestigious venues like Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, Lotus World Music Festival, Percussive Arts Society International Convention, Drummers Collective, NY, and many more.


Who’s to Know (ECM, 1980)
Garland of Rhythm (The Master Company, 1996)
Rhythm Fantasies (Sense World Music, 2005)
Laya – Dhara (Charsur, 2006)


Artist Profiles: T.R. Dhandapany

T.R. Dhandapany

T.R. Dhandapany is well known for his innovative approach and his talavadya performances. He has trained numerous students in the various south Indian percussion instruments, like mridangam, ghatam, kanjira, morsing, phakawaj, dholak.

With over five decades of experience in the percussion field and over three decades of teaching experience, he is a highly respected artist. He has toured all over the world featuring in numerous performances.

Shri. T.R.Dhandapany took his initial training in the art of mridangam from Sikkal Shri A.S. Natesa Iyer. Later, he specialized under the tutelage of Late Shri. Harihara Sharma, Principal of Jaya Ganesh Talavadya Vidyalaya of Chennai and the late Shri. K.M.Vaidyanathan. He has been performing for the last four decades and has accompanied many top ranking musicians.

As percussion instruments were always used as accompaniments, Shri. Dhandapany took the initiatives and started full-time talavadya programs to bring percussionists to the center stage. Getting an excellent response, he created ‘Laya Gana Madhura Lahiri’ in 1982. Since then he has given more than 250 performances at cultural events organized by many esteemed organizations like Sanskriti, Government of India, Rotary Club of India and I.C.C.R, Rashtrapati Bhawan.

He also participated in First South Asian Festival held in Dhaka in the year 1997. He also gave performances at various places in Nepal during the year 2006, and was featured at the 5th Annual Kathmandu Jazz Festival in Kathmandu. He also went on a European tour in the year 1999 along with his disciples for Talavadya Program to be included in the Re-Orient festival, which is a yearly cultural feature and received T.R.Dhandapany’s Imagea mass acclaim from the European audience as well.

In 2001, a new program titled Laya Gana Nritya Madhura Lahiri was started, which included classical dances also as part of the performance, with music and percussion instruments. It was featured at the Asia Pacific Week, held in Berlin in September of 2003. The group led by him, also performed at numerous other places in Germany and Austria, where the group was received exceptionally well.

Shri. Dhandapany has trained various students in the art of mridangam, ghatam, kanjira, morsing, dholak, and pakhawaj, some of whom are established performing artists. He is also a respected percussion teacher in the capital. His meticulous mathematical calculations in setting the ‘sollukatus’ ‘korvais’ etc. earned him commendable respect among the musicians, audiences, and the critics alike in the form of numerous press reports and excellent audience response. He was invited to give a lecture demonstration on the art of “mridangam playing” at the prestigious Musee Guimett de Paris. He also performed Talavadya Katcheri in Paris with his local disciples for which he was highly appreciated. He was also an honorary member of Elizabeth Theatre, Australia in the seventies. He has extensively toured entire Europe, South East Asia, Australia, U.S.S.R., Latin America, Gulf and almost all over the world.


Artist Profiles: Karaikudi Mani

Karaikudi Mani

Mridangam Maestro ‘Guru’ Karaikudi R.Mani is one of the cultural ambassadors of India, as a mridangam player and an innovator in the field of Rhythm in South Indian Classical music.

Mani was born on 11/09/1945 at Karaikudi to Sri.T. Ramanatha Iyer and Smt. Pattammal. Shri 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.

Shri Mani received his first award when he was 18, in 1963, at national level from Dr. Radhakrishnan, the President of India. In 1998 he won the “Sangeet Natak Academy” National Award.

By his total dedication and involvement in the art, a new dimension emerged in mridangam playing through Mani which later came to be known as Karaikudi R. Mani style (Bani). It has become so acclaimed and attractive that even artists and students belonging to other school have started adopting this style. Mani has under him directly, around 1200 disciples all over the world.

Sruthilaya, a novel percussion ensemble founded by Mani, has been giving performances all over the globe. This is a troupe consisting of top ranking artists in percussion instruments of India, with mridangam in the forefront, collaborating with similar artists of the Australian Art Orchestra in the Jazz form, headed by Paul Grobowsky, Australia and with Eerohameenniemi of Nada, Finland.

Karaikudi Mani

Sruthi Laya Seva Trust and Sruthi Laya Kendra founded by Mani, a premier institution dedicated exclusively for the cause of music and musicians, first of its kind to be run by a percussionist, now has sub-centers all over the globe i.e in 4 cities in India (Chennai, Mysore, Chalakudi and Hyderabad), Australia, U.K and Germany.

Layamani Layam, a bi-monthly magazine on music and dance of which Mani is the chief editor, has international circulation. Mani was the pioneer in projecting mridangam as capable of recognition as a main instrument on the dais, by successfully staging solo concerts. Mani has played in concerts to all the leading musicians of South India. Mani has innovated a new dimension of presenting rhythm in a visual form on the dais through Bharathanatyam.

He has founded an institution named “Sruthi Laya Kendra Natarajaalaya” with Smt Rajeswari Sainath, a niece of Karaikudi R. Mani, a leading Bharathanatyam exponent, as its Director which produces ensembles bringing melody, rhythm and dance together.

Mani has still on the mission with multiplied determination and enthusiasm, of propagating the value of rhythm in music and the role of mridangam in rhythm.


Artist Profiles: Rajna Swaminathan

Rajna Swaminathan

Rajna Swaminathan, disciple of mrudangam maestro Sri Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman accompanies Carnatic musicians. She started learning Mrudangam from her father Dr. P. K. Swaminathan at the age of 5 and came under the direct tutelage of Sri Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman at the age of 8. She is 14 years old and is studying in Benjamin Banneker Middle School in Maryland. Rajna is only one of a handful of female mrudangam artists and one of a very few female percussionists in the world.

She has performed at many local Thyagaraja utsavams and other programs. Along with her father Dr. P. K. Swaminathan she has accompanied high caliber artists such as Dr. N. Ramani Sikkil Mala Chandrasekhar Rudrapatnam Brothers Charumathi Ramachandran etc. and won their praise.

During Fall 2004 Rajna toured the USA along with her illustrious Guru and performed for one piece on Mrudangam with Sri Sivaraman accompanying on Kanjira and encouraging her. Sri Sivaraman presented her to the Maryland audience for a full two hour concert debut at the auspices of the Chinmaya Mission Maryland on October 9th 24 with Sri Somayajulu on Jalatharangam Sri Nagai Sriram on Violin and Sri E. M. Subramaniam on Ghatam.

Rajna also performs mrudangam for dance programs, most notably the grand Kuchipudi dance ballet Bharata Sambhavam held at Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater.

In addition to mrudangam, Rajna plays piano and has learned Bharathanatyam for some years.


Artist Profiles: Sridar Parthasarathy

Sridar Parthasarathy

Sridar Parthasarathy has studied the mrdangam since the age of six as a disciple of Vidwan Shri. Karaikudi R. Chandramouli. During his career, he has accompanied leading Carnatic musicians such as Smt. D. K. Pattammal, Shri. Madurai G. S. Mani, Dr. M. Balamurali Krishna and Shri Ranganatha Sharma, and has taken part in jugalbandhis (duets) with such illustrious musicians as Shankar Mahadevan, Rattan Mohan Sharma, Sanjeev Abhyankar and Nandkishor Muley.

He regularly performs with rhythm ensembles headed by Ghatam Vidwan Shri. T.H. “Vikku” Vinayakaram, Louiz Banks, Ranjit Barot, Fazal Qureshi, Taufiq Qureshi and Niladri Kumar, and recorded and performed for the Miles From India album produced by Bob Beldon in 2008.


Miles From India (Four Quarters, 2008)

Beat This – Indian Drums In Conversation


Artist Profiles: Venupuri Srinivas

Venupuri Srinivas
Venupuri Srinivas

M.R. Venupuri Srinivas started as a child prodigy, playing kanjira when he was only one year and eight months old, in Tirupathi. He gave his first concert in All India Radio when he was merely three years old.

Srinivas learned mridangam under legends Ramanathapuram C.S. Murugaboopathi and Trivandrum Mahadeva Iyer. He studied in Madras Music College under Thanjavur Srinivasan obtaining his master degree with distinction and a gold medal. He is an “A” grade artist from the Indian National Radio (All India Radio). He was honored with the respectable asthana vidwan of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam.

Venupuri Srinivas has accompanied renowned artists like M.S. Subbulakshmi, M.L. Vasanthakumari, Madurai Somasundaram, Dr. Balamuralikrishna, Veenai Balachander, T.K. Govinda Rao, Maharajapuram Santhanam, T.N. Seshagopalan, Ravi Kiran, U. Srinivas, Neyveli Santhanagopalan, Hydrabad Brothers, T.N. Krishnan, N. Ramani and many more acclaimed artists.

Srinivas is in a fusion group with Louis Banks, Shankar Mahadevan, and Shiva Mani. In addition to mridangam, he plays other percussion instruments such as kanjira, ghatam, thavil, tabla, dholak and western instruments. He also performs konnakol.

Srinivas lives in Tampa, Florida and directs an institution called Navarasa Academy of Performing Arts