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Updated: May 22, 2014 14:29 IST

Rhythm rendezvous

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S. Swaminathan
Special Arrangement
S. Swaminathan

Vikku Vinayakaram, S. Swaminathan and N. Rajaraman through their inventive percussive exercise will make Nirgun Naad a blend of bhava and beats

Call him not a percussionist or a traditionalist. He is a revivalist. But for maestro Vikku Vinayakaram, ghatam, an upapakkavadyam, would have occupied just a corner of the concert platform than perk-up fusion ensembles with its resounding rhythm.

At the Nirgun Naad concert, the progressive percussionist brings together ghatam, kanjira and gethu vadyam to showcase the many shades of sound.

“It’s true,” says Vinayakaram, “that melody touches the soul but rhythm gives it the energy to reach out and connect with listeners. In my long musical journey, I have discovered percussion’s distinct language, one that transcends geography and genre.”

At the concert, he will play the Ganapati Thalanam, recited during kumbabhishekams at temples. It’s a shloka describing the various aspects of the deity based on sollukattu. “It is an effective way to display the prowess of the ghatam in combining verse, voice and talam,” he says.

Joining him in this percussive exercise are grandson S. Swaminathan on the kanjira and konnakol and nephew N. Rajaraman on the gethu vadyam.

Swaminathan takes forward his father Selva Ganesh’s efforts in making the diminutive kanjira be heard across the globe through his cross-genre collaborations. Under his grandfather’s guidance and training, he will bring out the mysticism of bhakti music and the traditional charm of classical notes through the kanjira beats.

Gethu Vadyam, which looks like the tambura, is actually a rare and ancient four-string percussion instrument that is played with two small bamboo mallets.

Its well-known practitioner Harihara Bhagvathar would play it at the Avudaiyar kovil near Karaikudi as an offering to Lord Shiva. His son Harihara Subramaniam continues the tradition at the temple and is Rajaraman’s guru. Vinayakaram’s father Harihara Sharma was also well-versed in it, a reason why the senior musician encouraged his nephew to take it up and prevent the instrument from fading into oblivion.

Nirgun Naad will scale new heights of bhava and beats as the instruments join in the celebration of music.

Venue: The Music Academy

Date and Time: November 16, 7.30 p.m.

The Schedule:

November 15: Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia with Pt. Birju Maharaj & Kaushiki Chakrabarty

November 16: Indian Ocean

November 17: Vikku Vinayakaram, Vidya Shah & the Manganiyars

November 18: Mandolin Rajesh, Jayateerth Mevundi, Rakesh Chourasia & Trichur Brothers

November 19: Coco's Lunch

November 20: Monsorate Brothers

For the detailed schedule of Nov Fest 2013 in all five cities, click here.


Price: Rs. 600, Rs. 350 & Rs. 200. Season passes at Rs. 3,000 & Rs. 1,800

All tickets can be purchased online at

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