Sivamani talks about what lies behind his musical success
In the pantheon of Gods, Shiva is the destroyer, but his contemporary namesake, Anandam Sivamani - `Siva' to his fans - is the foremost creator of music in our times, who can `generate' melody from virtually anything - conventional cymbals to timbale to Batajon to more unconventional shells and conches and what may seem utterly bizarre - the biryani kadai. "While on stage, I practice a form of sound-based yoga known as `Naad Yoga' which transcends me to an altogether different mental plane, suffusing me with energy," he explains, when asked about the phenomenal vigour he manages to infuse in his performances. "Through a meditative technique, this state of mind is then passed on to the audience, to enable them to experience an out-of-the-world feeling," adds the mercurial drummer, who believes "audiences are the same all over the world."
On being quizzed about the secret behind his mastery over such a strenuous medium, which, to the uninitiated, might seem an unseemly, unrelated and haphazard collection of instruments, Sivamani, who looks much younger than he actually is, admits to "a disciplined lifestyle and some exercise." "Before any performance, I create a basic framework in my mind, but when I am actually on stage it is more or less extempore, when I instinctively decide on the sound that will match the overall symphony, and then decide on the instrument to be used," explains the maestro, about the mental agility required to handle such a diverse array of instruments.Sivamani, who learnt the basics of music at a tender age from his father, S.M. Anandan, an accomplished drummer in the South Indian film industry, asserts that "whatever one learns at an early age, forms the foundation of later accomplishments" and attributes his iconic status "to the blessings of my parents, God and my gurus. Subsequently, I was inspired by the compositions and styles of international masters like Billy Cobham and Noel Grant." Asked about his take on the present Hindi film music scene, Siva says rather optimistically, "It is coming up, with a more international flavour being added by the present crop of composers."SILK, the five-member music group, which includes the likes of Shankar Mahadevan and Louis Banks, was conceptualised while Louis and Siva were travelling in Russia as part of a music group called SHANTI. "We decided to experiment with a fusion of Western Jazz and Indian classical that is energetic and acts as a catalyst for a new genre," explains Siva, about the genesis of SILK.Finally, any message, he wants to give to his fans? "Yes, be consistent, and have peace."A.P.S. MALHOTRA