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`Art should adapt to situations'

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Umayalpuram Sivaraman
Umayalpuram Sivaraman

Staff Reporter

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Art should adapt to various situations according to requirement. If it does not, it will become stagnant, said Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman, one of the greatest exponents of mridangam.

The percussionist was in town to receive the `Swati Puraskaram' for 2005.

Describing himself as a "core traditionalist and an ultra-modern artiste" to mediapersons here at a `Meet-the-Press' programme organised by the Thiruvananthapuram Press Club on Wednesday, the veteran artiste said he could adapt himself to any genre of music in the world. "What is important is that you should have the heart for adaptation," said this law graduate, who has performed with the famous Jazz band Aka Moon from Brussels and also collaborated with prominent American musicians such as Steve Coleman, Dennis Chambers and Kenwood Dennard.

An admirer of `panchavadyam,' Umayalpuram has high regard for the artistic sensibilities of the people in the State. "Over the past five decades, I have given performances all over the State. The audiences here are very scholarly and most of the time they ask me to play two or three `thaniavartanams.' Their encouragement always inspires an artiste to give his best," said Umayalpuram, who was initiated into the world of music at the age of three with a ganjira gifted to him by his grandmother. His debut concert came at the age of 10. The concert took place in the precincts of Kalahastheeswaraswami temple in the temple town of Kumbakonam.

Musical sessions

Asked about the latest fad among up-and-coming artistes to conduct marathon musical sessions to get into the Guinness Book of World Records, he said: "It is a welcome trend as this helps to popularise the instrument among people all over the world."

About accompanying a legion of maestros in Carnatic music, including Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, Musiri Subramania Iyer, Palladam Sanjeeva Rao and Mysore Chowdiah, Umayalpuram said each musician had his own distinctive style, diction and characteristic singing method.

"It has been a great learning process for me. The more you gain, the more you learn," he said.

The award will be presented to Umayalpuram by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan on Thursday.

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