N.J. Nair

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It is an odyssey into the magical world of percussion.

Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman, septuagenarian mridangam maestro, who holds audience spellbound with his unique percussive skills, has showcased his profundity in an exhaustive video production spanning 22 hours and 30 minutes.

The functions held in various States in connection with the release of the album featured the doyen himself. Mr. Sivaraman chose to play the mridangam against an electronic rhythm box in the capital on Tuesday.

The doyen defines the album, Mridanga Cintamanih, brought out by the Chennai-based Swathi Soft Solutions, as the outcome of his dedicated research and studies in a spectacular career spanning six decades.

He aims at familiarising even the uninitiated with the intricate techniques of mridangam, “the king of percussion and the queen of melody.” Seven generations of his 27 disciples between seven and 71 years of age have been involved in the production.

“The video is an encyclopaedic work of art meant for the world of percussion. This is a sequel to my book The Voyage of Mridangam, The High Voltage Art written four decades ago,” he says.

The entire work, in seven video discs, has been interspersed with demonstrations and impromptu discourses about the nuances of the art.

Starting from the posture of a percussionist, the lessons cover almost everything from the rudimentary to the intricate playing techniques for mridangam as an accompaniment to Carnatic vocal and instruments such as the ghatom and the tabla.

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