The masterly touch

Ghatam vidwan N. Govindarajan.  

If you have ever closely listened to the song ‘Paadariyen Padippariyen’ in the movie Sindhu Bhairavi, you notice a distinct metallic ghatam keeping beat. This is the only film song that N. Govindarajan recorded with his ‘maanaamadurai ghatam’ known for its toughness and tone.

Talam in Carnatic music is like a fabric that weaves together varied calculations of rhythm. Ghatam vidwan Prof. N. Govindarajan, fondly addressed by his students and family as Govind Mama, was a master weaver of this fabric. Born on May 21, 1952 into a musical family, he got trained in mridangam under T.R. Hariharasharma since the age of seven. But, the simple clay pot (ghatam) fascinated him more. He learnt the nuances of ghatam from percussion vidwans such as Vikku Vinayakram, K.M. Vaidyanathan and Karaikkudi Mani. At the age of 13 he was ready to go on stage. Being an accompanying artist is not easy as you have to constantly hone your skill since there are no rehearsals.

Govindarajan went on to accompany stalwarts such as M.D. Ramanathan, M.L. Vasanthakumari, Chittibabu, Maharajapuram Santhanam, Voleti Venkateshwarulu, Veena S. Balachander and D.K. Pattammal. He was an A-grade artist in All India Radio along with being a professor of philosophy at A.M.Jain College for 28 years.

With his dexterous playing, Govind mama proved that the support of the accompanying artist is crucial to the success of a concert. A dedicated artist and committed teacher, he rhythm journey has inspired many. He passed away on May 7, 2012.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 4:54:00 PM |

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