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Grammy winning percussionist and  legendary Ghatam exponent,  Vikku Vinayakram, promises to enthrall the city with his earthy beats

“Usually kutcheris (concerts) have more melodious performances, but we would be focussing on the rhythms. I believe  that rhythm is an integral part of our lives and we are attempting to recreate these divine sounds through our instruments and hearts.”

In the musical history of India, if we have to specifically talk about the traditional instrument without strings and sticks, Ghatam, the legend Vikku Vinayakram’s name tops the chart. If not for him, this instrument wouldn’t have garnered as much attention as it has now in the world of music. Vinayakram, who carved a niche for himself is all set to enthrall the Hyderabadi music lovers.
The 74-year-old, Grammy Award winner was a Mridangam player before he placed his fingers on the pot instrument. Speaking about his journey towards becoming a Ghatam artist, he says, “I was playing Mridangam at first but then it was because of my father that I started playing Ghatam. He is the only reason that I play Ghatam till now. It was him who taught me to lay my fingers softly on the earthen pot.”
The legendary musician began performing in 1965 at the age of 13 and since then has performed across the globe. Remembering his favourite performances the Padma Shri awardee says, “I once got a chance to perform with M S Subalakshmi in the United Nations Organisation in New York other than that when we formed Shakti in 1970s, I enjoyed playing along with Zakir Hussain, John McLaughlin and L Shankar.”
The Ghatam maestro enjoyed his stint along with Zakir Hussain in Shakti. Mentioning how they overcame the language barrier, he says, “I first met Zakir in 1997 and later on when we formed Shakti, I got a chance to know him closely. Although we had language barriers, music brought us together. Those golden days are etched in my memories forever.”
Vinayakram is the first south Indian musician to get a Grammy Award. The percussionist was awarded this honour after he tagged along with Mickey Hart for his album titled Planet Drum which was released in 1991. He was nominated again in 1996 for Best World Music Album.
The Ghatam artist would be in the city along with his son Selvaganesh who would be playing the drums but with his hands and not the sticks. His other son Uma Shankar who would accompany the maestro with Ghatam, son-in-law Ramakrishnan would be playing the Mridangam and grandson Swaminathan would be playing the Kanjira. The city is lucky to get an ‘all in the family’ concert this season and with the promise of his signature tunes.
Speaking about his concert in Hyderabad, he explained, “Usually kutcheris (concerts) have more melodious performances, but we would be focussing on the rhythms. I believe that rhythm is an integral part of our lives and we are attempting to recreate these divine sounds through our instruments and hearts.”
The legendary percussionist would be in the city on May 7 at the Cyber City Conventions near Hitex Road. Entryto the concert is free. Details: 66335533

— Nishad Neelambaran

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