The percussion art has a glorious thick legacy in our culture.
Over the years there has been a tremendous growth in percussive arts and
along with it came an influx of some great mridangam players who gave a
totally new dimension to the way mridangam is played and perceived. Accompanists
of those days got eclipsed by the overpowering personalities of giants
like Mahavaidyanatha Sivan. Though there were mridangists like Narayanaswamy
Appa and Kumbakonam Azhaganambi Pillai who were quite renowned,
it was only Pudukkotai Dakshinamurthy Pillai who, with his disarming
showmanship, raised the status of percussionists to the new heights. Then
dawned the golden era of percussionists when the one and only Palghat
Mani Iyer appeared on the scene. Pazhani Subramnya Pillai was
another star of this era.
Kumbakonam Azhaganambi Pillai is credited with a throbbing style with his thekas
and pharans in double and quardruple tempos set in cross rhythm to the
kriti and his crisp muktayis lending vivacity to the music. This style
of playing was later changed into one in more or less the same tempo as
Another inheritor of the Pudukkotai tradition and a successful contemporary of
Pazhani Subramanya Pillai on the concert platform was Ramanathapuram
C.S.Murugabhupathi whose father Ramanathapuram Chitsabi Servai,
was one of the disciples of Pudukkotai Manpoondia Pillai.
Move the cursor over the
names of the great mridangam players and click on the images or
the names below to view information and details about
these great players:
The most famous exponent of theTanjavurtradition was Tanjavur Vaidyanatha Iyer. His attractive style produced an
irrepressible desire in young aspirants from the Malayalam land
like Palghat Mani Iyer and Thiruvananthapuram (later Tanjavur)
T. K. Murthy to become his disciples. Vaidyanatha Iyer is believed
to have systematised the mridangam lessons for students.
The other great mridangam vidwans of that era without whom this Hall of Fame would be incomplete are
Tanjore Ramdasa Rao and Palghat Ramchandra Iyer, Venu Naicker, Neendamangalam
Meenakshisundaram Pillai, Umayalpuram Kodandarama Iyer, Saakkotai Rangu Iyengar, Shaathapuram Subba
Iyer, Devakkotai Sundararaja Iyengar, Vellore Gopalachari, Alangudi Ramachandran, Thinnium Venkatarama
S.Vilwadri Iyer, H.Puttachar Coimbatore Ramaswamy, T. Ranganathan, Mavalikere
Krishnan Kutti Nair, K.S.Manjunath, M.L.Veerabhadraiah, Tanjore Upendran,
Palghat Sundaram and K.M.Vaidyanathan to name a few.
Palghat Mani Iyer's style had a profound influence on many young aspirants like Palghat
Vellore Ramabhadran, Trichy Sankaran, Umayalpuram Sivaraman, Karaikudi
Mani and Guruvayur Dorai who are our senior laya exponents in the contemporary
concert platform.Vellore Ramabhadran enhances the concerts by his gentle playing,He never uses Saadam while playing for
Keerthanais and Sarvalagu Swaraas.