Born Great by Mannargudi A. Easwaran, Mridanga Vidwan

I am very happy to have this wonderful opportunity to contribute to this occasion of congratulating Padmashri Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman who has established himself as a Maestro Mridangist, during the past five decades. His admirable service to the world of Carnatic Music is well known to everybody. I become totally aware of the weight of my responsibility as his staunch admirer. I am proud to say I have remained one, since I was very young.

Not only that I am associated with Sri Sivaraman as a younger Mridanga Vidwan, our family ties also date back from 1950s. Sri Sivaraman and my elder brother studied in the Oxford of South India (i.e) Kumbakonam Govt. Arts College during early 1950s. His father, to whom, we all, owe for having given such a talented artiste, was our family doctor, we all know that ‘some are born great’. ‘Some achieve greatness’ and greatness is thrust upon somebody’. He is the number one.

He has become a legend in our field; create history as an outstanding artiste in individual playing as well as for meaningful accompaniment. As a matter of fact, the manner in which our concert patterns are woven, no mridangist   without individual prowess can possibly add to the success of the concert, what the accompaniment chooses to do, he will.

Respected Sri Sivaraman has blended the two ‘Lakshna’ and ‘Lakshya’ elements of his presentation so tastefully, one has to marvel at the mastery of his thoughts procedure, his imagination undoubtedly boundless, never out of context, and out of proportion. The effect and climax, will both be very appropriate not only satisfying but also thrilling.

His devotion dedication to this fine art, and in accompanying great vidwans earned him a place in the field. To the extent he mastered this art by his innovations he passed on the knowledge to his students thus establishing ‘Sivaraman Style’.

It was Sri Sivaraman, who was instrumental in my educational career too. He used to repeatedly insist upon my taking a degree. But for his persuasion and encouragement I would not have taken my Evening College to obtain my degree. I will be failing in my duty is I do not express my gratitude to him here through this occasion.

The sincere work he has put in, the seriousness with which he presents his art are examples to all of us. His ‘Thani’ stands testimony to his superior, traditional Laya ‘Gnana’. During concerts the nourishment and enrichment he offers to the main artiste’s songs, vocalists look forward to his accompaniment.

Very simple by nature he has stuck to his standards his father had set for him. He is very clear about his goal of attaining traditional excellence and never has compromised on that. His experiments have always been within the area his conception and conservatism. His extraordinary talent in unifying the sides of ‘Valanthalai’ and ‘Idanthalai’ of his mridangam has made me wonder how good a lawyer would have made since he can understand perfectly the merits and demerits both sides. The ‘Upalpakka Vadhyakaras’ even if they happened to be less experienced feel encouraged by him. He has participated in several Jugalbandi   with Tabla artistes of North India, where he has established the universality Rhythm. Both as an individual and as a leading performer he is best in the ‘P’s. Precision, Perfection and Presentation.

I had my arangetram on 12.10.1958 at Thiyagaraja Sangeetha Vidwat Samajam. I distinctly remember his guidance and encouragement, welcoming me to the field of art and wishing me all luck, prosperity and fame. I always cherish the association with Sri Sivaraman as a friend, philosopher and guide.

These are all my views, which are only in praise of him and not a flattery. Praise is factual and flattery is facts plus imagination.

Seeking the Good wishes of the “BORN GREAT’ Master.

(Article written on Dr. Umayalpuram K Sivaraman’s completion of 50 Years of service to Carnatic Music)