Reviews

Some Press Reviews.....

The Indian Press has showered unqualified and highly appreciative tribute and laudation on Sivaraman whenever and wherever he got involved in concerts and other programmes. Presented below is an abridged collection of excerpts from our leading dailies.

"Umayalpuram Sivaraman embellished the concert from the word 'go' and sparkled through with strokes of great virtuosity and melody." Indian Express, Bombay.

"The mellifluous mrudangam artistry with which Umayalpuram Sivaraman heightened the natural rhythmic liveliness and gait of the alternating swara movements by the singer and violinist in the Natabhairavi song acquired a range of breath-taking beauty in the superb thani which followed. It was feast of tonal richness and polished rhythmic virtuosity. His support of the music generally was delicately chiselled and marked often by a concealed sense of drama. Whenever the performance tended to slip to dullness, Sivaraman interfered and jacked it with his rousing rhythm. The 'thani' was exciting with arithmetical bouts". The Hindu, Madras.

"Sivaraman's mrudangam playing was a treat. The closeness with which he follows both the temper and tempo of the music is something that makes him a unique mrudangist." The Statesman, New Delhi.

  "Sivaraman played in majestic style and drew out the best from the main performer." Deccan Chronicle, Hyderabad.

  "The felicitous and fluent expressions in English coupled with his mastery of the mrudangam enabled him to show the Westerners the scope and range of the instrument" From a Bangalore newspaper.

  "Exhibiting a captivating range of rhythmic artistry with his customary poise, mrudangist Sivaraman was particularly scintillating in his imaginative pauses during the music and thrusts during its silences. His tani after Shri Jalantara was thrilling". The Hindu 11-12-1981.

  "Umayalpuram Sivaraman compelled the listener to watch every move of his superlative artistry which included surprises like the underplayed and delicate finale where one expected lightning and thunder." The Hindu 1-1-1982.

  "One would not get over the feeling that the real leadership of the concert has passed to Umayalpuram Sivaraman. He gave his best to elevate its aesthetic content. In fact, it sounded as though he was providing the third veena. The thani he supplemented was an example for original ideas in sparkling melody.". Star Of Mysore 17-10-83.

  "The sensitivity of the performance was heightened by the silken collaboration of mrudangist Umayalpuram Sivaraman. It was low-key in tone but high-pitched in artistry and converted percussion art into a velvety cushion for the music to comfortably recline upon. His thani too was a distinctive essay in muted mridangam excellence. The lovely phases of his ‘teka’ style support for Samajavara gamana frequently brought to mind thoughts of the excellence of the North Indian tabla." The Hindu, 7-7-84.

"Sivaraman, after Palghat Mani Iyer, the lion of percussion, is considered the most outstanding exponent of this instrument. His playing creates the impression or illusion of a stringed instrument, so tuneful are his strokes. Next, his clarity of utterance. Every stroke, fast or even breezy, comes out crystal clear - a gift very few others have. In the concert under review, he raised the Kanda beat of five to the power of N and executed pithy patterns that sent the audience into raptures.

While accompanying he followed the vocalist like a shadow and greatly embellished the recital. In the solo bout, he excelled himself and without trying to be technical. One would like to sum up his playing by noting that he operated on the least common multiple formula through which he made the khanda five-beat cycle assume other cycles and arrive at the starting point with astounding clarity. Truly, a giant of percussion." The Statesman, Delhi 22-3-85.

  "The mridangam ‘top-notcher’ Umayalpuram Sivaraman has the aplomb and artistry that provides what may be called the ‘Sivaraman-effect’, which denotes success and grandeur to any concert he is associated with. The ‘khanda-gati’ patterns subtly handled in his thani were erudite, precise and consummate phrases in rhythm." The Times of India 5-2-85.

  "There have been giants like Tanjore Vaidyanatha Iyer, Palghat Mani Iyer, Azhaghanambia Pillai in the past who handled this instrument with great dexterity. But Umayalpuram Sivaraman has beaten all past records by developing the mrudangam into a class by itself. He has almost codified the patterns and evolved a method by which all possible combinations have been worked out and perfected. That is why he is the first preference to all musicians.

The Asia Society, New York arranged a coast-to-coast tour in the States in 1962 where he popularised the mridangam so much so, that many foreigners evinced interest in it and have become his students.

After Palghat Mani Iyer, the lion of percussion, he is today the most outstanding mridangist. In jugalbandhi-s with great tabalchees of the Hindustani style he has come out in flying colours." Subbudu in NOW Magazine, August 1985.


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