Song of Surrender

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Musician to watch

Vijay Natesan

Mridangam artist Vijay Natesan is one of the promising young Carnatic musicians to have migrated to Chennai in recent years from Mumbai, by all accounts an excellent nursery of such talent.

Born in 1981, Vijay has been a disciple of T S Nandakumar, an A Grade artist of All India Radio and a teacher of decades’ standing who hails from the nagaswaram family of the Ambalapuzha Brothers.

Vijay showed very early signs of his talent and started performing at the age of seven, easily merging into the percussion ensembles led by his guru. At present receiving advanced instruction from mridangam maestro TV Gopalakrishnan, he is a dependable accompanist fast establishing himself in the concert circuit, having accompanied such senior artists as TN Krishnan, TV Gopalakrishnan, OS Thyagarajan, GS Mani, Kanyakumari, and Sowmya.

An ‘A’ grade artiste of AIR since the age of 22, the young percussionist has earned numerous awards and prizes.

When he was nine, he received a rolling trophy for the best in the age group 6-16 from Swar Sadhana Samiti. He stood first in the All India Radio Music Competition in 1997 and has been a recipient of the Government of India cultural talent scholarship. Awarded the title Taal Mani by Sur Singar Samsad, Mumbai, he also won the first prize in a national competition to perform at the Pandit Jasraj Auditorium in New York.

Vijay, who has played the mridangam for the musical tracks of the singer Adnan Sami and in the film Bhool Bhulaiya, is a member of the fusion band Samarpan of Mumbai.

Vijay was seen in a TV serial featuring tabla ustad Zakir Hussain and singer Shankar Mahadevan, and has provided percussion support in the HMV Saregama instrumental album Silver Lining. He also played a part in a three-volume audio-cassette series Jewels of Rhythm, which his guru produced.

Though steeped in tradition, Vijay Natesan, like many of his generation, has eclectic tastes in music—counting Hindustani, ghazals, bhajans and jazz among his favourite listening.

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