GhataKalpanam – Entrancing Rhythms of the Clay Pot

GhataKalpanam – Entrancing Rhythms of the Clay Pot

00:00 – Ekādasha-tāla-chāpa
12:14 – Ādi-tāla-gamaka

This classical music features the legendary percussion maestro T. H. Vinayakram. The composition presents rare meditative rhythmic cycles on the ghata, a baked clay pot made specifically to be played as a percussion instrument. It is also known as ghatam in Tamil and is usually transliterated as ghatah in Sanskrit. Shri Thetakudi Harihara Vinayakram (more famous as Vikku Vinayakram) is credited with popularizing the ghata with his mesmerizing renditions and extraordinary soundscapes of rhythms. Through his dedicated efforts, the ghata, which had fallen from its premier percussion status, is now ranked high again as per its hallowed legacy as a truly Vedic musical instrument.

Vikku Vinayakram was born in Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, India, to Shri T. Harihara Sarma and Smt Neelambal. His father, a well-known percussionist himself, was his first guru. After learning from his father, he gave his first public performance at the age of 13 in Chennai. Thereafter he accompanied renowned musicians of his era: Ariyakudi Ramanuja Bhagavatar, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, Dr. Balamurali Krishna and Chembai Vaidyanadha Bhagavatar. He also played alongside renowned percussionists like Palakkad Mani Iyer and Palani Subramaniya Pillai.

Vikku Vinayakram offered his first overseas performance in 1966 when he accompanied “Nightingale of India and Bharat-ratna” M.S. Subbulakshmi in a stellar concert at the United Nations in New York. Since then he has travelled widely across Europe, North America and Australia giving concerts. He has also undertaken a musical tour under the auspices of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and Sangit Natak Academy. In 1974, he served as guest lecturer at the Centre of World Music at Berkeley, San Francisco, USA.

Vikku Vinayakram is currently serving as the principal of a percussion school, Shri Jaya Ganesh Tala Vadya Vidyalaya, Chennai, founded by his father T. Harihara Sarma. This school teaches percussion free of charge to enthusiasts including under-privileged students. Many accomplished artists like Karaikudi Mani and Sukanya Ramgopal graduated from this school.

Spanning six decades of service to Indian music, Vikku Vinayakram is the only musician to have received awards from four different presidents of India. He is the recipient of many accolades and a few of the notable awards are: the Ghatam Nada Mani award by the Kanchi Swami; Kalaimamani by the Government of Tamil Nadu; Sangit Natak Academy Award recognizing ghata playing; Grammy Award in the USA.

Vikku-ji, as is he is lovingly called, is a disciple of the wondrous monk of India, His Holiness Swami Chandrashkharendra Saraswati, the erstwhile Shankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Matth (monastery). Following up on this profound inspiration and connection with monastic lineages, His Holiness Swami Vidyadhishananda, the head monk of Hansavedas Matth and founding monk of Self Enquiry Life Fellowship, requested Vikku-ji to recreate the Vedic rhythmic mystique using the ghata-vādya-yantra. This specially composed meditative ghata music was inspired by the traditional repertoire of Vedic rhythms attributed to Lord Natarāja Shiva and is part of the preservation project undertaken by the nonprofit organization Self Enquiry Life Fellowship to record and archive meditative Vedic music and chants.

Rent $4 Buy $12 Watch Trailer Share
GhataKalpanam – Entrancing Rhythms of the Clay Pot

4 Videos

  • 01 GhataKalpanam – Entrancing Rhythms of the Clay Pot

    00:00 – Ekādasha-tāla-chāpa
    12:14 – Ādi-tāla-gamaka

    This classical music features the legendary percussion maestro T. H. Vinayakram. The composition presents rare meditative rhythmic cycles on the ghata, a baked clay pot made specifically to be played as a percussion instrument. It is also kn...

  • 02 Invocation to God and Guru in Tamil

    English Translation of the Invocation in Tamil by the Artist

    At my very thought you manifest yourself.
    You come, stand by me, showering your grace that roots out all my karma.
    You take over my being completely, Lord of Ganga, the true one.

    I will not seek any other refuge, even in my next...

  • 03 Commentary by Artist in Tamil

    Commentary by Ghata maestro, Vikku Vinayakram in his native tongue, Tamil. The translation is dubbed into English in a separate track.

  • 04 Commentary English Translation

    Commentary in Tamil by Vikku Vinayakram as translated and recorded in English by violin maestro, Kumaresh Rajagopalan.