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I, Erode Nagaraj, from the childhood had a great interest to learn rhythm and was initiated into the art of Mrudangam at the age of 7 years. I learnt the art of mrudangam initially from Palladam Sri. V. Ramachandran for 8 years. In order to have further training in all the branches of this art, I became the disciple of Padmabushan Umayalpuram Sri K. Sivaraman since 1990. I took intensive and advance training from my revered Guru, Sangeetha Kalanidhi Umayalpuram Sri. K. Sivaraman, which included accompaniment to vocal music and instrumental music as well and to learn playing for more number of thalas. Though I had participated in several state level school competitions with distinction, my first debut at Chennai was held on Friday, the 16th April 1993. The Department of Culture, Ministry of Human Resources & Development, Govt. of India under the scheme, “Scholarship to Young Artistes in different Cultural Field” awarded me scholarship, during the year 1994 – 1996 (F2-53/94/CH2). I have been performing both in All India Radio since 02.06 1994 and Doordharsan Kendra, Chennai since 17.09.1994.I have also played laya vinyasam (Mrudangam Solo) in a rare thala - Misra Thriputa – Two Kalai- Samam in All India Radio, Chennai and laya vinyasam in Adhi Thala in Doordharsan, Chennai. I am an ‘A’ grade artiste. I have been playing in almost all esteemed sabas like The Music Academy, Sri Krishna Gana Saba and other well known organisations in India and abroad and also given lecture-demonstrations successfully. My performance on mrudangam was very much appreciated by vidwans and rasikas and I have won many best player awards and have also been credited with very good review in press like The Hindu, Indian Express and other celebrated magazines.
I have been thinking of making substantial contribution to the field of my profession and I owe fullest responsibility not only to maintain the cultural heritage of this art but also to take the art of mrudangam to Global Level, to the mass and even to the layman, the niceties of this art without compromising the sasthras and grammar. I have a very good experience in teaching fingering techniques and laya intricacies of mrudangam for the past 6 years not only to the students of India but also to foreigners. I am keen to interact with all forms of music. I rendered konnakol (verbal rendition of jathis and phrases that are played in mrudangam) to the playing of my Guru Padmabushan Umayalpuram Sri K. Sivaraman with Mr. Steve Coleman (Sax) and Vijay Iyer (Key board) from USA, in the Madras Cricket Club. My mrudangam solo in a rare thala (sankeerna chapu) has been recorded for Samudra, an organization promoting Indian music in London. G.K.Foundation Trust created with noble ideals inter alia honouring selected best musicians and dancers, honoured me in their anniversary function held on 31st July 2001, along with Sangeetha Kalanidhi Palghat Sri K.V. Narayanaswamy. I had the privilege of performing in the platinum jubilee of the Music Academy in the august presence of the Honourable President of India Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam, Governor of Tamil Nadu Sri Ram Mohan Rao, Sangeetha Kalanidhi Padma Vibhushan Sri Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer and Sitar Maestro Padma Vibhushan Sri RaviShankar.
TTN – the Thamizh Oli Network of Europe, has telecast my interview and mrudangam solo. Chennai-online interviewed me for their internet magazine. I have also performed in Sun-TV, Raj-TV ( DVD of the concert has been released by Raj Video Vision) and Raj Digital Plus and in WIN-TV in their special programmes.
I visited Detroit (MI,USA )last year ( june – November -05) for
concerts, lec-dem and classes for advanced level and beginners and
also teaching rhythmic intricacies for vocalists and instrumentalists.