Palghat Mani Iyer

in Famous & Upcoming Musicians, Mridangam

Palghat Mani Iyer is one the best Mridangist of all times. He was born in 1912 in the family of Sri T.R.Sesha Bhagavathar. He was initially named as Ramaswami in memory of his grandfather but was later called as “Mani”.

He loved indian music so much that at a very young age of 9, he started learning Mridangam from Sri Chathapuram Subba Iyer. He used to play with Sri Rama Bhagavathar and Sri Ennapadam Venkatrama Bhagavathar in “Katcheries”.

Once legendary carnatic musician Chembai Vaidyanatha saw him performing and he was so impressed that he introduced him, to Madras Audience and addressed him as his percussionist “Palghat Mani Iyer”. The audience were astonished to see a 13 year old performing so well and coping up with Chembai’s virile gallop and complicated swara singing. After four years, the audience was so mesmerized and lost in ecstasy.

At the age of 15, he became the disciple of the famous artist Tanjore Vaidyanatha Iyer and learnt the advanced techniques of Mridangam under his guidance. Then he had become the greatest mridangam player ever.

He had been honored with various awards from time to time for his outstanding performances and achievements. His performances were characterized by the art in his fingers and the sweetest melody he produced from his drums.

He was presented with a “Birudhu” and a special citation by honourable President, Dr. Rajendra Prasad. He was also lucky to perform at Edinburgh Festival and the Commonwealth Festival in 1965.

In 1975, he performed in US with his son Sri T.R.Rajamani and there he was titled as “TALA VADYA CHAKRAVARTHY” by Mahavishnu Jon Mclaughlin who was an eminent musician of his times. His performances in America were too good that each one of it received a standing ovation from a hall full of his fans. Some of the other titles credited to his account are Sangitha Kalanidhi, Padma Vibhushan and Sarvari.

He used to play with the Renowned Tabla Player of all times, Ustad Zakir Hussain. Umayalpuram K.Sivaraman, Palghat Raghu, his son Sri T.R.Rajamani are some of the proud disciples of this great mridangist.

Unfortunately, this great master left us for his heavenly abode on May 30, 1981 in Madras, India.

Some of the other Famous mridangists are: Late Palghat Raghu, Dr.T.K.Murthy, Umayalapuram K. Sivaraman, Vellore Ramabhadran,Trichy Sankaran,T.S.Nandakumar, Karaikudi Mani, Madurai.T.Srinivasan, Yella Venkateswara Rao, Srimushnam Raja Rao, Tiruvarur Bhaktavatsalam, Cheluvaraj Trichur C Narendran.

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