Book review – S. Nandakumar’s Book, “Intricacies of Mridangam” released

Intricacies of Mridangam
TSN Mridangam


This book describes end to end playing techniques of Mridangam and elaborates unique concepts in Music

“My style in Carnatic Music, especially playing Mridangam, an ancient South Indian classical percussive instrument is very unique,” says T. Shankaranarayanan Nandakumar (TSN), while describing the objective of writing of his new book, “Intricacies of Mridangam”.  The book is released in hardcover at Barnes and Nobles and on Amazon. “I want to pass on this rich knowledge and skills that I have received from my Masters to the new generation, who are often not familiar with the nuances of this ancient musical instrument.”

Intricacies of Mridangam
Leading concert

World renowned for his mastery of the Mridangam and with expertise in various other percussion instruments, including konnakol (vocal percussion), thavil, ghatam, kanjira and morsing. Nandakumar is a well-known south Indian music artist, showcasing his versatility in Carnatic music and has devoted his entire life to the cause of popularizing Indian classical music around the globe

Through his musical engagements, TSN engages in cultural diplomacy, fostering an appreciation for Indian music and drumming traditions. This indirect form of education occurs as audiences experience the artistry and cultural depth of the mridangam during performances. He has taken up his life mission to perpetuate Indian ancient art form and has dedicated himself in teaching the same to hundreds of students worldwide.

With the mission to spread the knowledge and provide education on this ancient Indian musical instrument, Nandakumar established TSN’s Percussive Arts Centre. Inc (TSNPAC), where students are trained in diverse instruments. Since its inception in 1998 in Mumbai, India, TSNPAC has evolved into a hub for students to refine their skills and collaborate within the realm of Carnatic arts. Upon migrating to New Jersey, USA, TSN seamlessly incorporated TSNPAC, offering courses in higher learning for Carnatic percussion enthusiasts in the United States. Today, TSNPAC stands as a beacon for aspiring artists seeking to master the intricacies of Carnatic percussion.

Nandakumar’s belief that “Music is like a horizon which is never ending and has no boundaries” has enabled him to take music with him wherever he goes. Since his coming to the United States, Nandakumar continues his life’s mission through stage performances at prestigious orchestras, participation in global music events, educational initiatives and contributions, collaborations, global impact, and philanthropic endeavors. He has demonstrated a commitment to social responsibility through charity work, including organizing a 24-hour non-stop Akanda Seva Bhajan in aid of India’s tsunami victims.

According to Nandakumar, playing Mridangam requires mastering of several intricacies and mathematical calculations. This new volume is aimed at providing the skills to an enthusiastic learner of Mridangam to be able to play with any artist without practice.

TSNPAC conducts Mridangam Arangetram annually, where students, without prior rehearsal, accompany main artists like A. Kanyakumari, culminating in a graduation ceremony. Notably, TSNPAC’s influence extends globally, with dozens of professional student performances, including drumming, at the Cleveland Thyagaraja festival. TSNPAC’s significant milestones include a decennial celebration marked by a grand performance featuring over 100 students.

TSN’s participation in international festivals and workshops has contributed to the global awareness of Indian percussion, showcasing the richness of Indian drumming traditions and providing a platform for cross-cultural exchange. By actively participating in musical collaborations and performances in the United States, TSN not only showcases the beauty of the mridangam but also educates audiences about the intricacies and significance of this traditional Indian percussion instrument.

“Through music, you can reach god,” says Nandakumar who wants to spread this path to the Almighty. “I feel very good about my accomplishment in spreading my knowledge about music to everyone. I have students all over the world, students of Indian origin and from other nationalities, some of them have become full-time musicians and are accompanying renowned artists,” Nandakumar says with pride.

Intricacies of Mridangam
Lifetime Achievement Award by SAFE

In recognition of his great accomplishments, TSN was honored with The Lifetime Achievement Award by the Shanti Foundation in Chennai. He was awarded the “Best Teacher Award” from several organizations with the most prominent being awarded by Shanmukhananda Fine Arts and the Cleveland Thygaraja Aaradhana Festival and by the Shanmukhananda Fine Arts, Sangeetha Sabha, Mumbai in 2007, Bharat Ratna Dr. M. S. Subbulakshmi Sangeetha Pracharya Award), and Visionary Award by Academy of Indian Music, USA.

Dedicating his entire life to the spreading of Carnatic Music, Nandakumar has been highly sought after as a teacher in India and abroad. He has conducted several musical concerts, lectures, demonstrations, and workshops at universities in the United States abroad like Lamar University of Houston and Indiana University of Pennsylvania. TSN conducted special classes in percussive arts at the Sri Venkateswara Temple in Pittsburgh, and the Academy of Indian Music in New Jersey and Switzerland. He also conducted 24 hours nonstop Akanda Seva Bhajan (Offered a Prayer through the medium of music) with his students in Mumbai for the tsunami-affected victims of India.

Nandakumar’s new volume, “Intricacies of Mridangam” gives an overview of the ancient South Indian Classical Carnatic music style for the percussive instrument, mridangam. This book describes end-to-end playing techniques of Mridangam and elaborates unique concepts in Music, which are explained with examples as well as some original creations and compositions from the author.

The funds generated from the sale of the book will support (TSN’s Percussive Arts Centre. Inc) TSNPAC’s initiatives, such as organizing events that offer students the chance to participate in full-fledged concerts.

“Intricacies of Mridangam” is now available for purchase online! You can find it at the following links Barnes & Noble  and on Amazon

0 - 0

Thank You For Your Vote!

Sorry You have Already Voted!