Vikku Vinayakram

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The sources of this article are…

- Amann Khuranaa, ‘‘The Times of India’’ <> Spic Macay

Grammy award

The 1996 Grammy was awarded to him for his participation in Mickey Hart’s ‘Planet Drum’. Reportedly, the musician went on to donate all the proceedings from the award to a charity group.


T H (Thetakudi Harihara) Vinayakram: He is the man who is accredited for popularizing the ghatam, an earthen pot, to be used as an instrument. Also known as Vikku Vinayakram, T H Vinayakram is a percussionist from Chennai who plays Carnatic music with the ghatam and the morsing.

The Ghatam is a percussion instrument used in the Carnatic music of South India. It is one of the most ancient percussion instruments of South India. And Vikku Vinayakram is hugely credited with popularizing the ghatam across the globe.

Thetakudi Harihara Vinayakram, also known as Vikku Vinayakram, was born on June 24, 1944 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, to Kalaimaamani T.R. Harihara Sharma, a musician and teacher. Vinayakram took up playing the Ghatam at a very young age.

Vinayakram’s concert career began at the age of 13. His first performance occurred on March 5, 1957 at the Sri Rama Navami festival in Thoothkudi. He established his right to be on the big stage by performing with such dexterity that he was soon accompanying many famous vocalists in Carnatic music at the time, including Chembai Vaidyanath Bhagavatar, Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna, G.N. Balasubramanium, Madurai Mani Iyer, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, M.S. Subbulakshmi and Maharajapuram Santhanam, among others. Vinayakram’s tryst with the international music platform came in the early 1970s when he joined Shakti to play along with John McLaughlin and Zakir Hussain.

The Ghatam followed the ‘master’ by rising to fame as a percussion instrument that required nimble fingers and strong stomach muscles to control the mouth of the pot.

Vinayakram is currently Principal of Sri Jaya Ganesh Tala Vadya Vidyalaya in Chennai, India- the academy established by his late father in 1958. Vinayakram was conferred with the Hafiz Ali Khan Award for “unmatched contribution in the field of music” in 2000. He is also the first South Indian musician to be awarded the Grammy for Best World Music Album for his participation in Mickey Hart’s Planet Drum, in which he played Ghatam and morsing. He was also nominated for the 1996 Grammy Awards for Best World Music Album for his participation in ‘Raga Aberi’ along with L. Shankar on the ten string double violin and Zakir Hussain on the table.

In 2002, the Indian Government decorated him with the prestigious Padma Shri Award. Finally, he was awarded the 2012 Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship (Akademi Ratna), the highest award in performing arts in India, given by Sangeet Natak Akademi, India’s National Academy for Music, Dance and Drama.

On 15th August 2013, as NIT ROURKELA was gearing up to celebrate its 52nd Foundation Day, SPIC MACAY (NITRKL Chapter) decided to liven up the celebrations by inviting Shri Vikku Vinayakram to perform over here. He duly complied and enthralled a large gathering in the Bhubaneswar Behera Auditorium with his earthly variety of music.

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