Sri Erode Nagaraj learnt the art of Mrudangam initially from Palladam Sri V. Ramachandran and is the disciple of Sangeetha Kalanidhi Padmabushan Umayalpuram Sri K. Sivaraman for the past 21 years. He is an “A” grade artiste and has taken mrudangam as his fulltime profession. He is working as a lecturer in the “Thanjavur Vaidyanatha Iyer School for Percussion”, The Music Academy, Chennai, since 1998. He has accompanied great artists like Padmabhushan Sri P.S.Narayanaswamy, Chengalpat Ranganathan, Calcutta Krishnamurthy, Neyveli Santhanagopalan, O.S. Thiagarajan, M. Chandrasekaran, Sikkil Sisters, Sikkil Gurucharan, V.V. Ravi, Vijay Siva, Sasikiran, Malladi Brothers, S.P. Ramh, Ranjani & Gayatri, Gayathri Venkatraghavan, Lakshmi Rangarajan, Gayathri Girish, Saralaya Sisters, Surya Prakash and many others. He has been performing in All India Radio and Doordarshan and in sabhas like The Music Academy, Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, The Indian Fine Arts Society and other well-known sabas from 1994.
Here is a detailed write up on Sri Erode Nagaraj’s career:
“Sri Erode Nagaraj, from his childhood, had a great interest to learn rhythm and was initiated into the art of Mrudangam at the age of 7 years. He 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, he became the disciple of Padmabushan Umayalpuram Sri K. Sivaraman since 1990. He took intensive and advance training from his 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 he had participated in several state level school competitions with distinction, his 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 him scholarship, during the year 1994 – 1996 (F2-53/94/CH2). He has been performing both in All India Radio since 02.06 1994 and in Doordharsan Kendra, Chennai since 17.09.1994. He has 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. He is an ‘A’ grade artist.
He has 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 has also given many lecture-demonstrations successfully. His performance on mrudangam has been and continues to be much appreciated by vidwans and rasikas. He has won many best player awards and has also been credited with very good reviews in the press like The Hindu, Indian Express and other celebrated magazines.
He has been thinking of making substantial contributions to the field and he says he owes fullest responsibility not only to maintain the cultural heritage of this art but also to take the art of mrudangam and its niceties at a global level to the mass and even to the layman, without compromising the sasthras and grammar.
He has a very good experience in teaching fingering techniques and laya intricacies of mrudangam for the past 20 years not only to the students from India but also to students from other countries. He is keen to interact with all forms of music. He rendered konnakol (verbal rendition of jathis and phrases that are played in mrudangam) to the playing of his Guru Padmabushan Umayalpuram Sri K. Sivaraman with Mr. Steve Coleman (Sax) and Vijay Iyer (Key board) from USA, in the Madras Cricket Club. His 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 him in their anniversary function held on 31st July 2001, along with Sangeetha Kalanidhi Palghat Sri K.V. Narayanaswamy.
He 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 his interview and mrudangam solo. Chennai-online interviewed him for their internet magazine. He has 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.
He had been to Detroit (MI,USA ) in June 2005, touring the state for six months providing concerts, lecture demonstrations, classes for advanced level aspirants and beginners who are in need of shaping their fingering techniques and also imparting rhythmic intricacies for vocalists and instrumentalists.
Being a prime disciple of Umayalpuram Shri K. Sivaraman, Erode Nagaraj assists him in his projects.
He blends Sowkhya bhavam and rare rhythmic patterns and he is interested in innovative complex varieties and tasteful tekas of yester–year’s masters .
He has an enriched knowledge and experience of teaching ‘Fingering Techniques’ and ‘laya intricacies’ of mrudangam for the past 10 years and is well conversant with framing of syllabus”
Reviews & References
4. “Erode Nagarajan’s genius was evident throughout the concert and reached great heights when he played defining tani in the kanda jathi eka thalam in chathusra nadai” – http://www.hindu.com/ms/2006/01/10/stories/2006011000220600.htm
5. “Erode K. S. Nagarajan (mridangam) in association with Guruprasad (ghatam) shared the excellence of the cutcheri with judicious percussive support containing manifold manipulation of patterns and korvais” – http://www.hinduonnet.com/fr/2003/02/28/stories/2003022801180400.htm
6 .“Erode Nagarajan, then and there, produced Laya appeal by skillfully playing on Mridangam. Erode Nagarajan’s rhythmic support deserves great appreciation. A Mridagam Maestro as he is, his “Thani” received a thunderous applause from the audience – http://sangeetham1.tripod.com/rev0901b.htm
7. “Erode Nagarajan (mridangam) showed his accommodative nature and gave a tani marked by an unflagging adherence to standardised kalapramana’ – http://www.hindu.com/ms/2006/01/04/stories/2006010400180600.htm
8. “Erode Nagaraj ‘s percussionary support was laudable, more particularly so, during Thani Avarthanam. He imparted the necessary impulse to integrate the laya patterns with the vibrant musical quality” –
9. “Erode Nagarajan gave good support on the mridangam, playing a competent Tani avarthanam in a difficult tala pattern — Adi tala tisra nadai for a tricky eduppu” – http://www.hinduonnet.com/fr/2002/12/13/stories/2002121301400600.htm
10.“Erode Nagaraj on the mridangam lent distinction to percussive support. The patterns served to heighten the impact of the songs – http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/thscrip/print.pl?file
PRIZES – WON
1) First Prize in Talentia – 87, 1987 at Erode, State Level
2) President’s Scholarship, 1994-96.
3) Best Player – afternoon Concerts – 3-1-96, The Indian Fine Arts Society.
4) Kumbakonam Sri Azhaga Nambiah Pillai and Sakkottai Sri Rangu Iyengar award, Sri Krishna GanaSaba, 1-8-99.
5) Vaikom Krishna Iyer award, The Music Academy, 1-1-2001.
6) Best Player Award – Sri Parthasarathy Swamy Saba, Dec.2002
7) Pazhani Sri Subramania Pillai and Sri K.R.Sundaram Iyer award for Best Mrudangist, sub-senior,The Music Academy, 1-1-2004
8 ) “Asthana Vidhwan” by the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam on 12-10-2007
9) Gopalachari’s Endowment Prize for merit worthy performance, Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, 2-8-08
Sri Erode Nagaraj’s contact information:
New no.31, Old no.11,
Adhi Kesava Perumal Koil st.,
Chennai – 600033.
Phone : 044 – 24713177
Mobile : +91 – 95662 19764.
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Official Email: email@example.com
(Info courtesy: Sri Erode Nagaraj)