T. H. Vinayakram Indian percussionist

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Thetakudi Harihara Vinayakram
Viku Vinayakaram.JPG
Background information
Born (1942-08-11) 11 August 1942 (age 78)
Madras, Madras Presidency, British India
GenresCarnatic, Fusion
InstrumentsGhatam, Morsing
Years active1951–present

Thetakudi Harihara Vinayakram (born 11 August 1942), also known as Vikku Vinayakram, is a legendary Grammy award-winning Indian percussionist. He is also known as the God of ghatam. He plays Carnatic music with the ghatam, an earthen pot, and is credited with popularising the ghatam. He is the first South Indian to win a Grammy Award.

He was awarded the Padma Shri, given by Government of India in 2002,[1] and later the 2012 Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship, the highest honour in the performing arts conferred by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy for Music, Dance and Drama. In 2014 he was awarded the Padma Bhushan.

Early life

Vinayakram was born to Kalaimaamani T. R. Harihara Sharma, a musician and teacher. He took up playing at a very young age.


Vinayakram's concert career began at the age of 13. His first performance occurred on 5 March 1957 at the Rama Navami festival in Thoothukudi. While proceeding for the arangetram the tuned ghatam instrument was broken by a child named Ganesh, which by itself had been a good omen for his bright career. where he accompanied V.V.Sadagopan. He was soon accompanying many famous vocalists in Carnatic music at the time, including Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar, M K Thiagaraja Bagavathar, Dr Sirkazhi S.Govindarajan, Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna, G. N. Balasubramaniam, Madurai Mani Iyer, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, M. S. Subbulakshmi and Maharajapuram Santhanam, among others. His brother, T. H. Subhash Chandran, also excelled in the field. 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.[2]

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.

He has also performed at Basant Utsav, the annual fund raiser for the Banyan.

Vinayakram is Principal of Sri Jaya Ganesh Tala Vadya Vidyalaya in Chennai, India – the academy established by his late father and teacher in 1958. It continues to produce new stars of Carnatic percussion. Vinayakram's son V. Selvaganesh is a successful percussionist, especially after tours with John McLaughlin's group, Remember Shakti.[3]



Vinayakram was conferred the Hafiz Ali Khan Award for "unmatched contribution in the field of music" in 2000. He also features in the Grammy® Award Winning album Mickey Hart's Planet Drum which won Best World Music Album in 1992 in which he played ghatam and morsing. He donated all the proceeds from the award to a charity organisation in south India. 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 tabla (the piece is set in the tala cycle of 4¾ beats). The Indian Government decorated him with the Padma Shri Award in 2002.[4]

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.[5] In 2014 he was awarded the Padma Bhushan by Government of India[6] Vinayakram, was awarded Bharatharatna, Dr.M.S.Subbulakshmi Centenary award,on 16th,Sept,2016.


  1. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  2. ^ https://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http://www.geocities.com/Vienna/Stage/2225/articles/vinayakram.html&date=2009-10-25+11:42:25
  3. ^ Salkar, Tanvi (3 December 2009). "Hart beat". The Indian Express.
  4. ^ "Padma Awards Directory (1954–2009)" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 May 2013.
  5. ^ "Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowships and Akademi Awards 2012" (PDF). Press Information Bureau, Govt of India. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
  6. ^ "Padma Awards Announced". Press Information Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs. 25 January 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2014.

External links

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