“Accompany with understanding”

In conversation with Mannarkoil J. Balaji

Manoj Siva, disciple of mridangam maestro Palghat Raghu, hails from a family of musicians and music lovers. His father A.N. Siva was an ardent rasika of Carnatic music, and his mother Akhila Siva, a musician, has taught many students. The parents have been instrumental in shaping the careers of all their children—Vijay Siva, Manoj Siva and Poorna Vaidyanathan. With his family as his tower of strength, Manoj Siva has carved a niche for himself as an accompanist par excellence and his success can be attributed to his diligence and hard work.

Manoj Siva is a disciplined musician trained under Kumbakonam Rajappa Iyer and Palghat Raghu. His style is replete with sunadam during accompaniment for kritis and his tani avartanams are marked with technical brilliance. A true follower of tradition and its values, Manoj Siva is a much sought after percussionist. He takes special care of the mridangam and his concert instruments have the perfect left-right balance coupled with precise meettu-chapu alignment.

Manoj Siva has performed at prestigious venues in India and abroad such as the Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi, Trophen Theatre in Amsterdam, and the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC. He has received many awards as a percussionist, notable among them being the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar from the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi (2006), the Nathan Memorial Award from Sruthi Laya Kendra of Guru Karaikkudi Mani (2007) and the title of Kanchi Kamakoti Asthana Vidwan from the Kanchi Mutt (2009).

Initiation into mridangam

As a child, I showed keen interest in rhythm, tapping away on bottles, plates and whatever surface I came upon! Observing this, my parents decided to start mridangam classes for me. My father took my brother Vijay and me to guru Kumbakonam Rajappa Iyer… read more