Thetakudi Harihara Vinayakram – His pot of gold

Among the senior ghatam vidwans of southern India, Vinayakram has enjoyed a long and successful career as a professional musician. In playing the ghatam, he has evolved a style, which though rooted in the conventional technique, is highly individual in spirit. His is also a style that is responsive to other systems of music, accounting for his success with Western ensembles. He has exhibited his improvisatory genius playing complex rhythms for various fusion groups such as Shakti, and for J.G. Laya – an experimental group of musicians including pianists and percussionists.

Vinayakram was born on 11 August 1942 at Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu. He received his training in playing the ghatam initially from his father T.R. Harihara Sarma, and later systematic instruction in the art at the Sri Jaya Ganesh Tala Vadya Vidyalaya, Chennai. He made his concert debut at the age of 13. As a ghatam accompanist, Vinayakram has performed with a host of eminent Carnatic musicians.

Among musicians of both the West and the East, he is known for his crisp play and deep knowledge of rhythm. Vinayakram has trained a number of students and lectured on percussion at institutions in India and abroad. He briefly served All India Radio (1970), and worked as Lecturer in Ghatam at the Centre for World Music, Berkeley (1974). He has been Principal of the Sri Jaya Ganesh Tala Vadya Vidyalaya since 1978. The school, which has about 100 students on its rolls, imparts training in percussion free of cost… read more