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Coffee With Krishna – Ghatam Artist

22 June 2008 13 Comments

Hi All…

Its my pleasure to invite Mr. Ghatam Krishna, Ghatam Artist from Trichy for the show with Coffee With Sundar.. Krishna comes from the lineage of Vikku Vinayakram.. He has accompmanied many leading artists..  Born and brought up in Trichy, Krishna speaks about ghatam.. importance of guru.. value of practice etc.. on this exclusive interview with Coffee With Sundar..
Without further ado, its Coffee With Ghatam Krishna


Coffee With Ghatam Krisha
Me: Sundar Rajan G S
GK: Ghatam Krishna

Me: How long have you been learning Ghatam… When did you start?

GK: I started learning at a very young age of 11.. I was a disciple of Late. Sri.Thanjai.V. Srinivasan… Srinivasan Master was the student of Ghatam maestro Vikku Vinayakram..
I am now continuing my learnings under Sri.B.Harikumar… Harikumar sir is a top AIR Mridangist from Trichy.

Me: What is Ghatam? A lot of People are not aware of it. Can you describe it a bit?

GK: Ghatam is one of the oldest instruments in India.
Ghatam is specially made mud pot with copper and iron fillings added lightly with the mud.


Ghatam is a unique instrument containing PANCHABOTHAMS (BHOMI-EARTH, JALAM-WATER, AKASHA- SKY, AGNI-FIRE, and VAYU- AIR).
There is research paper by Vikku Vinayakram is published in www.ghatamudupa.com

Me: What is the role of pakavadhyas like Ghatam in carnatic music?

GK: In carnatic concerts, the role of the all Pakavathyams to make the concert a grand success…
In carnatic concerts, a Ghatam role as an UPAPAKAVATHYAM (second line instrument)..
It supports the main pakavathyam Mrithangam. A ghatam artist should follow the Mrithangist to give the best output of the concert…
Each and every pakkavathyam is very important to make the concert a grand success..

Me: How important is guru in learning instrument like Ghatam.
GK: My guru Sri.Thanjai.V.Srinivasan taught the following in my first class… Which I will never forget..
There is one sloka says

In short.. Guru is everything…

That’s why our Veda gives a lot of importance to guru (i.e. MATHA, PITHA, GURU, DHAIVAM)


There are two types of studies
1. Para vidhya (Divine arts like Veda and Sangeetha)
2. Apara Vidhya (like our engineering, medicines)
A guru is more important in Para vidhya comparatively in Aapra vidhya.

A guru is not only teaches the art, he teaches dedication, sincerity, what is life, how to lead it, how to respect the elders and many things. You might have studied about the old Gurukulavasam studies. It shows that Guru sees the students as their kids.

Me: You mean to say.. Is it possible for some one to learn ghatam as a hobby without having a guru?

GK: No… Ghatam is not a simple thing… You can’t play Ghatam without sincere practice, dedication and guru’s blessings.
I have told how important a guru is in learning the divine art… Without a Guru you can’t succeed..

Me: You mentioned practice.. Does becoming a good instrumentalist depend a lot on practice? How much time do you practice?  What do you suggest people who dont have time for practice? Can you give some guidance for them?

GK: Ya.. Of course… Practice is the one of the main reasons of success of the leading musicians…
For an example my guru Sri.B.Harikumar practiced 16 hours every full moon day when he was in the age of early 20s to early 30s…
He starts playing while the moon rises in the evening and finishes his playing in morning while the sun rises (without giving any gap in between the practice)
He calls that practice as NILA SATHAGAM (Nila means moon and Sathagam means practice). He always says to his disciples to practice for 2 hours per day.
I practice minimum 2 hours per day. I suggest the people who are not having time to practice.. should practice for minimum 1 hour per day…
If you don’t practice for 1 week you will loose the benefits of previous 1 month practice…
So do practice for minimum 1 hour practice per day (it may either in the morning or in the evening)

In short.. for any Para Vidhya..
If you dont practice for one day.. something is lost..
If you dont practice for 2-3 days.. You will know the difference…
If you dont practice beyond 3 days.. Everyone else around you will start knowing the difference..

Me: People are losing interest in carnatic music… Movies songs and other albums with cool beats are taking over carnatic music and south indian instruments.
What do you think about it? Do you do something differetly to attract these people.

GK: Ya… As you said people are attracted by movies songs and many western albums…
Strictly speaking I haven’t grown up to that level to do something for that…
But I think.. Good albums with leading musicians in carnatic, Hindustani are becoming popular.. New concepts like Jugalbandhi – (fusions) are really very interesting..
Even though there is a domination of film music, many youngsters are showing much interest in learning carnatic music.. They are performing so good that they are getting good names from senior musicians.
This is good signs for carnatic music.

Me: Can you share some of your accomplishments till date?
GK: With guru’s blessings and gods grace I have accompanied with leading artist…

Me: I really like they way.. you mention Guru’s Blessings and Gods grace.. I really like they way you attribute everything to Guru and God..
GK: Ofcourse.. For us, Guru is everything.. Without Guru.. We are nothing..

Me: Very true.. Go on..
GK: I have accompanied many artists..

Vocalists: Sri. Sengalpat Renganathan, Sri.O.S.Thyagarajan, Smt.Nagamani srinath, Smt.Anuratha krishnamoorthi, Smt.Mahathi..
Instrumenlist: Sri.T.K.V.Ramanujacharlu, Smt.Sikkil.Mala chandrasekar, World leading duet violinists Sri.R.Ganesh & Sri.Kumaresh, Sri.Mudikondan Ramesh, Sri.Shivakumar, Smt.Geetha benet..
Mrithanganist: Guru.Sri.B.Harikumar, sri. Sri.Palladam Ravi, Sri.Alathur.t.Rajganesh, Sri.Pathri Sathish kumar, Sri.N.Ramakrishnan, Sri.Phalgun, Sri.Neyveli narayanan, Sri.Ganapathiraman, Sri.Selam Srinivasan, Sri.Delhi Sairam and many youngsters
Thavil vidwans : Sri. T.R.Govindarajan and Sri.Kovilor kalyanasundaram and many more..  

I have got the Scholarship from culture department of India. I have been selected in All India Radio tamil nadu Iyal, Isai, Nataka manram in young wing and played concerts and solo performances..

Me: Who is your role model what are your dreams?

GK: Role models: Guru.Sri.Thanjai.V.Srinivasan, Guru.Sri.B.Harikumar, Ghatam maestro Sri.T.H.Vikku Vinayakram and Sri.Ghatam Girithar Udupa.
Dreams: Want to accompany with Guru.Sri.B.Harikumar in many concerts and to accompany with all the leading musicians both in carnatic and Hindustani music.
And dreaming to become one of the members of REMEMBER SHAKTHI group (at least want to play a concert with them)

Me: Can you share your contact number for people. If they are interested in arranging a concert.

GK: Mobile number: 9994082367 Resident number:  0431-6459256

Readers, Hope you enjoyed this edition of Coffee With Experts.. For previous episodes of Coffee With Experts, click here.




  • AJ said:

    Very nice interview da!

  • Ganapathy said:

    A very interesting interview.. and nice to hear from Krishna.

  • Svedhaaranyam said:

    bhale thaan !..Very very happy to see Krishna in CWS !

  • hema said:

    Good interview! Krishna actually reflects what Srinivasan used to say. Both have the same Bhakthi towards Guru. Brought my memories back about Thanjai V. Srinivasan.
    Thanks Sundar

  • Sundar Rajan G S (author) said:

    @ HT Maam,

    Yes.. I remember how master told me to give a lot of importance for guru.. And the same is reflected in krishna

    @ All,

    Yes.. Krishna’s responses are really good… Even I enjoyed the interview..

  • me said:


  • Harsha said:

    Gr8 interview 🙂 Just reminded master’s explanations of Para and Apara vidhya… I am sure Krishna will reach greater heights with Master’s and all his guru’s blessings.
    Thanks @ Sundar

  • Prema said:

    nice interview n informative post…

  • Day 1: Cologne of Carnatic Music leaves audience breathless « said:

    […] music. On the stage was the collage of the young and veterans. It was T.M. Krishna – Vocal (TMK), T.K.V Ramanujacharlu (TKVR) – Violin, Guru Karaikudi R. Mani – Mridangam (KRM), B.S. Purushothaman – Kanjira […]

  • sound said:

    good message for gurubakthi. keep it up krishna.

  • zadar travel said:

    Very nice, I’m gonna try some of these, i don’t know if they will work with me as i with to, but i’m gonna give this a try.

  • deepika said:

    its ma pleasure to listen to this interview…. god showers blessings on you to bring laurels to your parents.. good luck..

  • Carouthers said:

    Incredible points. Sound arguments. Keep up the great work.