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Foxed, aren't you? But then, doesn't all creation emerge from destruction, and vice-a-versa? Something to ponder on, yeah...

 Well, we are talking about one of the best pair of hands in the world of percussion - Anandan Sivamani. Zakir describes him as a phenomenon that walks through this planet but once or twice in a century. No recording of A R Rehman is complete without him. He is a must with Louis Banks, be it live shows or studio recordings. What greater introduction does a musician need in a contemporary setting!

Good news for all Mumbaites - Siva has shifted recently to Mumbai from Chennai. And what a welcome Mumbaites have showered him with in the past few months! He has been regularly performing with various maestros and won a standing ovation every time.

 So how did this young lad from Chennai, inspired by his father, S.M. Anandan, a well-known percussionist in Tamil film circles, carve such a unique path for himself? It was the magic of international master, Noel Grant, which enchanted Sivamani. Though he had been playing the drums since the age of 7, Noel Grant's recordings filled him with awe, and ecstasy. He used to try out the beats at home. He was also inspired by Billy Cobham, who became a role model. And one day in 1990, he actually shared the stage with the legend at Mumbai's Rang Bhavan.

But the route was arduous, plenty of moments frustrating. But the goal kept beckoning him and he had the blessings of wonderful friends, and masters across the globe. His earliest experiments in fusion were with Carnatic legends, Kunnaikudi Vaidyanathan and T.V. Gopalakrishnan.

 There were dreams then about various possibilities in percussion. He heard Trilok Gurtu at a fusion concert in Chennai. He saw Gurtu do things that he had only been visualising. And then, there was no looking back.

India's rhythm ambassador Zakir Hussain invited him to share the stage with himself and Trilok at a concert in Rang Bhavan. And Siva grabbed the opportunity, carving his niche in the presence of the great masters. And very soon, he was to be a master in the making himself. He started playing with the uncrowned King of Indian Jazz, Louis Banks and became a permanent fixture at his concerts. A quick learner, he could perceive sound in every opportunity and created beautiful rhythms.

 Siva is still upgrading his skills with Indian masters and winning his way into the hearts of millions of fans the world over. On the anvil is a rare production from World Music group, 'Maha' (Louis, Shankar, Siva and Karl) to be released shortly in New York.

Don't miss it...

Sunder Srinivasan

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