India's Grammy Award–winning percussionist Vikku Vinayakram to perform in Egypt

Ati Metwaly , Wednesday 6 Mar 2019

Coming to Egypt within the 7th edition of India by the Nile (5-17 March), the world renowned percussionist will perform in Cairo, Alexandria and Port Said

Vikku Vinayakram & V Selvaganesh- Indian Percussion Ensemble
Vikku Vinayakram & V Selvaganesh- Indian Percussion Ensemble (Photo: courtesy of India by the Nile)

Thetakudi Harihara Vinayakram (known as Vikku Vinayakram), India's well known and a Grammy award winning percussionist, will give three concerts in Egypt: on Tuesday 12 March in Alexandria, Friday 15 March in Port Said, and Saturday 16 March in Cairo.

The concerts are part of the 7th edition of India by the Nile, an annual event taking place in March and bringing a variety of Indian arts and culture to the Egyptian audience.

Vinayakram comes to Egypt with a project dubbed 3G, or Three Generations of Percussions "Vikku Vinayakram & V Selvaganesh," an ensemble which he formed and which consists of three generations of musicians, Vinayakram's two sons Selvaganesh and Umashankar, and his grandson Swaminathan.

An ardent representative of Carnatic music (South of India), the concert will feature ghattam (an earthen pot), an instrument popularised by Vinayakram.

In his book "A Southern Music - The Karnatik Story," T.M. Krishna points that though ghattam gained prominence in the late 19th century with the pioneers such as Umuyalpuram Narayana Ayyar and Pazhani Krishna Ayyar, it is not a new instrument. Ghattam, also known as ghata, "has evolved from the ancient kadamuzha, and must have been used in local music traditions, including temple music." he writes.

And speaking of the unique musical tradition that Vinayakram represents, in the same book T.M. Krishna describes Carnatic music as very spontaneous and "based on improvisational abstraction; it necessitates a fresh and unrehearsed frame of mind."

On stage Vinayakram will perform ghattam alongside Umashankar on the same instrument, Selvaganesh on hand-drums, A. Ganesh on morsing, and Swaminathan on the kanjeera.

Vinayakram was awarded several India national recognitions including the Padma Shri (2002), Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship (2012), the highest honour in the performing arts conferred by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy for Music, Dance and Drama; as well as the Padma Bhushan (2014).

He was also conferred the Hafiz Ali Khan Award for "unmatched contribution in the field of music" (2000) and became first South Indian musician to be awarded the Grammy for Best World Music Album for his participation in Mickey Hart's Planet Drum.

This is not the first time that the organisers of India by the Nile bring the creme-of-the-creme of Indian musicians, equally recognised internationally.

In the festival's 6th edition (2018), India by the Nile hosted Amjad Ali Khan, who was credited with reinventing sarod technique, nominated to a Grammy award and a Crystal Award from the World Economic Forum.

The festival's 5th edition (2017) hosted violinist Dr. Lakshminarayana Subramaniam, reciepient of dozens Indian and international awards, whose education and experience fuses Carnatic and Western European influences and knowledge. He is often refer to as “the Paganini of Indian classical music,” and “the God of Indian violin.”

Vikku Vinayakram's concerts in Egypt are undeniably among the 7th India by the Nile festival's highlights.


Tuesday 12 March, 8pm
Sayed Darwish Theatre, Alexandria

Friday 15 March, 6.30pm
Port Said Cultural Palace, Port Said

Saturday 16 March, 8pm
El Gomhoureya Theatre, Cairo

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