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Vidwan Vikku Vinayakram
Thethakudi Harihara Vinayakram or Vikku Vinayakram, as he is famously known, is a world-renowned Master percussionist who has single-handedly popularised the ghatam worldwide. The instrument which was not given much importance in the world of Indian percussion before, today features in various world music albums. Shri Vikku Vinayakram has brought glory to the instrument as well as to Indian music worldwide.

Born in 1942 in Thiruchirapalli, Shri Vinayakram learnt music from his father, a well-known percussionist Thethakudi Harihara Sarma. At a young age, he began playing with great musicians like Shri Ariyakudi Shrinivas Iyengar, Shri Semmangudi Srinivas Iyer, Shri Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar and many more. He has also performed with great percussionists like Shri Palakkad Mani Iyer and Shri Palani Subramaniya Pillai.

Shri Vinayakrams first concert abroad was the unforgettable concert with Bharat Ratna MS Subbulakshmi at the United Nations in New York in 1966. Since then he has had many performance tours, collaborations and teaching assignments all over the world. In the 1970s he was a member of Shakti, which combined the elements of traditional Indian music with elements of jazz. The group consisted of John McLaughlin, Zakir Hussain and L Sankar. It successfully merged Indian and Western music and enthralled audiences worldwide. Later he also contributed to Planet Drum an album by drummer Mickey Hart on different musical genres.

Spanning six decades of brilliant service to Indian music, Vikku Vinayakram was awarded the prestigious Padmashree in 2002. He has also received the Kalaimamani award by the Tamil Nadu government, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship and the Grammy Award.

Shri Vinayakram serves as the principal of a school the Jaya Ganesh Tala Vadyha Vidyalaya in Triplicane, Chennai founded by his father Shri Harihara Sarma where students including underprivileged youth are taught percussion-free of cost.

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