Fame in percussion comes calling young

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Chennai, Apr 18: Here is to a Sivamani in the making. Welcome to the beats of Siddharth Nagarajan, who at a tender age of nine has 'drummed' his way into the Limca Book of World Records for the second time with theme music for Tamil feature 'Nenjil Jil Jil.' He is no Maori War Drummer but this prodigy has been making the beat since nearly three when he first walked into the 'Limca Hall of Fame' for being the youngest in the profession.

This globe-trotting percussionist was born in September 1997 to N Nagarajan, who is a cine rhythmist and Singer Vidya. So, music is in his DNA.

A second standard student of Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan, Siddharth was initiated into drumming by none other than the globally renowned Sivamani who called him 'my heir.' His tryst with fame began when he entered the Limca Book in 2003 for being the youngest to compose 'Bols' or 'Jathis' (rhythmic syllables) on the spot at a tender age. Siddharth held the record for three consecutive years.

Music Director Imam's 'Nenjil Jil Jil' saw him once again entering the Limca Book being the youngest musician to record the theme music for a feature film.

''I had 12 drums and played with confidence without any stress,'' said the little boy who has straddled the globe and is now a stage veteran while recalling his stage performance in 2003.

''I practise three hours a day and aim to create a world class album on rythms.'' His most cherished moment came in October 2004 when he performed before President A PJ Abdul Kalam during the first citizen's birthday celebrations.

''After the function, we were waiting in the queue for tea. The President called me and gave me a plate of snacks and held my hand,'' a proud Siddharth says.

He floored Dr Kalam with his talent and won him over with a handmade birthday greeting card.

Interestingly, his first show was on 16 April, 2000, when he was barely two and half years old. He is now 1,000 performances old.

Sivamani is simply taken over by the lad's talents. ''I am amazed with his talent. He never knows stage fear and has given performances on television, radio and sabhas,'' he said. At school too, his talent is made ample use of as he is often asked to provide rhythm support during musical programmes. His parents are simply elated with their little drummer.

''He can compose 'bols' or 'jathis' in a jiffy and identify all the rhythm and percussion instruments, classifying them instantly.

''He keenly watches drum demonstration videos by leading artistes all over the world,'' Nagarajan said.

''When Siddharth was just one and half years, one afternoon, when everyone in the house was fast asleep, we suddenly heard the Dandia beat from the adjacent room.

''What we saw was truly amazing -- My son Siddharth, who groped his way into his father's music room was playing the on the Dhol,'' said Vidya.

With so much rhythm already in him, the inquisitive Siddharth does not want to lag behind in melody.

''He has started composing pieces of syncopation for his shows and is also trying his hand at singing and playing the piano though he is yet to have any formal training in them as yet,'' his father said.

But take Siddharth away from music and he is one of the brat pack. He is a Spiderman freak, car and bike buff. He watches 'Pogo' and cartoon channels just like others of his age.

However, his heart and soul is in the drums and his heart always beats for them!


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