Tanjore Praveen Kumar

K. Praveen Kumar who has been learning the mridangam from the tender age of 5, remembers his first accompaniment ever. "I used to attend Bhagavad Geetha class and my teachers were singing at the Besant Nagar Vinayakar Kovil. When they came to know I played mridangam, they immediately asked me to accompany them." Since then, this talented young artist has risen to be an accompanist of great demand. He also leads a fusion band called 'SPARSH'. Hailing from a family of great musicians, he is the grandson of Mridangam Mastro Late Tanjore Sri Upendran and is a disciple of Kalaimamani Guruvayur Sri Dorai. When asked what was the most important lesson he learned, he recalls a sentence said by his guru, "I had just begun accompanying when one day during class, Dorai mama who also sings very well asked me to accompany him. I started playing very loudly not realizing how loud I was. That was when he stopped me and said, "First learn to listen to what I'm singing." This changed my way of looking at music. Ever since that day, I started trying to jell with the artist rather than do my own thing on stage." So what advice does he have for youngsters starting to learn mridangam? "Honestly, I would say listen a lot, both within your style and outside. I listened a lot as a child and it really helped me develop in my art."