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Recurring rhythm in each beat

CHENNAI: As we spoke to drummer S Muralikrishnan, we could hear melodious rhythms of religious merriment.

“I am here in the village of Pallippuram, near Pattambi, where my father grew up. What you can hear are the beautiful sounds of our village’s annual car festival, where I was introduced to rhythm as a three-year-old with the help of Chenda,” says Muralikrishnan, better known as Drums Murali in the city.

He always respects the rhythm, wherever he is. “I play on all surfaces and it’s a great way to practice,” he says.

A 46-year-old multi-percussionist who plays western drums, timbales, darbukka (goblet drum), cajon, djembe, cymbals and bells, he started playing professionally from 1996.

“I started learning the mridangam before I tried my hand at the drums. Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman is my guru. This made it easy for me to collaborate with classical musicians from all walks of life like Tripunithura Viswanathan Gopalakrishnan, the late Kadri Gopalnath, Bickram Ghosh, Mattannoor Sankarankutty and many more respectable names,” he adds.

Murali talked his way into teaming up with GV Prakash for Oram Po, a 2007 Tamil film. Remember the famous twists from the 2009 release of Aadhavan? “I had the privilege of working with Harris Jayaraj for the film. I also worked with James Vasanthan for Yathumagi in 2010. In 2012, I got an opportunity to play drums with Karthik for his film Aravaan,” he says.

He also reminisces about his performance with AR Rahman at the inauguration of the 2015 Indian Super League.

Drums Murali, synonymous with his drums, runs Jus Drums – School of Percussion, which was founded in 2003, conducting classes, summer camps and annual concerts.

“I have students who learned from me, from basic drumming, and who have gone on to perform in various venues. And now I also teach their children, which gives me a great sense of gratitude,” says Murali.

The drummer is also a regular volunteer at Chennai Volunteers for Rhythm sessions for the less fortunate, underscoring the importance and spark of kindness that drives change.

It’s the world of Generation Alpha (Gen Alpha), and we’re just living in it! Those born between 2010 and 2024 are expected to be the largest generation in history to be born digitally savvy. All they need is a cell phone in hand, which opens the door to massive exposure.

The exciting summer camp of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was every child’s dream. Where have those happy times of togetherness gone?

Images from the 21st annual summer camp

“It’s the same as children going to school or being homeschooled. Human interaction is first and foremost the basis of being human. YouTube can be a great reference point, but it can never replace a guru. We just need to coexist and reach more people. That is where the medium is very useful,” he says.

Images from the 21st annual summer camp

Murali believes that children should discover and experience the art form of playing an instrument. He states: “Rhythm is an important aspect of our daily lives. When you go to a doctor, he will check the rhythm of your pulse or your heartbeat, which beats rhythmically. You talk and walk in a rhythm. Learning rhythm can help your internal clock work better, as well as multitasking, which we all struggle with.”

This year’s 22nd annual summer camp for aspiring drummers is open to enthusiasts ages five and up. You can unleash your inner rhythm and groove like never before at the camp, open anytime in April and May, located on Lady Desikachari Road, Mylapore.