For Sivamani, music is a passion and self-learnt. It runs in his blood as his father S.M. Anandan, a renowned drummer in the South Indian Film Industry. At an early age of seven, his father initiated him into music. Apart from drums, he started learning violin and harmonium. Again his father showed the path — to his gurus Noel Grant, Billy Cobham, Trilok Gurtu, and Lewis Pragasam.
Sivamani started his musical career at the age of 12, and later shifted to Mumbai. His first studio break was playing for one of South India’s leading music composers – K. V.Mahadevan. By the age of 13, he had started building his professional music career with S.P. Balasubramaniam, who he considers to be his godfather.
He started as a substitutein music maestro Ilayaraja’s group. But soon, his talent was spotted by Ilayaraja and he found a permanent position in the group. Also, it marked the beginning of a successful career building strong relationships with a lot of music composers in both Tamil and Malayalam film industry including T. Rajendhar, Sam Joseph and Sankar Ganesh.
Sivamani always showed keen interest in taking inspiration from Indian classical music. He would never miss a chance to taking leads from the legends of classical music – VikkuVinayakram, UmaiyalpuramSivaraman and T.K. Moorthy. Impressed by his dedication, tabla stalwart UstadZakir Hussain invited Sivamani to join him for a concert.
Also Sivamani enjoys a special relationship with the multi-Oscar and multi-Grammy winnerA.R. Rahman. He played for A.R. Rahman’s some of the most popular scores ‘Mustafa…Mustafa,’ of KadhalDesam, ‘Humma..Humma’ of Bombay and ‘Chaiya…Chaiya’ of Uyire.
He was also a prominent team member of Bollywood-themed musical – Bombay Dreams. On a different note, he collaborated with singer Hariharan for the ghazal album Kaash was much appreciated for his experimentation with beats in ghazals.
One of Sivamani’s cherished experiences is sharing the stage with Billy Cobham for a concert in Mumbai’s Rang Bhavan. From then on there was no looking back, as he collaborated with renowned musicians of the country and continued with his experimentations.
Sivamani’s career has been nothing but an extraordinary journey. He has shared the stage with the music legends in India and abroad. His earliest experiments with music were with Carnatic maestros including KunnakudiVaidyanathan, T. V. Gopalakrishnan, ValliyapattiSubramaniam andPazhanivel, and L. Shankar.
Apart from sharing the stage with Zakir Hussain and TrilokGurtu, he has collaborated with several musicians including M.S. Viswanathan, Illayaraja, A. R. Rahman and Louis Banks.Sivamanihas done world tours with A. R. Rahman and collaborated with him for Bombay Dreams. He has also been a part of a musical group called Shraddha which comprises Shankar Mahadevan, Hariharan, U. Srinivas and Loy Mendonsa. Shivamani has a band called "Asia Electrik" with Niladri Kumar, Louiz Banks and Ravi Chari.
Sivamani has played drums for many film score composers hailing from Kollywood. He has played drums for many Indian films including Roja, Rang De Basanti, Swades, Taal, Lagaan, Dil Se, Guru, Kabul Express and Rockstar. Some of the songs that he has contributed to include "KadhalRojave”, "PudhuVellaiMalai", “ChaiyaChaiya” and “NadaanParinde”. In 1990, he shared the stage with Billy Cobham at Mumbai's Rang Bhavan.
Sivamani has performed in Dubai, Moscow, New York, Doha and Toronto. During the Mumbai Festival 2005, Coca-Cola India invited him to perform at the Limca Fresh Face 2005 event, where he created melody from Limca bottles. He has also worked on Galli Galli Sim Sim, an educational series on Pogo and Cartoon Network.
He was affiliatedas a drummerand supporter for Chennai Super Kings of Indian Premier League (IPL),from 2008 to 2016. He endorses five biggest international brands in the live music industry, which includes Zildjian, Pearl, Roland, AKG and Remo. He is a member of world music outfits – the Zakir Hussain World Drums Ensemble, SILK, Asia Electrik and Shraddha.
Sivamani has acted in two Telugu films: Padamati Sandhya Ragam and Sirivennela. He has also acted in the Hindi film Madaari (2016).
In 2015, Sivamani made his debut as a feature film music composer with the Tamil movie – ArimaNambi, for which he won the best new music composer award. In 2016, he composed music for a Tamil action thriller film – Kanithan.
In 2009, Sivamani was conferred upon with the title of ‘Kalaimamani’ by the Tamil Nadu Government, which is the highest State Honour in the field of arts. In 2015, he was honoured with the ‘Best Instrumental Act’ at the prestigious Live Quotients Awards (LQA 2015).
In 2019, Sivamani was conferred upon with the title of "Padma Shri" by the Government of India.
"BECOMING A DRUMMER IS MORE
OF A CHOICE THAN CHANCE FOR ME."
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