Seshampatti Sivalingam

Posted 2020-11-07

Seshampatti T. Sivalingam is one of the top artists of the Nadhaswaram in the field of Carnatic music with an illustrious career spanning more than half a century. He took initial training from his father, a renowned Nadhaswaram artiste, Shri. Seshampatti P Theerthagiri. Thereafter, he took advanced training from Shri. Keevalur NG Ganesan in Tanjore and subsequently from Shri. Keeranur Ramaswami Pillai and Shri. Thiruvarur Latchappa Pillai while also graduating with the Vadhya Vishradh degree from the College of Carnatic Music in Chennai in 1971.

Shri. Seshampatti T Sivalingam has achieved great success in his professional life as a vidwan of the Nadhaswaram and has been bestowed with high honours by both the Government of India and the State of Tamil Nadu. Notable awards include the Sangeet Natak Akademi award and the Kalaimamani. He has also been bestowed with numerous awards from leading Carnatic Music Sabhas. In addition to the above accolades, he served as the Asthana Vidwan of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, was an emapanelled artiste of Indian Council for Cultural Relationships (ICCR). He is also a renowned artiste and a leading Nadhaswaram artiste in Chennai and regularly performs in the Chennai Music Season in several leading venues.

Shri. Seshampatti T. Sivalingam has performed through the length and breadth of India while also touring numerous other countries. He has both represented India at various global events and also the state of TamilNadu in events within India. He has performed . He has been in the panel of judges for All India Radio (AIR) auditions and competitions. He has also been performing for AIR for over four decades and has been categorised as Top Grade artiste by AIR. He has been a great ambassador of South Indian Classical Music and has preserved the auspicious tradition of Nadhaswaram in Carnatic classical music and has passed on the art form through his disciples.

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I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from Vidwan Seshampatti Sivalingam. He is a maestro of the Nagaswaram and of music in general and a charismatic and loving human being. Even though I only had time to stay in Chennai and learn from him during the December season some years back, he accepted me and taught me as much as I could grasp within that short time. From him, I, a Swedish musician, got the opportunity to regard music from a different perspective, to widen my horizons and focus on things I did not know of.
Teaching commenced at 8 in the morning. I had to sing the melodies before playing them, which was difficult as I had to sing the names of them in indian solfége (saregams) and as I was there for a short time I choose not to notate my lessons according to the Indian system but notated in our western way after coming back to my hotel room each day. Also what he played I had to imitate many times until I got the phrasings right. I see many advantages with this way of learning music as singing the names of the notes gives a good feeling for the melodic structure and imitating helps you to understand the small codes inherent in all musical dialects.
You said with a friendly smile: “Music is an ocean. You can’t learn everything, some of it you just have to enjoy”. A lot of what you taught me grew on me back in Sweden and it is still growing so I feel that I am still learning from you. It’s an honour to have met this master. Thank you.”
— Jonas Knutsson