Sivamani is an electrifying performer and one of the leading drummers of India.
I bumped into him at the Chennai airport and pulled him aside for a quick, impromptu interview. There was a Xone shop, the wireless headphones for which he is a brand ambassador. It was inside the airport and we snuck ourselves in for this interview.
His work blends classical drumming styles — he studied with Carnatic master S.P. Balasubramaniam — with jazz and world beats to create a propulsive sound that pulls in many instruments and traditions.
As a child, he says, he drummed on pots and pans in the kitchen, and that exuberance seems never to have left him.
He’s an enthusiastic ambassador for the drum around India and the globe, and a frequent collaborator. A few notable match-ups: Youssou N’Dour, tabla player Zakir Hussain, flutist Hariprasad Chaurasia, percussionist Elvin Jones, and A.R. Rahman, composer of Bombay Dreams.