Vijay Siva — Rare pictures and a fun interview

In 2008, I did an email interview with Vidwan Vijay Siva in conjunction with that year’s Bharat Sangeet Utsav (Carnatica’s annual music festival). It wasn’t meant to be a serious interview — I sent in two light-hearted questionnaires and asked him for pictures from his childhood until 2008. Vijay Siva responded with a treasure trove of photos and answers that were a delight to read!


Vijay Siva, the child prodigy, identifies ragas as a three year old at the Music College in Chennai, watched by T.M. Thyagarajan and Prof. Balakrishnan

Vijay Siva, the child prodigy, identifies ragas as a three year old at the Music College in Chennai, watched by T.M. Thyagarajan and Prof. Balakrishnan

Young Vijay with parents Akhila and A.N.Siva and siblings Manoj and Poorna

Young Vijay with parents Akhila and A.N.Siva and siblings Manoj and Poorna

Vijay in concert with Thiruvallur Veeraraghavan (Violin) and Sanjeevi (Mridangam). His mother Akhila is on the tambura.

Vijay in concert with Thiruvallur Veeraraghavan (Violin) and Sanjeevi (Mridangam). His mother Akhila is on the tambura.

Vijay plays the mridangam as his mother sings.

Vijay plays the mridangam as his mother sings.

Vijay receives a prize from Nadaswara vidwan Thiruveezhimizhalai Subramania Pillai at the Tamil Isai Sangam in 1974.

Vijay receives a prize from Nadaswara vidwan Thiruveezhimizhalai Subramania Pillai at the Tamil Isai Sangam in 1974.

Vijay performs Harikatha (Avvaiyar Charitram) in 1975.

Vijay performs Harikatha (Avvaiyar Charitram) in 1975.

Vijay Siva in the role of Lakshminarayanan (son of Saint Raghavendra) in the play Mantralaya Mahaan. In the role of Narada is his father A.N.Siva.

Vijay Siva in the role of Lakshminarayanan (son of Saint Raghavendra) in the play Mantralaya Mahaan. In the role of Narada is his father A.N.Siva.

A pamphlet announcing Vijay Siva's concert for Nadopasana during the year 1979

A pamphlet announcing Vijay Siva’s concert for Nadopasana during the year 1979

Vijay Siva in the concert advertised above

Vijay Siva in the concert advertised above

Vijay Siva receives the Rajaji Tambura prize from Dr.S.Ramanathan at the Tamil Isai Sangam in 1981.

Vijay Siva receives the Rajaji Tambura prize from Dr.S.Ramanathan at the Tamil Isai Sangam in 1981.

Vijay Siva receives a prize from Veena S.Balachander at the Indian Fine Arts Society

Vijay Siva receives a prize from Veena S.Balachander at the Indian Fine Arts Society

Vijay Siva with his mridangam guru Kumbakonam Rajappa Iyer

Vijay Siva with his mridangam guru Kumbakonam Rajappa Iyer

Vijay Siva with his guru D.K.Jayaraman and family.

Vijay Siva with his guru D.K.Jayaraman and family.

Vijay Siva accompanies Srimathi Brahmanandam at REC Trichy after a music competition in 1984.

Vijay Siva accompanies Srimathi Brahmanandam at REC Trichy after a music competition in 1984.

First anniversary celebrations of YACM in 1986. Vijay Siva (Secretary) with B.Kannan (President), Unnikrishnan, Shriram Kumar, J.Balaji, Ghatam Suresh and others. Also seen are maestros Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, M.S.Subbulakshmi and Sadasivam, Yesudas and Padma Subramanyam.

First anniversary celebrations of YACM in 1986. Vijay Siva (Secretary) with B.Kannan (President), Unnikrishnan, Shriram Kumar, J.Balaji, Ghatam Suresh and others. Also seen are maestros Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, M.S.Subbulakshmi and Sadasivam, Yesudas and Padma Subramanyam.

Vijay Siva with his guru D.K.Jayaraman and Sankara Menon during the valedictory function of YACM's anniversary in 1990.

Vijay Siva with his guru D.K.Jayaraman and Sankara Menon during the valedictory function of YACM’s anniversary in 1990.

In a lighter mood

In a lighter mood

Vijay Siva receives the Isai Peroli from Kartik Fine Arts in 1995.

Vijay Siva receives the Isai Peroli from Kartik Fine Arts in 1995.

Vijay Siva receives the Kalki Memorial Award from Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer in 1996. Also seen are M.S. Subbulakshmi and Sadasivam.

Vijay Siva receives the Kalki Memorial Award from Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer in 1996. Also seen are M.S. Subbulakshmi and Sadasivam.

Vijay Siva addresses the audience at a function.

Vijay Siva addresses the audience at a function.

Vijay Siva in concert with maestros Palghat Raghu (Mridangam), Harishankar (Khanjira) and Mysore Manjunath (Violin).

Vijay Siva in concert with maestros Palghat Raghu (Mridangam), Harishankar (Khanjira) and Mysore Manjunath (Violin).

Vijay Siva learns from D.K. Pattammal.

Vijay Siva learns from D.K. Pattammal.

Vijay Siva in concert with R.K. Shriram Kumar (Violin), J. Vaidhyanathan (Mridangam) and B.S. Purushottam (Khanjira).

Vijay Siva in concert with R.K. Shriram Kumar (Violin), J. Vaidhyanathan (Mridangam) and B.S. Purushottam (Khanjira).

Vijay Siva with his wife Shyamala and daughter Kalyani.

Vijay Siva with his wife Shyamala and daughter Kalyani.

1 Gurus Mother Smt. Akhila Siva, Sri D K Jayaraman, Smt. D K Pattammal and Sri Kumbakonam Rajappa Iyer
2 Career span So long, it has been short. Hope to be nothing short of long, in future.
3 Countries visited USA, Canada, France, Middle East, Singapore and Srilanka
4 Favourite concert venue Anywhere, when purity in heart lies with me and the listener(s)
5 First concert– venue Unable to remember the exact venue.
– age Isn’t it a risk to recollect the age?
6 What made you pursue music as your career? The sheer joy of experiencing the highest bliss with others.
7 Musicians you admire Apart from my teachers, Smt. M S Subbulakshmi, Sri Semmangudi, Sri KVN and Sri Madurai Mani Iyer
8 Favourite raga The one(s) tested by time
9 Favourite composer The one(s) who has not sought others to sing his/her composition.
10 Do you sing or play any instrument apart from the one you are known for? If yes, which ones? Mrudangam
1 Date of birth 29th March 1967
2 Zodiac Aries
3 Birthplace T. Nagar, Chennai
4 Father’s name A N Siva
5 Mother’s name Akhila Siva
6 Family details Big one, culturally rich and materialistically content
7 School Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan and Vivekananda college
College
8 Godfather/Mentor God – who sent me my parents and teachers to be my mentors
9 Best friend My athma
10 Strengths Not able to see others weakness
11 Weaknesses Unable to assess my own strengths
12 Favourite food Anything that keeps me light and cool
13 Favourite beverage Water
14 Favourite restaurant That which serves health conscious food
15 Favourite colour The better one that eclipses the poorer one
16 Favourite/lucky number “What am I but a big zero in this huge world”-this feeling can bring nothing but luck
17 Favourite book Autobiography of a Yogi
18 Favourite magazine Kalki
19 Favourite holiday destination Anywhere, treating each day as a holy – day.
20 Hobbies Reading and watching healthy humourous stock
21 Fitness regimen (For example, do you do yoga, go to the gym, jog/walk/cycle regularly, etc.) Art of Living exercises, meditation and walking
22 Personalities from other walks of life who have inspired you All those who never sought to deliberately inspire others
23 Most memorable incident Many incidents of having received help from so many people. Unable to choose and quote the best of them.
24 Most forgettable incident Already well forgotten.
25 Superstitious beliefs you have Not to ignore everything as superstition.
26 If you had another avatar, what would you like to be? Someone who will not call an ordinary as avatar
27 Your message to your fans and rasikas A message, also for me to remember always – “Never try to promote music. Serve it and it will promote you.”
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