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Ghatam Giridhar Udupa (born 1980) (Kannada: ಘಟಮ್ ಗಿರಿಧರ್ ಉಡುಪ) is a leading percussionist from India.[1] He plays the ghatam, which is a percussion instrument used in Carnatic music (South Indian classical music) . He is the son of acclaimed Mridangist Vidwan Ullur Nagendra Udupa. He has been critically acclaimed by the press, and has been compared with Ghatam legend Vikku Vinayakram.[2] Udupa currently resides in Bangalore.


Personal life

Ghatam Udupa was born in 1980 to Mridangam musician Vidur Ullur Udupa. He took to music at an early age of 4. Indeed, like his father, he also wanted to be a Mridangist and for a few early years, he did concentrate only on Mridangam, but a chance performance by Vikku Vinayakram caught his imagination and he took to the Ghatam as his primary instrument.[1] Since then, he has performed with various Carnatic instruments. He holds a graduate degree for commerce from Bangalore University. Udupa also plays the Mridangam, Kanjira and Morsing. He also renders the Konnakol (vocal rendition of percussion syllables).



Ghatam Udupa took his basic education of percussion from his father Vidwan Ullur Udupa, who taught him such instruments as Mridangam and Kanjira. He is currently a student of Vidushi Ghatam Sukanya Ramgopal and Vidwan Ghatam V.Suresh.[3]

Music career

Ghatam Udupa is well-known as an exponent of layered Carnatic music. He has performed with Indian classical music stalwarts such as Dr.L. Subramaniam, M. S. Gopalakrishnan, Palghat R. Raghu, Ganesh and Kumaresh, Yesudas, Hyderabad Brothers and Mandolin Srinivas. However, apart from Carnatic music, Udupa also performs fusion, jazz, blues, flamenco, Celtic Music, Symphony Orchestra, World music and Jugalbandhi (Hindustani classical music) concerts. Ghatam Udupa has also played with Western musicians such as John Neptune, Lewis Pragasam, Virginia Mayhew and Alex Rostotsky.[2]

Udupa is a founder Member of "Layatharanga", a team of Indian classical musicians who blend different forms of classical, folk and world music. He is also the core percussionist of the Celtic-fusion band "Nasha" that plays Celtic music fused rhythmically with Indian Percussions. The band's other members include Fabrice de Graef and Alain Genty. He is also a member of Poland-based Flamenco Band "Indialucia" featuring Miguel Czachowski, Jan Kubek and Adam Glosnicki. He has performed live on the Berlin radio and recorded CDs for a leading German audio recording company Autogram.[3]

Ghatam Udupa has also performed with some of the leading names in the Indian Music Industry in many international music festivals in India and abroad. Some of the popular Indian musicians he has performed with, include Kavita Krishnamurthy, Pandit Jasraj, Keith Peters and Shivamani. He has received praise from such stalwarts of Indian music, as R K Srikanthan, Palghat Raghu and Trichur V. Ramachandran.

Ghatam Udupa has performed at the El Violin Global festival, La Coruna in Spain as the accompanying percussionist to L. Subramanian. He has toured the U.S. and Canada as well. Udupa has performed with musicians Ganesh and Kumaresh at International Music Festivals at Theatre de la ville and Theatre guimet, Paris. Udupa has also performed as a part of the Celtic band Nasha at the de Bouche a' Oreille International Festival, Parthenay. Among his state performances, he has performed on Indian percussions for Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra conducted by Maestro Svenn Skipper at Oman Auditorium, Muscat. The grand concert was specially organized for 50 years of Indo-Oman diplomatic ties.

Other notable achievements

Apart from receiving critical acclaim for his instrumental abilities, Ghatam Udupa has also received many national honours and international awards. He was conferred with title "Yuva Kala Bharati" by Bharath Kalachar, Chennai in 2004. Udupa was conferred the "Vijaya Kalashree" title in 1997. In a move which surprised many, he won the Aryabhata Award for the year 2000 at a young age of 20. He is the recipient of the Central Government Scholarship for ghatam from 2002.

Besides the general honours, Ghatam Udupa has also won numerous "Best Percussionist" and "Best Ghatam Player" prizes. The most notable among them was the Ananya Yuva Puraskara he won for being the “Best percussionist of the year" in 2003. The Ananya Yuva Puraskara is an award specially conferred on the youth. He also won the "Best Ghatam Artist Award" from Gayana Samaja, Ganakala Parishat and Malleshwaram Sangeetha Sabha for the years 1992, 1996 and 1999 respectively.

Ghatam Udupa is also the first Indian percussionist to perform at the prestigious Kraków International Percussion Festival in 2005.[2]


  1. ^ a b Namboodiripad, Narayan - A Potful Of Music in RAVE Magazine, November 2006, Issue 46. RNI No. KARENG/2002/8229
  2. ^ a b c "Short Biography of Ghatam Udupa". Retrieved 2006-11-24.  
  3. ^ a b "Official Biography of Ghatam Udupa" (PDF). Retrieved 2006-11-23.  

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