Neyveli R. Narayanan

“… Neyveli Narayanan’s Mrudangam Bhani does not pertain to the present day percussive culture of loudness and lashing beats. He gave primacy to mrudangam melody and in this respect he revealed his true understanding of the place of mrudangam in a performance.” THE HINDU.

Hailing from a family of music connoisseurs at Neyveli, Narayanan was initiated into the art of Mrudangam playing at the young age of seven, under the guidance of Sri S.K. Ganesa Pillai. He made his debut at the age of 11 and ever since, he has been rising in his art by furthering his horizons and making a mark in the field of carnatic music. An intensive training under the Maestro Late Thanjavur Sri Upendran brought about a great amount of professionalism in Narayanan’s playing. His guru taught him the intricacies and specialities of the Tanjore Style of playing on the mrudangam.

Narayanan is now blessed with the rare opportunity of being one of the favourite disciples of the Mrudangam Legend Padmabushan Umayalpuram Sri K.Sivaraman. This great influence has brought in a great amount of clarity, precision and perfection in Narayanan’s style.

Narayanan is a post graduate in rhythmology from Madras University. He has accompanied almost all the veterans and present day stars of carnatic music, to name a few, M/S. Madurai T.N Seshagopalan, T.V. Sankaranarayanan, K.V. Narayanaswamy, T.R. Subramanyam, O.S. Thyagarajan, T.N. Krishnan, Mandolin Srinivas, FluteRamani, Chitravina Ravikiran, Sudha Ragunathan, Sowmya, Aruna Sairam, Hyderabad Brothers, Malladi Brothers, M.S. Gopalakrishnan, E.Gayatri, BombayJayasri, and others. He had the privilege of sharing the stage with the Grammy Award winner, Tabla Wizard Maestro Zahir Hussian recently with Violin Vidwans Sri Ganesh Kumaresh. He has cut several commercial records, released by recording institutions like Charsur, Rajalakshmi Audio, Music India, HMV, etc.

Narayanan has performed in all the leading sabhas in India. He has also won acclaim in other countries like USA, Canada, Australia, Newzeland, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, Dubai, Muscat, Doha, Abudhabi, Singapore, Malaysia and Hongkong. He has also participated in many National and international festivals like the Festival of Asia in Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, National Arts council in Singapore etc.,

As an ‘A-TOP’ grade artist, Narayanan has been featured regularly by the All India Radio and TV networks, which also included prestigious broadcasts like Southzone Hook-up, Sangeetha Sammelan and National Programme of music.

Narayanan has students both in India, USA, Canada and UK . They are taught through internet and phone and refresher classes during the visits to those places.

Narayanan is indebted to his parents Sri Rajagopalan and Smt.Meenakshi , who with their insight and vision nurtured his talent as well his family who have been a constant source of support.


  • Sri Neyveli Ganesa Pillai
  • Sri Thanjavur Upendran
  • Sri Umayalpuram K Sivaraman


  • Narayanan was given the “Award for Excellence”in 1995 by the Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer Trust.
  • He received the Best Mrudangam sub senior Artist award was given in 1995 and 1997
  • Best Mrudangam Senior artist award in 2007 by the Music Academy, Chennai.
  • “Yuva Kala Bharathi” award was given in 1997 by the Bharath Kalachar.
  • Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha (Vani Mahal) gave him the “Award for Excellence” in Mrudangam in 1997.
  • Mridangam Maestro Thanjavur VaidyanathaIyer Award given by Sri. Ragam Fine Arts in 1999.
  • “Nadha Oli” award given by Nadha Inbam, Chennai in 2000.
  • He also received the “Asthana Vidwan of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam” title in the year 2006.
  • Recipient of “Vaani Kalaa Sudhakara” title in 2010 from Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha
  • Recipient of “Laya Vadya Chathura” title from Anna Nagar Music Circle in 2014

Press Quotes

…There was clever shuffling of rhythmic patterns in the mrudangam accompaniment of Neyveli Narayanan. His laya support lent lusture to the kirthanas, briskly rendered by the main artiste. He played in such a way as to successfully convey the limits of Mrudangam accompanist. THE HINDU.

…Neyveli Narayanan, in his mrudangam, evoked eloquently rich tone. With a clean image, the rhythmic patterns emerged. There was passion in extending laya support, but poise in discharging his role. It was percussive power unspoilt by loudness of beats. Narayanan’s play was a perfect mix of talent and familiarity with the main artist’s expectations and demands. THE HINDU.

Ramani, accompanied by S.D. Sridhar on the violin, R. Narayanan on the mridangam and Raja Ganesh on the ganjira, started with ‘Chalame’ a Nattakurinji varnam and followed it up with ‘Maha Ganapatim.’ Then he played ‘Evarura,’ the Tyagaraja kriti in Mohanam and yet another kriti in Shanmukhapriya. ‘Entha Muddu’ in Bindu Malini ragam followed next. R. Seetharaman, chief executive officer of DOHA Bank, Qatar, who presided over the function said that it was the rich heritage of India that keeps the Indians united whether they are in the country or abroad. “The values taught by our system, our music and dance are treasures to be preserved and cherished,” he said.