Christian Long

Sivamani: Rhythm is Everything, Everywhere

In TED Talks on April 21, 2010 at 4:21 pm

Reflection by DEVON H.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Sivamani:  Rhythm is Everything, Everywhere

Note:  This is not the TED performance, but it does give you an idea of his live drumming talent.


When I first saw this video I didn’t really know what to think of it. I thought it was interesting, and now I’m really glad I was given it.

This performance is absolutely mesmerizing. I had to watch it a couple times, because I kept forgetting to write things down and that I was supposed to be getting information to write a response. I realized the second time through watching it that he intertwines modern technology with these traditional instruments.

At first I saw that this video was around 17 minutes long, and I was kind of afraid that 17 minutes of the same drums would get monotonous, but it really doesn’t at all. He adds different elements to change up the experience, and he really is able to captivate the audience in a way they never would expect it. He even gets the audience involved a few times with clapping and mimicking some of the rhythms.

Sivamani starts his performance by using the computer technology to generate other sounds along with a voice synthesizer, as well as the traditional instruments of the drums and cymbals. He then slowly progresses into using household items as his instruments, such as a metal bowl you would keep on your coffee table or a plastic suitcase. At one point he even added water as one of his performance elements. He used it on a shaker and showed how it affected the sound and intensity of the shaker. He also took a small gong-type instrument and as he hit it he would slowly drop it into the water slowly changing the pitch as it dropped into the water.

I really get the idea he was trying to present that rhythm really is everything and everywhere.

Everything in the world has a rhythm, even the keys I am typing to write this. The series of clicks have a rhythm, just like everything else in the world. When you walk your steps have their own rhythm and can even be influenced by another rhythm you hear like the ticking of a clock.

Another point I think he was trying to establish was that you can create rhythm out of anything. You aren’t limited by the things around you. Anyone can create a performance similar to what he demonstrated. It may not be as elaborate, but it can still be inspired and interesting.


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