Born in 1945 in Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu, Shri Karaikudi R. Mani received his training in Mridangam under Sarvashri Karaikudi Rangu Iyengar, T.R. Harihara Sarma, and K.N. Vaidyanathan. Shri Karaikudi Mani is among the foremost practitioners of the art of Mridangam-playing today. He showed promise as a musician early in life, receiving the Young Musician’s award from the President of India at the age of eighteen. He has worked steadily to acquire an individual style on the Mridan- gam and has projected it as an instrument for solo perform- ance. He has added a new dimension to his traditional art by playing with percussion ensembles and creating fusion music — combining the Mridangam with instruments of diverse traditions. Some of his notable creations are Srutilaya, Layarathna, Layachitra, Mel- odyssey. Shri Karaikudi Mani enjoys a wide audience, and has a large number of disciples spread over the country and abroad. He has performed and conducted workshops in many parts of the world, and has several cassettes and compact discs to his credit. He has also published a bimonthly maga- zine devoted to percussion, Layamani Layam. Shri Karaikudi R. Mani receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his contri- bution to Carnatic instrumental music.