Shri Thiruvaarur Bakthavath- salam was born in 1959 into a family of traditional musicians at Thiruvaarur in Tamil Nadu. He received his initial training from his maternal uncle Thiruvaarur Krishnamurthy and was further groomed by his mother T.R. Anandavalli. Shri Bakthavathsalam has distinguished himself in the field of Carnatic music with his mastery over the Mridangam. Besides accompanying emi- nent Carnatic musicians, he has performed with masters of Hindustani music. He has represented India in festivals abroad, including the Festivals of India in France and U.K., and the Olympic Music Festival held in Barcelona in Spain. He has a large number of published recordings. Shri Bakthavathsalam is the founder Director of the Laya Madhuraa School of Music in Chennai and the Founder Trustee of the Ragalaya Trust which he has set up to serve the cause of Carnatic music. Shri Bakthavathsalam has been honoured by various institutions in Tamil Nadu for his work in music. He was conferred the title of Kalaimamani in 1991 by the Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Manram, and is Asthana Vidwana of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Shri Thiruvaarur Bakthavath- salam receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his contribution to Carnatic instru- mental music.