By including the refined nuances whereas enjoying the percussion instrument Kalamandalam Kesava Poduval redefined the aesthetics of Chenda
Effectively-known Chenda participant Kalamandalam Kesavan Poduval, recognized extra as a Kathakali percussionist, handed away not too long ago. His ardour in the direction of the percussion instrument made him take it to the upper airplane.
The hilly environment of Anakkara in Palakkad district was the place Poduval lived until 25, displaying promise as a chenda artiste within the solo tayambaka live performance steeped in classical Malamakkavu type. Alongside along with his two brothers, he was mentored by their father Kudalil Achutha Poduval. Then, in 1956, the teenager opted to play for Kathakali and joined Kalamandalam, the dance-drama’s premier establishment in Cheruthuruthy, 35 km east of his home close to scenic Kumbidi,
beneath the illustrious Krishnankutty Poduval and Achunni Poduval. Quickly after his course, Kesava Poduval joined Muthappan Kaliyogam at upstate Parassini close to Kannur. That stint (1961-63) ended forward of an invite from an institute south of Kochi.
Legion of disciples
In 1964, Poduval joined RLV Faculty of Music and Advantageous Arts in Tripunithura and served the establishment for 22 years. Apart from coaching a very good line-up of scholars, Poduval additionally received an opportunity to show his percussive abilities and emerge as a reasonably busy performer throughout Kerala.
After his retirement from RLV Poduval performed personal tuitions, grooming college students in Kathakali chenda, tayambaka and even melam—the competition ensemble spanning at least three hours.
“Age was no bar. From youngsters to the middle-aged, the grasp took every beneath his wings. Females have been no taboo,” factors out Gopikrishnan Thampuran, a frontline disciple of Poduval . “He gained’t lose his poise with the below-par or lazy.”
Unruffled conduct and refined chenda-playing have been the hallmarks of the maestro. Staying calm enabled him to keep up a twin profession, although by the mid-Seventies he determined to focus extra on Kathakali chenda than the tayambaka.
“Outdated-timers say tayambaka’s loss ended as much as be Kathakali’s acquire,” recollects Gopikrishnan, who took Poduval to his ancestral land 4 years in the past to movie a documentary on the grasp. (The octogenarian had left his native village six many years in the past). In 2017, the quick movie NadaKesavam was launched at a operate held in Tripunithura to honour Poduval, a winner of the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi award.
Creator-scholar T.S. Madhavan Kutty notes a symbiotic relation between tayambaka and Kathakali chenda. “Educated Kathakali drummers are typically poetic of their tayambaka,” he states. “In different phrases, Kathakali chenda could make your tayambaka suitably restrained.”
Poduval, basically, was each. By no means the outgoing kind, his calm angle mirrored whereas enjoying the chenda as effectively. Kathakali veteran Sadanam Krishnankutty says background percussion was protected and durable when Poduval led it. “Technically, we’re from completely different colleges. But, if it’s him on the chenda, we by no means mentioned stage procedures upfront,” he says.
By the way, Krishnankutty insisted that Poduval should let his son be taught maddalam, that performs complementary to the chenda in Kathakali. Outcome: Kalamandalam Sasikumar proved his virtuosity and creativity on the maddalam, and in addition teamed up along with his father on Kathakali daises that includes the gradual and quick choreographies.
Maddalam guru Gopikkuttan Nair, Sasikumar’s colleague at Kalamandalam, remembers his annual Sabarimala journeys that he undertook with Poduval . “ On Vishu days, we’d current Kathakali on the Ayyappa temple,” he says. The reveals have been invariably led by Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair, who was additionally Poduval’s colleague at RLV.
Kathakali artiste Geetha Varma recollects the times when Poduval joined a troupe largely comprising girls . “Contained in the van and on the greenroom, he can be sometimes withdrawn. However behind the hand-held curtain, after I’d painting the character and pay the ceremonial obeisance, he’d encourage me with a pat on my shoulder. That was inspiring.”
Vocalist Kalamandalam Sreekumar recollects the 1996 journey to Dehradrun for a efficiency. “In wintry Dehradun, we have been to put on sweaters. Poduval wooed us into the age-old custom of performing bare-chested.” Chimes in musician Pathiyoor Sakarankutty: “By no means will Poduval distract anybody on stage along with his showmanship.” High chenda artiste Kalamandalam Krishnadas concurs, including, “No off-key observe. So musical!”
“Such belongings existed whilst a pupil at Kalamandalam,” says Panjal Unnikrishnan, his up to date on the establishment. “As he was a lot older and skilled, we’d take recommendations on chenda classes from him. A few years later, I accompanied him at a tayambaka. It was terrific!,” he provides.
Kuttipuzha Balachandran, Poduval’s pupil at RLV, reveals the grasp’s love for cinema posters. Provides Gopikrishnan: “Clock restore was a parallel curiosity.”
However the maestro’s energetic life turned listless when Poduval’s son Sasikumar met with a deadly highway accident in 2010. It made the grasp reclusive. For chenda lovers, although, reminiscences would resonate.
The author is a eager follower of Kerala’s performing arts.