By including the delicate nuances whereas enjoying the percussion instrument Kalamandalam Kesava Poduval redefined the aesthetics of Chenda
In 2016, the octogenarian took an in depth journey to his native village he had left six many years in the past. By this time, Kalamandalam Kesava Poduval was famend extra as a Kathakali percussionist than a tayambaka exponent.
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 model. Alongside together with his two brothers, there emerged a notable trio who have been 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.
There, underneath the illustrious Krishnankutty Poduval and Achunni Poduval, the teenager imbibed the nuances of chenda in including to Kathakali’s theatrical worth. Quickly after his course, Kesava Poduval discovered a job in 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
Thus, in 1964, Poduval joined RLV School of Music and Tremendous Arts in Tripunithura. The 22-year service earned him not only a good line-up of scholars; the temple city helped Poduval show his percussive abilities and emerge as a reasonably busy performer throughout Kerala.
His retirement from RLV in 1986 no method portended inaction. Poduval continued together with his personal tuitions, grooming abilities into respectable practitioners of Kathakali chenda, tayambaka and even melam—the pageant ensemble spanning a minimum of three hours.
“Age was no bar. From youngsters to the middle-aged, the grasp took every underneath his wings. Females have been no taboo,” factors out Gopikrishnan Thampuran, a frontline disciple of Poduval who died this month. “He gained’t lose his poise with the below-par or lazy.”
Kalamandalam Kesavan Poduval studying underneath Kalamandalam Achunni Poduval
Unruffled conduct and understated chenda-playing have been the hallmarks of the maestro, who breathed his final on October 10, months wanting turning 90. The cool head enabled him to take care of a twin profession, although by the mid-Seventies Poduval determined to just about stop tayambaka and give attention to Kathakali chenda.
“Previous-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 as a part of a crew taking pictures a documentary on the grasp. The endeavour bore fruit
in early 2017 when NadaKesavam was launched as a brief film at a operate again 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. “Skilled Kathakali drummers are usually poetic of their tayambaka,” he states. “In different phrases, Kathakali chenda could make your tayambaka suitably restrained.”
Poduval, primarily, was each. By no means the outgoing sort, his calm sweetness was evident in enjoying the chenda as properly. Kathakali veteran Sadanam Krishnankutty says background percussion was secure and durable when Poduval led it. “Technically, we’re from totally different faculties. But, if it’s him on the chenda, we by no means mentioned stage procedures prematurely,” he says.
By the way, Krishnankutty stored insisting that Poduval should let his solely son be taught maddalam, the drum that performs complementary to the chenda in Kathakali. The proposal bore fruit: Kalamandalam Sasikumar not solely gained title in his 30s, he teamed up together with his father on Kathakali daises that includes the gradual and quick choreographies.
Maddalam guru Gopikkuttan Nair, who turned out to be a colleague of Sasikumar at Kalamandalam, trails off the annual pilgrimages he undertook with Poduval to Sabarimala within the Eighties. “On the famed Ayyappa temple on Vishu days, we’d current Kathakali,” he says. The exhibits have been invariably led by the enduring Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair, who was additionally Poduval’s colleague at RLV.
Kathakali artiste Geetha Varma has related recollections about Poduval becoming a member of a troupe largely comprising females. “Contained in the van and on the greenroom, he can be usually withdrawn. Behind the hand-held curtain, once I’d enter because the character and pay the ceremonial obeisance, he’d pat on my shoulder,” she says. “That was inspiring
Vocalist Kalamandalam Sreekumar recollects a 1996 journey upcountry. “In wintry Dehradun, we have been to put on sweaters. Poduval wooed us into the age-old custom of performing bare-chested,” he says. Chimes in musician Pathiyoor Sakarankutty: “By no means will Poduval distract anybody on stage together with his showmanship.” Prime chenda artiste Kalamandalam Krishnadas concurs, including, “No off-key observe. So musical!”
Such belongings existed at the same time as a pupil at Kalamandalam, says Panjal Unnikrishnan, his modern on the establishment. “A lot elder to me, sure. So we’d take tips about chenda classes from him,” he says. A few years later, I accompanied him at a tayambaka. Terrific!”
The grasp’s RLV-time pupil Kuttipuzha Balachandran reveals Poduval’s love for cinema posters. Provides Gopikrishnan: “Clock restore was a parallel curiosity.”
Poduval’s son Sasikumar met with a deadly highway accident in 2010. That made the grasp reclusive. For chenda lovers, although, recollections would resonate.
The author is a eager follower of Kerala’s performing arts.