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Swathi Puraskaram for Sankaran Embranthiri

By Our Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, APRIL 13. Kalamandalam Sankaran Embranthiri, well-known exponent of Kathakali music, has been chosen for the Swathi Sangeetha Puraskaram 2003, instituted by the Kerala Government.

Mr. Embranthiri was selected for the award by a jury comprising P. Gopalaraman, secretary of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Perumbavoor G. Ravindranath, music director, Mannur Rajakumaran Unni, musician, Kavalam Narayana Panicker, chairman of the Sangeetha Nataka Akademi, Vaikom Venugopal, Principal of the Swathi Tirunal Music College, Thiruvananthapuram, and the Cultural Affairs Secretary, E.K. Bharat Bhushan. The award carries a cash prize of Rs. one lakh, a statute and a citation.

The Swathi award was instituted in 1997 in memory of Swathi Tirunal, former king of erstwhile Travancore.

Addressing a press conference here today, the Cultural Affairs Minister, G. Karthikeyan, said this was for the first time that the award was being given to sopanam. All the earlier awards were given to musicians from the world of either Carnatic music or Hindustani music.

Prof. Gopalaraman said the committee unanimously felt that the award this time should go to another stream and the name of Sankaran Embranthiri came up as a unanimous choice. With this, the Swathi award has covered all musical streams, he added.

Born on September 7, 1944, Sankaran Embranthiri is rated as one of the finest exponents of Kathakali music. Because of his contributions, Kathakali music emerged as a separate branch and became quite popular. Embranthiri is a recipient of the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi Fellowship in 2002. He has been selected for a number of awards. He is the recipient of the Suvarna Mudra from Kerala Kalamandalam, an award given only to Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar during Vallathol's time.

Mr. Karthikeyan said the Government had decided to raise the award amount to Rs. one lakh for all awards it had instituted. The Government had also instituted a special award for percussion.

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