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For the people

SANKAR N

Kaithapram Damodaran Namboothiri prefers to look ahead instead of being bogged down by controversies.


I am not disappointed about losing the award, but there is a question of ethics. Kaithapram Damodaran Namboothiri



WAXING LYRICAL: Kaithapram Damodaran Namboothiri . PHOTO: S. RAMESG KURUP

Lyricist, poet and music composer, Kaithapram Damodaran Namboothiri, was recently in the news as his songs in `Perumazhakalam' was not included in the print that was submitted before the award selection committee.

The lyrical songs in the film, especially `Chenthaarmizhi,' beautifully woven in Sahana raga, and the Mappilapaatu `Meherba Meherba,' were as big a success as the film itself.

"I am not disappointed about losing the award, but there is a question of ethics," said Kaithapram. " ... I am concerned about this ridiculous idea of avoiding songs merely for winning an award. For me the greatest award is the approval of the people, for whose interest I work."

Kaithapram recently won the Film Fraternity award of Rs.50,000, for the film `Kazhcha.' The award has been instituted by Amritha TV.

Promoting classical music

Now Kaithapram is involved in promoting classical music. "My father, Keshavan Namboothirippad, who was a disciple of Chembai, died without any accolades or recognition. He was a great scholar. He has been my inspiration." The 1,200 students being trained in Carnatic vocal and instrumental music at his Swathithirunal Kalakendram, Kozhikode, are first taught to appreciate music. He has also established its branches in Kannur, Manjeri, Valanchery, Thiruvankulam and Kottayam. The training system is traditional and natural so that a deep love for music is instilled in the students. Great musicians and singers visit these centres and address the students.

Healing power of music

His latest venture in music therapy is progressing and making a silent revolution in the medical field.

"Our experiments in music therapy are based on the `Samayasangeetham' concept. Patients are made to listen to different ragas in the form of simple tunes, depending upon the time and occasion. This has been found to create positive physiological effects, like increase in the oxygen level in the blood, normality of blood pressure and so on," he said.

"It has been found that the same treatment is applicable to different patients with variety of diseases.

Like synchronising the sruthis of two veenas, when our mind gets synchronised with our body, through music, we are able to accomplish a divine and eternal tranquility, which according to doctors, is the most significant physical state required for curing various diseases," he explained.

Gathraveena

The `Gathraveena' concept compares our body to the veena; the frets on the veena being the bones encircling our spinal chord and the music that emanates from the vibration of strings being the sound of life radiating from the periodic vibration of our heart, added Kaithapram. He is also working hard to promote the concept of `secularism in music.'

In many music festivals and shows, he has sung his own compositions, praising the gods of all religions. According to him, through music, the concept of secularism can be embedded in the hearts of people, which can pave the way for a positive social revolution.

He proudly recalls a concert by Ustad Alla Rakha Khan and Zakir Hussain, with Sulthan Khan on the Saarangi, in Kozhikode, when they proclaimed that for them, the concert was, in fact, a Saraswathi pooja.

At present, Kaithapram is developing the Swathithirunal Kalakendram at Thiruvanoor, into a music school and a music therapy centre. A modern studio with the latest technology is being planned, which is meant exclusively for classical music.

Atharva Veda

"Till now, no one has heard a recital of Atharva Veda. With the help of a studio I can undertake personal ventures in creating and propagating the recordings of such scriptures and music of the bygone era," he said.

It goes without saying that works of eminent cultural ambassadors like Kaithapram Damodaran Namboothiri are of great significance in the preservation and promotion of tradition and culture.

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