Kerala sangeetam

Samskriti is a Thiruvananthapuram – based non-governmental cultural organization, registered and working at the international level since 2007, with a view to promote the cultural heritage of Kerala. The idea of contributing in a systematic fashion, whatever is desirable in the domain came to the mind of Sri Sajan Pillai, CEO, USTechnology-Global, while he was listening to a lecture by Prof/ Dr VR Prabodhachandran Nayar, felicitating a one day Swathi-aaraadhana program organized in Fremont by the Organization of Hindu Malayalees (OHM).

Dr Nayar emphasized the fact that even an uninterrupted full-day venture on singing could cover only about 40 items among the hundreds composed by Swathi, amounting to less than 10% of the impressive contribution of the composer among kings and the king among composers. And in Kerala there are several other top-ranking composers like Irayimman Thampi, Kuttikkunju Thankachi, KC Kesava Pillai, Kuttamath, K N Gopala Pillai in addition to dozens of compilers of Kathakali plays like Unnayi Wariar. The Sopanam style of singing devotional songs to the accompaniment of just percussion instruments played by the singer himself, developed as a ritualistic art in Kerala also deserves to be studied and preserved.

Samskriti’s focus has been, till now on Kerala’s heritage in classical music. Monthly scholarship / fellowship / financial assistance were provided to students, teachers and institutions in different regions of Kerala to study, teach and disseminate hitherto unattended compositions originating from Kerala. Students and junior artistes are provided with performance opportunities.

Every month at least one program is organized, in venues like the Vivekananda Cultural Institute, Thiruvananthapuram , where in dozens of students representing different age groups are provided with slots for singing on the stage and a full length concert by an advanced student or junior artiste, is conducted ensuring the participation of seasoned accompanists.

The living legend in the domain of contemporary classical music in Kerala, Smt Parassala B Ponnammal, was honored by Samskriti, with the first Samskriti-samgeetapuraskaaram, which came to be recognized as the greatest award in the field. (2007 October). Samskriti has co-sponsored programs honoring renowned artistes like Dr / Prof B Pushpa Krishnan (Musician-cum-Musicologist), Mulankunnaththukavu Thiyyati Raman Nampyar (Ayyappan Thiyyattu and Sopanasamgitam), Ampalpuzha Vijayakumar (Sopanasamgitam), Margi Sathi (Nangiyar kuththu and Choreography).

Under the aegis of Samskriti hundreds of Kerala-compositions have been notated by Keralasamgiithaacharya Dr/ Prof B Pushpa Krishnan, Chair-Professor, Department of Music at the University of Kerala, and a distinguished member of Samskriti’s Board of Directors. Meaning of the literary text is succinctly pointed out by Dr/ Prof VR Prabodhachandran Nayar. Kilippattu the monthly published by Thunchan Smaraka Samithi, Thiruvananthapuram carried for several years a regular feature entitled ‘Keralasamgiitam’ which consists of the literary text, introductory and explanatory notes and notation of one item every month. Samskriti plans to publish in book form the material both in English and Malayalam along with audio CD of at least select ones among these compositions, so as to serve as teaching and learning materials.

Performances held in Thiruvananthapuram under the aegis of Samskriti, include the following:

Date Vocal Violin Mridamgam Ghatam
20Feb 2010 Students of Brehat Samgeeta Kendram Sri Sathish T Krishna Sri Changanasery KR Jayan Sri Manoj Thiruvananthapuram
20Mar 2010 Sri Kalady Vasudevan & Disciples Sri Thiruvananthapuram Sampath Sri Changanasery KR Jayan Sri Manoj Thiruvananthapuram
17Apr 2010 Smt Ranjini Radhakrishnan, Smt Devi Ravikumar, Smt Vrinda P Nayar Sri Uduppi Balasubramanian Sri Kottayam Rathish Sri Manoj Thiruvananthapuram
15May 2010 Smt Sarada Natarajan Sri Thotupuzha KB Jayakumar Sri Canganasery KR Jayan Sri Thiruvananthapuram Ramaswami Iyer
19June 2010 Kumari Sitara V Sri Uduppi S Balasubramaniam Sri R Syamakrishnan Sri Thiruvananthapuram R Rajesh
21July 2010 Sri Mukhathala Sivaji Sri NV Babu Narayanan Sri Changanasery KR Jayan Sri Sreevaraham Manoj
21Nov 2010 Smt Parassala B Ponnammal Smt Manjula Rajesh Sri Changanasery KR Jayan Sri Thiruvananthapuram R Rajesh
18Dec 2010 Kumari Shalima D Sri Uduppi S Balasubramaniam Sri Changanasery KR Jayan Sri Thiruvananthapuram R Rajesh
14Jan 2011 Kumari Sitara V, Kumari Karthika Kumari M Bhuvana Sri Changanasery KR Jayan Nil