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Heli Tourism

Enchanting Kerala


ISSUE: 211

MARCH 2011

Mavelikara K. Velukutty Nair

To the land and people of Kerala music is an inherent element that renders an aesthetic background to all the activities and pursuits of the daily life. The caressing waves of the Arabian Sea, the never ending sway of the coconut fronds, untiring folk songs of the farmers and the clamour of small towns all blend harmoniously to recite a sweet song that carries the glory of this place beyond the borders.

Kerala has a rich tradition in classical music. The land has given birth to many legends in instrumental music. One of them is Mavelikara K. Velukutty Nair the renowned mridangam player. Velukutty Nair was born in the family of Chettikulangara Erezhu South Nedumpurathu house in 1926. His father Muthukulam Kumara Pillai, belonged to the first line of mridangam players of Travancore, who had his training at Tanjore. Right from his childhood Velukutty Nair had the fortune to stay close to music. Under the gurukula system students from far would come, stay there and study music.

Velukutty Nair started learning mridangam at the age of ten. Next year he presented his arangettam (debut). Very soon he became one of the most sought-after mridangam players in Kerala. At the age of fifteen he was attracted to a new style of playing made popular by the great Palakkad Mani Iyer and Palani Subramania Pillai. He went to meet Mani Iyer and stayed at his house for eight years learning the nuances of mridangam playing.

Later he began to accompany Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer and many others. During this time he joined the Swati Tirunal Music College and retired from the college in 1982. Mavelikara Velukutty Nair is also an A-grade artiste of All India Radio. The music academy conferred the title of Sangita Acharya. He has also recieved the Percussive Arts Centre Award 2007 and the Guruvayoorappan-Chembai Puraskaram in 2008. Presently Mavelikara Velukutty Nair leads a contented life imparting training to the younger generation.

  Topics: Art   Alappuzha  

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