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KERALA TOURISM NEWSLETTER

ISSUE: 228

AUGUST 2012

Karunamoorthy

When little Karuna paid his routine visit to the nearby Subrahmania Swamy Temple in Harippad, he was entranced by the rhythm of Tavil, a south Indian percussion instrument. Years later when the same boy moved his magical fingers on the Tavil the audience in the renowned Queen Elizabeth Hall, London stood entranced and engrossed.

Karunamoorthy a native of Harippad, a temple-town in Alappuzha was obsessed with the world of rhythm, right from his childhood. His greatest inspiration was his mother's uncles - the renowned Ambalappuzha Brothers K. Sankaranarayana Panicker, K. Gopalakrishna Panicker and K. Ramakrishna Panicker - virtuoso nagaswaram players.

Karunamoorthy started learning Tavil at the age of ten from Narayana Panicker of Harippad. For his higher learning the little mind dared to leave the hometown and went to Thanjavur (Tanjore) in Tamil Nadu. Long Years of schooling under various maestros including Thanjavur Govindaraj, Tiruvidaimarudur Venkatesh, Valayappatti Subramaniam and Mannarcudi Vasudevan refined the talents of young Karuna.

Karuna had his first overseas performance in 1999 when his German student Christian invited him to that country for a performance. After that there was no looking back. Karuna and his Tavil journeyed through numerous countries playing at over 1500 stages all around the globe.

Experimenting and exploring the innumerous possibilities of Tavil, Karunamoorthy conducted workshops and shared stage with exponents from different fields. Karuna and his Tavil blend well with various genres of music and various schools of dance. The distinguished American drummer Steve Smith and progressive percussionists from Afghanistan Hakim Ludin invited Karuna to form 'World Percussion Trio,' which became a hit in the late 90s. Fascinated by the rhythm of Tavil, Bettina Castano, internationally acclaimed Flamenco dancer, requested Karuna to render rhythm to her steps. Another trio originated when Mattannoor Sankarankutty, the maestro of Chenda (another south Indian percussion instrument), joined this group thus facilitating an amazing blend of cultures.

Some of the big names that Karuna shared his talent with include Jazz Saxophone exponent Roland Sheiffer, Switzerland-based Tabla player and music professor Jatinder Thakur, Ganjira (tambourine) player Selva Ganesh, Carnatic Clarinet maestro A K C Natarajan, Saxophone maestro Kadri Gopalnath, renowned Saxophone duo Lavanya Sisters, veteran Jazz drummers Effrain Toro, Dave Weckl and many more.

Karuna's production company Anjaneya Hospitality came out with three outstanding music albums Vadya Lahari, Trisakthi and Nada Lahari. Karunamoorthy's greatest dream is to establish an International Performing Arts centre where music from different parts of the globe come together and conflates, imparting the wealth and knowledge to each other.

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