Mr. Parameswaran Namboothiri: Born with an innate talent for singing and painting, Mr. Parameswaran Namboothiri is now one of the seasoned and outstanding exponents in the singing of Kathakali songs.
Hailing from Veliyannur in Kottayam, Mr. Parameswaran Namboothiri's parents were Poovakulathu Kuncharakattil Narayanan Namboothiri and Nangeli Antharjanam. As a school-going youngster, Mr. Parameswaran Namboothiri showed keen interest in music and also painting. He was initiated into the world of music in 1956 by Chembil Chinnappa Bhagavathar, and during the same period also underwent training in painting under artists K. S. Namboothiri and G. Krishna Warrier. Soon after training in oil painting, Mr. Parameswaran became adept in oil painting.
But it was the way of the music that captivated the mind of Mr. Parameswaran Namboothiri the most, and to pursue his passion in a much more earnest manner in 1959, he started learning Carnatic music from the renowned maestro Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar and Olappamana Vasudevan Namboothiri.
In 1960, Mr. Parameswaran Namboothiri turned his attention to Kathakali music, and he decided to learn it under the tutelage of Vasu Nedungadi, who was then music teacher at the PSV Natya Sangham based at Kottakkal. Within a short period of six months, Mr. Parameswaran Namboothiri made his debut in Kathakali music and from there onwards he quickly established himself into a Kathakali musician of repute. Becoming a Ponnani (the lead singer in Kathakali music) and that too in a short time into that art was itself evidence of the kind of passion and talent that was inherent in Mr. Parameswaran Namboothiri.
He served with distinction as Kathakali music teacher at the PSV Natya Sangham till 1977. As a Kathakali musician, Mr. Parameswaran Namboothiri has rendered his voice to most of the Kathakali stories taken up for performance. He possessed a unique ability to perform outstandingly on stage and also during Cholliyattam sessions during training for Kathakali actors.
Mr. Parameswaran Namboothiri had an exceptional talent in rendering ragas (musical notations) like Padi, Kamboji, Kalyani, Thodi, Sankarabharanam, Bhairavi and Kanada. He did it with ease and in a manner that often made the audience immerse in the beauty of its presentation. He was also an exponent in making subtle changes to the ragas, which were welcomed and admired by the audience.
After retiring from PSV Natya Sangham, Mr. Parameswaran Namboothiri does go for occasional performances, and nowadays devote more time to painting, which is a passionate for him, just like music. Not many honours and awards have been bestowed on this artist, who is loved and admired by many. Mr. Parameswaran Namboothiri's distinct identity in the field of Kathakali music is realized and acknowledged by devout followers of Kathakali music, and that is something he cherishes more than any other form of recognition.
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