Rajendar Marar’s efforts have given a brand new lease of life to the single-stringed Kudukka Vina
Ramamangalam in Ernakulam district is the hub of Sopana Sangeetham and the esoteric artwork of Kerala percussion. This could presumably be as a result of the village is inhabited principally by members of the Marar neighborhood, for whom Sopana Sangeetham and percussion are conventional vocations. The a lot sought-after ensemble of Panchavadyam is believed to have originated right here, and the precursor of Panchavadyam, Parishavadyam, can also be offered solely by artistes from Ramamangalam even as we speak.
The village is very identified for a primordial musical instrument known as Kudukka Vina, a single-string instrument made from coconut shells and performed with a skinny stick. On the decrease finish is a full shell, known as the ‘Kudukka’, whereas the opposite finish has a half shell coated with leather-based, known as ‘Kitaram,’ which is positioned on the shoulder and serves as a resonator. A single metallic string is held taut between these ends. The stress of the string is various, thereby producing completely different swaras, even because the string is vibrated by placing it with an ‘eerkkil’ (rib of the coconut palm leaf). Common observe permits a novice to supply swaras of a lot purity.
Rajendra Marar’s revival undertaking
The credit score for reconstructing the extinct Kudukka Vina goes to Ooramana Rajendra Marar, an authority on each sopana sangeetham and percussion artwork. In accordance with him, Kudukka Vina was frequent within the Marar properties of Ramamangalam centuries in the past, however it step by step disappeared with the emergence of recent musical devices and likewise as a result of the instrument was tough to grasp.
Ooramana Rajendra Marar
As a toddler, Rajendra Marar had heard in regards to the instrument from his father. But it surely was his uncle Olikkal Prabhakara Kurup, who supplied him with extra particulars, as he remembered an outdated Marar taking part in the Kudukka Vina. Rajendra Marar’s makes an attempt to create one based mostly on the descriptions from his uncle weren’t a hit. Later, his guru Vadakkedathu Appu Marar threw extra mild on the instrument and this time Rajendar Marar’s makes an attempt labored. The piece he constructed to his guru’s specs produced pure nada.
Rajendra Marar shared his success along with his different trainer, Guru Trikampuram Krishnankutty Marar, who was equally considering reviving the instrument. Rajendra Marar offered his Vina to him.
First Kudukka Vina live performance
Guru Trikampuram Krishnankutty Marar
In1986, Krishnankutty Marar, an artiste endowed with distinctive dexterity in music and rhythms, offered a Kudukka Vina live performance on the Perumthrikkovil Temple pageant in Ramamangalam. Accompanied by violin and mridangam, the live performance was a path-breaking one within the historical past of music, and Krishnankutty Marar turned the ambassador of Kudukka Vina, invited to current live shows at many locations. Rajendra Marar had his first live performance later, at Alpara Temple in Perumbavoor.
In 2015, with a view to popularise the uncommon instrument, a three-day workshop on the craft of developing and taking part in the instrument was performed by Rajendra Marar at Shatkala Govinda Marar Smaraka Kala Samithy. This helped to make Kudukka Vina extra acquainted amongst music buffs, and now there are fairly just a few artistes able to presenting live shows. For the reason that notes from the Kudukka Vina are feeble in depth and tough to maintain, many artistes have began affixing an digital pick-up to the instrument.
Simulators for practising percussion devices are frequent — Pulimutti for Chenda, Sravanappalaka for Maddalam and Kayetha for Edakka. And the Kudukka Vina is an extra simulator for the Edakka, for producing swaras. It calls for common observe for the swaras to be pure. Maybe Kudukka Vina is the one stringed instrument through which the string pressure is various to supply swaras, whereas in all different circumstances, it’s the size of the vibrating string that’s various. One can not anticipate the Kudukka Vina to achieve the recognition of a violin, however the classic instrument is a novel tribute to the ability of easy music.
The author and tradition critic is a educated musician.