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Neralattu Rama Poduval

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Title: Neralattu Rama Poduval  
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Subject: Music of Kerala, Pothuval, Carnatic instrumentalists, Palghat Mani Iyer, Stephen Devassy
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Neralattu Rama Poduval

Neralattu Rama Poduval or Njaralathu Rama Poduval (1921–1996) was an exponent of the ashtapadi/sopanam music form practised in Kerala in southern India. A recipient of the Kendra Sahitya Academy award, he hailed from a rugged village called Thiruvaazhaamkunnu, near Mannarkkad in Palakkad district and lived most of life in Angadipuram in Malappuram district, the place famous for the Thirumanthamkunnu Temple.

Born into an Ambalavasi family on 16 February 1921, Poduval had his schooling till the fifth standard and moved on to practice the idakka and the chenda. He inherited the art of playing the edakka from his uncle, Njeralathu Karunakara Pothuval, and went on to establish an indelible mark in this field.

He also practiced instruments like the veena from Parappanaatu Rama Kuruppu. He practised Carnatic music from the Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar besides Kodikunnath Madhavan Nair. His experience in Kerala Kalamandalam helped him in gaining knowledge in Kathakali music as well.

Poduval married Lakshmikutty Amma at the age of 36. By the age of 56 he became the father of seven children - Janakikutty, Krishna Vijayan, Gopalakrishnan, Anjaneyan, Gaayathri, Hari Govindan, and Aananda Sivaraman. After his marriage, he lived at Palakkode village near Angadipuram under the patronage of the chief priest of Thirumanthamkunnu Temple at Angadipuram, Pandhalakkode Sankaran Namboodiri. Poduval died on August 13, 1996, aged 75.

Rama Poduval rejuvenated the Sopanam style of traditional Kerala temple music and enthralled the music lovers of Kerala for decades. He brought out this art from within the walls of the temple and made this art popular among the people. There are six different documentary films based on his life and music. 'Sopaanam', his biography in Malayalam, is also implemented as study material for university students in Kerala. The awards he received also include fellowships from both government and cultural organisations.

External links

  • Rama Poduval at Basheer puraskaram
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