Prakashan fulfils his 84-yr-old royal promise

Prakashan fulfils his 84-yr-old royal promise

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As the Swati Thirunal Kirtanam, Pahi Parvatha Nandini was brought to life miraculously through nimble drum beats on edakka, Pazhambalkode Prakashan was fulfilling a promise made 84 years ago.

Prakashan was overwhelmed with tears after the one hour edakka concert in front of Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Verma 
 at the Pattom Palace on Wednesday.

"The Maharaja said that I should continue this lineage of promoting edakka- Kerala's own native instrument- whose potentialities remained unexplored by modern musicians."

Prakashan, is the adopted son of legendary percussionist Pallavur Appu Marar,
 whose father, Shankaran Marar, had left an 84-year-old promise unfulfilled.

Shankaran Marar did not heed a request made by Chitra Thirunal Maharaja 
 to perform in front of him and was forced to stay back for 18 years in Travancore.

"My father used to talk about this promise and feel bad about it. Today I feel honoured that I could fulfil his wish," he said.

Prakashan played one Varnam and two Kirtanams on Edakka during the one hour concert. "To render classical ragas and devotional songs in Edakka is a huge challenge for a percussionist as there are no fixed strings and holes like in Violin and flute for each notes. We need to be familiar with the intricate surface of edakka, where on drumming carefully, we can produce various notes,'' he said.

He said that the head of the Royal family of Travancore was pleased with his performance and told him that he needs to play many more Swati Thiruna
 Kirtans on Edakka.

On the controversy surrounding his lineage and allegations by Appu Marar's sons that he had no right to conduct this concert, he said that he was adopted by Appu Marrar as his son.

"I was my fahter's vahan- the man who carries the drum- for many years. My father had given his most valuable thing, his edakka, to me and I have given this instrument to the Vyloppilli Samskriti Bhavan so that they can preserve it for posterity. I believe caste or creed should not come as a roadblock in learning any instrument. If you are passionate about learning music and have the talent, then you can make anyone your guru, even if he is not related to you biologically.''

He says his father, Appu Marrar, could speak through edakka and such was his genius that he could drum two different beats simultaneously. "I just want to promote his egalitarian message through art and Pallavur school of music. My father used to roam around in cycle with a board saying don't ask caste."

Today, Prakashan too teaches Panchavadayam 
 to children in Chenkalchoola, where there are students whose parents are manual labourers and even hoodlums. "Music, like love, has no barriers. But both can be conquered only through effort and discipline."