Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Kudamaloor Janardanan's Interview on Youtube

Check out Kudamaloorji's latest interview videos posted recently on Youtube:

Gokula Murali

This post is a review of Kudamaloorji's 'Gokula Murali' which appeared in 'The Hindu'. To read this in the online version of the newspaper, please go to

Kudamaloor Janardanan’s latest offering ‘Gokula Murali’ proves that in his hands the bamboo reed is transformed into a magical wand.

‘Gokula Murali’ is a collection of evergreen kritis devoted to Krishna. The first track of the CD opens with the soft tones of the edakka and the mellifluous notes of the flute. The piece ‘Sreeman Narayana,’ composed by Annamacharya in Manipravalam, opens with melodic tunes, reviving memories of the slokas of Harinamakeerthanam. ‘Swagatham Krishna,’ an evergreen composition of Oothukkad Venkittasubbair in raga Mohanam, is played with great feel by the flautist. Krishna is portrayed in different roles – as prankster, destroyer and lover.

Unique feel

The third track is a piece from Narayana Theerthar’s ‘Sreekrishna Leela Tharangini.’ ‘Govardhana Giridhara Govinda’ in Darbarikanada, set to Triputa tala, sliced in with Hindustani style, imparts a unique feel to the composition.

‘Radhasametha Krishna,’ a popular traditional composition in Yamunakalyani, is in the form of a bhajan with a lilting melody.

‘Manasancharare brahmani,’ composed by Sadasiva Brahmendra in Syama, is the next piece. The composer implores the lord to show him the path for attaining moksha. Kudamaloor’s rendering lifts the piece to sublime heights.

Subrahmania Bharati’s ‘Theeratha vilayattu pillai’ is a ragamalika comprising ragas Sindubhairavi, Khamaj, Shanmughapriya and Mand.

The last track in the CD is a composition of Swati Tirunal in Pahadi. Giving folk touches, Kudamaloor Janardanan creates a veritable landscape of romantic beauty in the piece ‘Aaj Aye Syam Mohan.’

With deft strokes on the mridangam, tabla and edakka, Vypin Sathish, Hari Krishnamoorthy and Trichur Krishnakumar respectively add charm to the rendering. Ghatam support has been provided by Kottayam Unnikrishnan.


Mohana Murali

As the name suggests, Mohana Murali is an entire album dedicated to the joy infusing raga, Mohanam. Mohana Murali uplifts you with its all four items:

Mohana Laya Tarangam
Oarsman's Ode

The varnam 'Ninnu kori', the first piece is the album deceives one's prediction by presenting an entirely different perception of the oft-heard composition, sounding almost like a melody unheard so far. As the listener realizes the innovative possibilities offered by this presumably 'beginner's lesson', 'Reflections' flows into the mind. The second piece in Mohana Murali, Reflections only cements the fact that Kudamaloorji is one of what could be called a 'natural' in music. Each phrase in Reflections is completed by one which is a mirror image of the preceding phrase! The melody is not only unhindered by this technique, but seamless.

The listener, at this point is sure to be hooked to the album when Reflections gives way to the pièce de résistance - Mohana Laya Tarangam. A beautiful name, as the beautiful music. Mohana Laya Tarangam speaks to your soul with its remarkable blend of rhythm and melody. One perceives not only Mohanam, but four other ragas, owing to the unique technique applied here, called ‘sruti bhedam’.

Mohana Murali bids a magical farewell with a folk tune, named ‘The Oarsman’s Ode’. For once, the pen is not mighty - definitely not mightier than Sri. Janardanan’s music. So, I say nothing more about this piece, except that it is an unheard melody captured, and made audible.