Quotes: US MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Marathon Musician  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Muscat Daily - 16/04/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) It seemed almost a foregone conclusion that Kuzhalmannam Ramakrishnan would find his calling in music.


Rhythm had come to him early. At the daily evening ''concerts'' at home, where his mother and sisters would sing.


At his father's feet, listening as his fingers drummed timbered notes out of his mridangam (a traditional percussive instrument). The pampered youngest child, doted on by five older sisters, Ramakrishnan preferred carefree play to demanding tutorials and long practices after school. ''I would even cry at times during the practice sessions,'' he said.
Musician

The musician feels it is easier to connect with the audience through rhythm than music (Muscat Daily)

''I was not very interested. It was my father who was determined to make a musician of me. ''The part I played in my becoming the artiste I am now is negligible. I owe everything to my father.'' And so the practices went on. And the recognition came. A state-level award while still in school. A big deal for his small village in the south Indian state of Kerala, but its import was lost on the teenager who thought his playing ''just a hobby''.


The worries of his middle-class upbringing weighed heavy. ''Being the only son and, with a sister still to be married, I was going to work after graduating. My father convinced me not to.''


Some 30 years on, Ramakrishnan is a record-setting mridangam exponent who brings the sonorous yet somehow still subtle pleasures of his art to crowds bigger and more far-flung than his first audiences at home. Earlier this week, he made his first visit to Muscat.


But in those early years, it was steady, if unspectacular, going on the concert circuit, and Ramakrishnan was content to hone his skills in the security of anonymity. ''I didn't think I could incorporate my culture and tradition into the instrument and I wasn't bothered about doing anything more.''


That changed in 2004, when he had to watch his sister suffer from and finally succumb to lung cancer. He wanted to honour her memory through music. ''I wanted to do something that people would talk about. And when they did, they would think of her.''


For a day and half, accompanied by 130 vocalists, Ramakrishnan played the mridangam without pause. His first marathon performance.


A year later, against medical advice, he would set the bar higher, frenetically doling out beats in a 101-hour concert over five days. He had set a Guinness World Record for the longest solo performance on a hand drum but couldn't remember doing it. ''It seemed at times that my hands have a mind of their own. They were not following the orders my tired brain was sending them. After the first three days, I was in a different world, completely unaware of what was going on around me. People were setting off firecrackers in celebration and I didn't even know what notes I played.''


The Guinness regulations allowed for only a 15-minute break after every eight continuous hours of play, during which he would seek medical treatment for the pain shooting up his back and the angry blisters on his hands. He would revisit that trance-like state two more times in the years to come.


In 2008, his performance clocked in at 301 hours over a period of nearly two weeks. The ''longest hand drum performance'' ever and it was considerably easier, he said, than the first time. A revision of the rules allowed for a 20-minute break every four hours C if only after the first 100. ''I was just thinking about harmonising the rhythm of my playing with the heartbeats of those watching it. Everything has its own pre-set rhythms and it's easier to communicate with the audience through rhythm than music. When people clap in tune with the rhythm, it's an indication that they are enjoying it.''


In this way, he said, it's a way to bridge hearts and cross divides. That was the rationale for his idea for ''rhythm therapy'' as a way of using the heartbeats of the musician and his instrument to heal the audience.


An idea he first tested out at the hospital where his sister died. Over three weeks in 2009, near five years after her passing, Ramakrishnan put on a 501-hour performance for both patients and the general public. It is, and will likely remain, the longest solo performance by an artiste. The spotlight brought out as many accusations as accolades. Charges of commercialising and cheapening music were thrown, but, Ramakrishnan contends, the marathons ''just happened''.


''I did not learn or practice the mridangam with the idea of achieving a Guinness world record. That would not have been why I attempted the performances four times in spite of the physical hardships.'' That motivation has gone, he said, rejecting the possibility of another attempt.


''Today, I usually perform for two hours (the performance here lasted 15 minutes) but it doesn't matter how long you are performing. All that matters is if you are able to win the hearts of the people

 






  MENA News Headlines
 Jul 28 2014 - Muslims mark sombre Eid in bloodied GazaAFP
(MENAFN - AFP) The end of a month of fasting was supposed to be a time to celebrate for Abeer Shamali. But instead, she spent the Muslim Eid feast at the grave of her teenage son. Fellow mourners ...

 Jul 28 2014 - Radiant During RamadanMuscat Daily
(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Keep your skin and hair glowing and shiny even as you're fasting in this holy month. Some tips... Moisturise Your skin too gets dehydrated when you fast. It is ...

 Jul 28 2014 - Cream of the CropMuscat Daily
(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Mahmood Said Humaid al Shibli glances at the wall clock. It's 11am with change, and only two hours to ''go to plate''.  There's crepes to layer, oranges to slice and ...

 Jul 28 2014 - Coaches satisfied with Mansoor's performance at youth sailing worldsMuscat Daily
(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Despite young Mansoor al Mahrooqi's last-place finish in a field of 57 sailors in the Laser Radial class at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship held recently, Oman ...

 Jul 28 2014 - ORT set for Belgian challengeMuscat Daily
(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Oman Racing Team (ORT), led by Muscat-based racer Ahmad al Harthy, has managed just 12 points over the past three rounds of the 2014 Blancpain Endurance Series. Despite ...

 Jul 28 2014 - Alizz islamic bank reports RO2.6mn lossMuscat Daily
(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Alizz islamic bank has reported a loss of RO2.6mn for the period ended June 30, 2014 which the bank said, in a disclosure to the Muscat Securities Market, "is in line ...

 Jul 28 2014 - Duqm Airport takes offMuscat Daily
(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) The newly opened Duqm Airport received its first Oman Air flight ahead of schedule on Wednesday with officials saying that the facility will serve as an air transport and ...

 Jul 28 2014 - All you want to know about Oman - on a busMuscat Daily
(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Highlighting the leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) has launched a new initiative that will see public ...

 Jul 28 2014 - Air fares rise by 35 as travellers rush to make the most of long breakMuscat Daily
(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Fares of most airlines have gone up due to the increase in demand during Eid al Fitr holidays. The prices of tickets to different destinations have gone up by nearly 35 per ...

 Jul 28 2014 - MoHC invites bid for construction of $250mn Oman Cultural ComplexMuscat Daily
(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) After announcing the appointment of the UK-based international consultancy and construction company, Mace as project manager for the Oman Cultural Complex (OCC), the Ministry ...

more...


 






Google

Click to Apply

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

IPO News
Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

US Markets Details

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Investment Game
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary

My MENAFN
Portfolio Tracker

Voting

Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2000 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help