History of Sangeetha Sabha

Tripunithura, the seat of the erstwhile Cochin Royal Family, has a strong rooted link to classical music. It is a known fact today that this royal town has been the nursery for violinists and vocalists of repute. Most of them have made an indelible mark on the international stage.

The annual festival of the Sree Poornathrayeesa Temple has always seen a get together of luminaries from the world of classical music. The RLV College of Music, one of the oldest music colleges in the State, is located here.

From the little, tiled homes of this town can still be heard the soft notes of the violin, the beats of the mridangam, a chorus of kirtanas. There are a whole lot of young musicians waiting in the wings. Music is the voice of this town.

It was usual for a group of senior music lovers and connoisseurs to gather at one of the palaces, sometimes at the RLV College, to discuss and deliberate on their favourite topic – music. Hedaing these discussions were Kunjappan Thampuran and Parassala Ponnammal, the then principal of RLV College. It was one of such meetings that they thought of starting a Sangeetha Sabha that will organize concerts and also assist in promoting classical music in Tripunithura and beyond.

The idea grew. They named it Sree Poornathrayeesa Sangeetha Sabha. Rama Varma Appan Thampuran and Kunjikidavu Thampuran were the nominated as president and secretary respectively. The monthly subscription was fixed at Rs. Five and soon the Sabha had its own group of members.

The very first programme organized under the aegis of the Sabha was a Carnatic vocal concert by Thanjavur S. Kalyanaraman. Koval Balasubramaniam (violin), and Thanjavur Panjabakeshan (mridangam) provided the back up. The concert was held in a small hall near the Palace Girls High School.

From then on the Sabha went on to organize concerts every month. The first anniversary was celebrated in a grand manner. There were three days of excellent, top class music. Bombay Sisters, T. N. Krishnan and Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna made it an event to cherish.

Years rolled by The people at the helm changed, the Sabha progressed. The Sabha was recognized by the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi, almost all the great names in the field of Carnatic and other streams of Indian music performed.

Apart from the monthly programmes the Sabha has been conducting Tyagaraja Aradhana, Deekshitar Day, Swati Tirunal Day, Jugalbandis, unique programmes like ‘Oru Ragam Pala Bhavam’ an exposition of a single raga in various music genres like Kathakali, Film, Hindustani and Carnatic, ‘Rangathrayam’ which brought on stage Kalamandalam Gopi, Artist Namboodiri and Sreevalsan J. Menon in what was hailed as a brilliant experiment, organizing seminars and a host of other events.

Every year the Sabha conducts an all-Kerala competition in vocal, violin and mridangam. The winners get the Augustine Joseph Memorial Award instituted by Dr. K. J. Yesudas.

Another significant activity is honouring a master with the Sangeetha Sampoorna title and a promising youngster with the Mavelikkara Prabhakara Varma Yuvakala Prathiba Award.

The Sabha has over 500 members now. It has forged a tie-up with SPIC-Macay and has staged some memorable music and classical dance performances.

There are endless vistas now open. The Sabha has unfailingly forged ahead. It has been an eventful 35year journey. A lot of people have stood with us in our time of need, music lovers, sponsors, institutions. The Sabha has miles to go, a lot of promises to keep.