Creative spaces Metroplus

Where music flows

Perumbavoor G. Ravindranath in the room where he composes and teaches his students. Photo: Athira M.   | Photo Credit: Athira M.



“I enjoy solitude when I compose…,” says Perumbavoor G. Ravindranath with a smile. His retreat is a non-descript room in a building in the same compound of his house, ‘Anjaneya’, near Sasthamangalam Junction. That room, at the rear of his century–old ancestral house, is where he takes music classes and makes music. The rest of the house is now occupied by an advertising company.

The composer who gave us soul-stirring melodies in movies such as Thoovanathumbikal, Innale and Sneham and who scored music for many devotional albums, says he has always had a separate room to pursue his musical flights. “I picked up this habit of being with myself during my All India Radio days. Those days, when I had to make new tunes, I would come home and do it sans any disturbance. That working style stayed on and after that it became difficult for me to compose if somebody else sits with me! Initially one of the rooms in my old house used to be my music room and after we shifted to this new house, a hall upstairs was converted to my working space. But after a surgery, it became difficult for me to climb the stairs and from then on this small room of my old house is where I find my space as a musician,” he says.

Be it for teaching or composing, he prefers to sit on the floor. So, near the door is laid a reed mat on which he sits, that too facing the portrait of his guru, the late Balakrishna Iyer. “I want to see his face when I take classes or compose,” says the 71-year-old.

On a raised, wide platform are kept his good, old, favourite organ, the sruthi box, books with music notations and a tape recorder. In fact, there are two other tape recorders in the same room. “I know times have changed and there are modern ways to record and listen to music. But I still belong to the old school when there was audio cassettes and tape recorders. These recorders are intact and so too the cassettes in which are stored the works of my favourite musicians. Also whenever I get a new tune, I sing and record it in a cassette. When my students come, I play it for them, leaving it to them to improvise,” he says.

The room is also more like a temple for him with religious images – photos and idols – of all faiths occupying the walls and an almirah in a corner. “I am extremely religious and I pray to the deities of all religions daily.” There is a photograph of his mother, the late M. K. Bhargavi Amma. With a legion of disciples, many of whom have made a name in music industry, Perumbavoor is happy that all of them even today come to learn from him. “I am rich in terms of my disciples. I don’t take regular music classes now, but some of my senior disciples come to learn and I never say no to them. Among them are singers like G. Venugopal, Vidhu Prathap, Jyotsna, Sudeep Kumar, and Ravishankar. It gives me a lot of satisfaction when they sit with me in this room and learn,” he says.

(A series that explores the workspaces of creative people in the city and its suburbs)

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Nov 24, 2020 4:23:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/where-music-flows/article6865076.ece

Next Story