Musician Kalamandalam Sankaran Embranthiri passes away

via Pioneer News Service | Kochi published on November 13, 2007

Kathakali musician Kalamandalam Sankaran Embranthiri, famous as one of the three musicians who had given a popular face for the particular music form, passed away at a private hospital nearby Aluva on Tuesday morning. He was 63.

Embranthiri was admitted to the hospital following breathing troubles. Though he was being haunted by health disorders like diabetes and kidney problems, he was keeping well for the past several months.

He is survived by his wife Savithri of the Karuvanbram Puthumana Matham in Mancheri, Malappuram District and daughters Sindhu and Rasmi.

Embranthiri had earlier undergone a kidney transplant and his leg had to be amputated due to acute diabetes.

The body of the departed was taken to his house at Desam near Aluva.

Like Kalamandalam Hyderali and Venmani Haridas, Embranthiri was instrumental in bringing Kathakali music out of the dam insides of the temples to popular venues and making it a music form enjoyed by common people everywhere.

Noted Kathakali actor Kalamandalam Gopi said Kerala had lost one of the most talented musicians of the art form of Kathakali had ever seen.

He said the loss was not just Kerala’s but of the entire world of art.

Artistes in various fields including Kathakali said the musician had created his own school, known as the Embranthiri Chitta (system) in Kathakali music. “Kathakali music would still have been remaining in the interiors of the temples if these three great artistes, Embranthiri, Hyderali and Haridas, had not taken the pains to popularise it through aesthetically perfect modifications and beautifications,” said an instructor at Kerala Kalamandalam, Cheruthuruthy, Thrissur.

He was born on September 7, 1944 as son of Krishnan Embranthiri and Ambika at Vellayur in Malappuram district. His first guru in the school of art was GP Govinda Pisharody. He joined Kalamandalam as a student in 1957. At the age of 16, his first performance was presented at Kalamandalam.

Between 1965 and 1967 he taught music at the Unnayi Varrier Memorial Kalanilayam at Irinjalakkuda in Thrissur district. Then he joined the FACT School as a music teacher. From 1970, Embranthiri came to be known as a great Kathakali musician.

Embranthiri had won several awards including the highest State Government honour bestowed on musicians, the Swathi Award. Cultural Affairs Minister MA Baby said that Kerala would never forget the services rendered by Embranthiri for popularising Kathakali music.

He said Embranthiri had played an active role in taking Kathakali music to the people and making it a music form enjoyed by common people, like what Venmani Haridas and Kalamandalam Hderali had done.

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