KOCHI: After a short hiatus, the Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) is back with its ‘Arts and Medicine’ programme.
A 109-year-old ethnic vocalist performed at the General Hospital, Ernakulam on Wednesday to the gentle beats of an hourglass drum and led the way for a young playback singer to take over.
The 30th edition of the series saw 109-year-old sopana sangeetham exponent Pala Ramapuram Padmanabha Marar reciting a traditional ditty invoking Lord Rama, followed by a bubbly show by Ansar Cochin.
The programme began with vocals by Marar, touted to be the most aged performing artiste in India. Marar, who practises the daily ritual at his neighbourhood Sree Ramaswamy temple near Pala, off Kottayam, was helped on to the stage by two disciples. One of them subsequently provided accompaniment on the edakka as the vocalist dedicated a song - much to the admiration of an audience consisting of doctors, nurses, patients and bystanders.
Many were awestruck by the strength of his tone that belied his age. The recital was followed up by Ansar and his Ilayanila band with an hour-long performance of popular old and new Malayalam hits.
Stage performer Sruthi Satishkumar provided female back-up.
A roused gathering began making individual requests for old songs. The show ended on a high note with a ‘chain song’ performance by Ansar and his brother, playback singer Afsal.
Dr Mohammad Ali, ortho surgeon at the hospital and a music lover, noted that this was a ‘nice concept’ for patients and bystanders.
“The programme has always had a good response, with the seats getting filled up quickly and people standing around the area for the whole length of the show,” he said.