Rolf Groesbeck, professor at the University of Arkansas, captivated the audience with his half-an-hour performance on ‘thayambaka’ in connection with the 60th birthday celebrations of chenda artiste Kalamandalam Balaraman at the Mayilvahanam Community Hall at Shoranur on Sunday.
Kalamandalam Balaraman has been in the field of Kathakali chenda and thayambaka for the past four decades.
At the function, titled ‘Melayanam’ to honour Kalamandalam Balaraman, Rolf Groesbeck was at his best enjoying every bit of his mastery over the instrument.
Speaking to Express, Rolf Groesbeck, who is on his fourth visit to Kerala, said that this time he had come for a few days only to participate in Melayanam.
He said that he had been teaching instrumental music at the University of Arkansas and doing research for the past 14 years. He said that he had done extensive research on temple percussion in South India . Groesbeck said that he had stayed at the Kerala Kalamandalam for two years during his first visit and learnt thayambaka under Kalamandalam Balaraman. The second visit was for two months and the third for three months. He said that he had performed thayambaka at Guruvayur temple, Aroor temple and in the precincts of various other temples in the state.
“Though I performed for only 30 minutes for the function, I usually perform for at least 75 minutes at temples,” he said. Groesbeck, who took his doctorate from the New York University on Indian music, has written many books on the subject. He will be leaving to the US on Sunday.