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The Musical Saamavedam on CDs

The music of "Saamavedam" pleases the gods. Saamavedam chanting is a must for Athiraathram, Yaagam (click), Prathishttha (consecration), etc. Unlike the other Vedams, Saamavedam has a perfect combination of musical notes and rhythm, and hence it is hard to memorise and recite. It is tragic that it is at a point of extinction, since those among the few (20) Saamavedic families who have practised the chanting of this Vedam in the traditional manner are a rarity. As a part of the effort to tide over this crisis, Kidangoor Malamel Krishnan Nampoothiri of Chembilaavu (Kottayam district) has taped the entire Saamavedam on to audio CDs.

Krishnan Nampoothiri's grandfather, Narayanan Nampoothiri had the rare distinction of being known as "Thrivedi" since he had mastered the three Vedams (Rik, Yajus and Saamam). His son Parameswaran Nampoothiri, a Saamavedic "Aachaaryan" and a Sanskrit scholar, was an important and active participant in most of the "Murajapams" (click) in the temples of Kerala. It was his Saamavedam recital that has been recorded on the audio discs. He died in August 1994 at the age of 90.

It was about a quarter of a century ago in 1980, when the compact discs (CDs) were not yet in market, that the entire Saamavedam was recorded on audio cassettes. During the one-and-a-half months of recording when Parameswaran Nampoothiri was not well for 2-3 days, Thottam Narayanan Namboodiri and Muttathukaattil Maamunnu Ittiravi Namboodiri had filled in with their recital.

After 24 years, in 2004, it was found that the quality had luckily not deteriorated, and was re-recorded in its entirety on to 54 new 90-minute audio cassettes, which took about 15 days. Then came the major task of copying on to CDs which took more than 80 hours of patient listening, removing extraneous noises, editing and making it as perfect as possible. Fortunately, one of Krishnan Nampoothiri's students undertook this task brilliantly. The entire process took about six months of hard work.

The 90 plus hours in 60 CDs include Saamaveda Samhitha (text), "Ooham" filled with Manthrams, "Ooshaani" containing "Saama-sruthi" which is inevitable for consecration) of Mahaavishnu and Durga. There is no one now who knows the entire Ooshaani.

Krishnan Nampoothiri has no intention of making a commercial venture out of this. He believes that no where in the world would the entire Saamavedam (Jaimineeya branch) recorded. He wants to prevent its extinction and preserve it for posterity through supply of copies of the CDs primarily to institutions for Vedic studies and research, and academic institutions, with firm hope that the new generation among the Saamavedam families revives the tradition and put an end to its extinction.

| Article No:4.12.1 | Last update of this article:30th September 2006 |
Source : M P Krishnan Nampoothiri, Malamel Illam, PO: Chembilavu, Via: Cherpunkal, 686 584, Kottayam Dt.
Phone : 0482-2254357

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