Perumbavoor G. Raveendranath – Malayalam music composer best known for the songs of Thoovanathumbikal and Innale
Perumbavoor G. Raveendranath is a Carnatic musician and also a music composer associated with Malayalam film industry. He was most active in the 1980s and 1990s, and owns a few memorable film songs to his credit. He is best known for composing the songs of iconic films, Thoovanathumbikal and Innale, both directed by Padmarajan. “Megham Poothu Thudangi” & “Onnam Raagam Paadi” of Thoovanathumbikal, and “Kannil Nin Meyyil” & “Nee Vin Poo Pol” of Innale are regarded as timeless classics. In fact Perumbavoor G. Raveendranath won state award for best music composer for Innale. Perariyaathoru Nombarathe from Sneham is yet another popular song.
His hometown Perumbavoor prefixed to his name
Perumbavoor G. Raveendranath was born on 5 January 1944 in Perumbavoor, Ernakulam district. Born as the youngest son of the family he lost his father at the age of 1.5. He is married to Shobha Menon and has 2 children.
He belonged to a family, interested in music. Every family member used to sing Carnatic music, and he started learning music at a young age. Raveendranath used to listen to his brother Ramachandra Menon learning his lessons. That’s when he decided to learn music.
Initially he learnt under Ganabhushanam V. K Sankara Pillai, disciple of famous Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer. Further he continued training under Perumbavoor Balakrishna Iyer, a disciple of G.M. Balasubramonia Iyer. He learnt under his guru for 10 years. Though he graduated in Chemistry from Sree Sankara College, Kalady his passion for classical music continued unabated. He started giving concerts since the age of 14.
Worked in AIR for many years
In 1976, he joined Tharanganisari School of Music as professor of music. The following year he joined All India Radio, Thiruvananthapuram, after he passed the audition for classical music from the Calicut station. When he joined the station, he was lucky enough to work with a team of 30+ great classical music as staff artistes. They used to interact and share their music thoughts, which gave him a great experience working with them. Thuvaanathumbikal marked his memorable debut as a film music composer.
He composed music for more than ten movies
He believes that it’s nothing wrong for a Carnatic musician to compose film songs, so long as it has to do with music. He has composed only less film songs, but most songs with deep-rooted carnatic touch are still loved by music lovers. He composed music for more than ten movies like ‘Innale,’ ‘Thuvaanathumbikal,’ ‘Sneham’ and ‘Chitrasalabham’ and got the best music director award for the songs in ‘Innale’ (1990). Ayalathe Adheham, Aksharam, Thandavam, Vasudha, Post Box No. 27, Alanchery Thambrakkal and a few other films.
Though he has tuned many popular film songs, he is best known as a Carnatic musician and vocalist. He worked in only very few films as a music composer. He teamed up with Yesudas and released several devotional albums in Malayalam for Tharangani studio in the 1990s and later. He is teaching Carnatic music since 1973. Initially he taught at his hometown, and after moving to capital city as a part of his profession, he continued his music classes.
Most of his best songs belong to late 1980s and 1990s. After composing songs for Thandavam and Vasantha Malika in the early 2000s, he took a break from film music, and stayed away from limelight. After a decade he composed music for Vasanthathinte Kanal Vazhikalil and Randam Yaamam, and both these works went unnoticed. In 2018 he made a comeback through Poomaram.
Perumbavoor G. Raveendranath – Some interesting and less-known facts
1. Playback singer P. Jayachandran was his classmate in Christ College, Irinjalakuda where he did his pre-university studies.
2. While he joined AIR Thiruvananthapuram as a staff artiste, some of great artists with whom he worked include – B. Sasikumar, K. S. Gopalakrishnan, R. Venkitaraman, Mavellikkara Krishnankutty Nair, R. Krishnaswamy, Doraiswami, M. G. Radhakrishnan, Neyyattinkara Vasudevan, S. A. Swamy, K. P. Udayabhanu and S. R. Raju.
3. He has his own style of rendering Carnatic music, which is different from his guru’s. He gives importance to the gamaka prayogas. He like fast-paced kirtans, but feels he cannot do the high speed ones.
4. He received Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi Award in 1994 and Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi Fellowship in 2017.
5. Though he is not averse to reality shows, he has an opinion that one should know how to sing, and need not perform (dance) on stage. He also trains students for these shows, where he teaches voice modulation and how to maintain the pitch.