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K Bhaskaran Unnithan and his grandkids are blending the old and new. Their YouTube channel familiarises the new generation to old music

author_img Mahima Anna Jacob Published :  27th January 2022 12:57 PM   |   Published :   |  27th January 2022 12:57 PM

K Bhaskaran Unnithan and his grandkids are blending the old and new. Their YouTube channel familiarises the new generation to old music

KOCHI: In Ayathil, a small town in Kollam district, theatre music songs resonates in its alleys. Akashvani speaks loud at tea stalls, where the local residents find their entertainment. Bhaskaran Unnithan also grew up around these sounds. He never just listened to the music in them, but he used to write down the lyrics of the songs that caught his interest.

Well, the 68-year-old is now on a mission to popularise beautiful compositions written by amateur artists from yesteryear. He is accompanied by his grandchildren, 10-year-old Sudakshina S (Ammini) and seven-year-old Janaki S, (Kingini). “The 1960s and 70s witnessed the growth of art and culture in Kerala. Art and theatre clubs were spread across the state. Each of them hosted myriad fests yearly, and the performances were written and choreographed by local amateur artists. They are not very well known, Unfortunately, the songs didn’t stand the test of time,” says Bhaskaran Unnithan.

His handbook, where he wrote the lyrics, held many unheard or rarely heard songs. Unaware of how to introduce them to the public, Unnithan used to flip the pages of the worn-out diary. “I always wanted to popularise the songs. When the lockdown was announced my grandkids were also with me. We had the idea to start a YouTube channel. For fun, we did some trials. The kids also enjoyed the sessions. The kids singing these songs would popularise them,” he says.

The trio has uploaded 12 videos so far. The first song on the channel is ‘Keram Madivilichitto, theeram kandu kothichitto’ was taught to Unnithan by his uncle when he was in Class VI. “Whenever I see the lyrics, I’ll remember the music. It’s a bit shocking to me as well to remember the tune after these many years,” he says.

Each video has a description of the song, its origin and it also requests those who identify the actual creators of the song to get in touch. “After uploading the song ‘Parashurama Kshethramevide’ we received the feedback from the creators themselves. They made it when they were part of the arts club,” adds Unnithan.

Unnithan, when he was young, was associated with Sahithya Vilasini Arts Club (SVAC) in his hometown. Many of the songs were created by SVAC. Few he came across while he was in Delhi. The lullaby Muthu munthiri muthu featured in his channel was first brought to his notice by his friends in Kerala who sent him a casette. “It was sung by Benny and Susheeladevi, and composed by MG Radhakrishnan. It was also broadcast by Thiruvananthapuram Akashavan,” he says. 

Going back in time

Belonging to a generation that is full of fast music and trending melodies, Unnithan was sceptical of whether the kids would be interested in what he had to offer. “To my surprise, they studied the lyrics and caught the tunes quite fast,” says Unnithan. The trio now lives in Thiruvananthapuram. Though Unnithan couldn’t learn music due to financial constraints, his granddaughters are now trained in Carnatic. “We practise for a week before putting out a YouTube video,” says Sudakshina. “It is a bit hard to learn the songs. But I enjoy singing the lullaby Muthu munthiri muthu. We received a lot of appreciation from school for it,” says Janaki. Shortly, the channel will see a ritualistic song ‘Velanpattu.’

YouTube: @Ammini, Kingini&Me