Guru Padmasree P.K.Narayanan Nambiar

Composer of rhythmic poetry


The mizhavu, the main percussion instrument that is played during recitals of Kutiyattam, Chakyarkoothu and Nangiarkoothu is considered one of the oldest percussion instruments in India. A reference to the mizhavu in the second century classical of Thamil literature "Chilapathikaram" is belived to be the earliest reference about the instrument.

Unique style


It was maestro P.K.Narayanan Nambiar who gave a new lease of life to the mizhavu.The mizhavu was considered a mere percussion instrument to provide the rhythem for Kutiyattam recitals. But Nambiar's magical fingers showcased the immense potential of the mizhavu by initiating changes within the traditional framework of Kutiyattam. He intiated a style of his own that was highly lyrical and exuded the sublime nuances of the rhythmic modulations of the instrument.Thus his performance was always considered as rhythmic poetry.

Narayanan Nambiar is the senior - most performer of the mizhavu and almost all the mizhavu artistes and performers of today are either his disciple or students of Nambiar's disciples.

Mizhavil Thayambaka (A symphony on rhythm)

Nambiar introduced the art of Thayambaka on the Mizhavu ,this ensemble of three or five mizhavus,accompanied by one or two kuzhithalam,chengila and para has become very popolar.Its performance reveals all the intricacies and richness of tones and rhythms that the mizhavu drum is capable of.The mizhavil thayambaka now performs as an independent ensemble in India and abroad.

Mizhavil Kuzhalpattu

Nambiar created a new artform mizhavil kuzhalpattu, its combination of ragas and thalas
this ensemble of one mizhavu,edakka kurumkuzhal and thalam



Nambiar choreographed new plays such as 'Mathavilasam' and 'Kaliyankam'and came forward with new stories namely'Anthavadham' and 'Markandeyacharitham' for Chakyarkoothu and Nangiyarammakoothu performances


Nambiar redefine the choreography of 'Mantramgam' Koodiyattam through Gurukulam and Margi



Versatile artiste

What makes him a versatile genius among artistes, is his substantial contribution as researcher,writer and scholar.It was Nambiar who came forward with the fierst book on Nangiyarkoothu -'Sreekrishnacharitham Nangiyarammakoothu'Published by the Kerala Kalamandalam in 1984.It played an important role in reviving and understanding the tradition that was once confined to a few temples as aritualisticart form.Nambiar also authored the books such as 'Mantramgam'(1980)and Mizhavu-NambiarsKramadeepika(2005)and research dissertations such as 'Koodiyattavum and Natyasatravum'and Natya and Yagna

He has also written several articleson the intricacies and philosophical elements of Sanskrit theatre tradion, some of which have been collected and published under the title"Manjsha"(2005)