Where the flutes find their air – The New Indian Express
Express news service
KOCHI: It took Pramod Chandramohan five years to master the art of the flute. Before that, he played flutes which he bought at festival markets. In his early days, Pramod did not even know the basics of the flute. But, the young craftsman, who started playing the flute three decades ago and making it 10 years ago, has come a long way now.
In his workspace on the porch, the Alapuzha native has made more than 50,000 flutes. “Ten years ago, I ventured into the complex art of the flute. A flute is not just an instrument with several holes. At the time, no one around me knew them. Even the internet had little information about making flutes. All data related to their cutting and cleaning. A stranger encouraged me to continue my research on manufacturing techniques, ”he said. He adds that flute making is not magic. Anyone can do one if they have the patience. “But it takes years of practice, learning and trial and error,” explains Pramod.
Ironically, Pramod was never phenomenal at playing the flute. But to make a flute, you have to know how to play them, he says. “Master Subash Cherthala taught me the basics. When he was busy with shows and events, I trained alone at home, ”he recalls.
However, Pramod never owned a flute at the time. The desire to own one is what prompted him to look for ways to make one. Initially, he made flutes from PVC pipes. Soon he started sourcing bamboo from the surrounding area. “Once I started focusing on making flutes, I invested more time in sourcing bamboo, even in other neighborhoods,” he adds. For the past five years, Pramod has been manufacturing bamboo flutes imported from Assam.
It took Pramod a year to make its first flutes. He gave it to his teacher for quality control. “The bamboo was a bit crooked. My teacher asked me to keep doing more, ”explains Pramod. The 48-year-old man now makes flutes that reproduce Carnatic and Hindustani tunes and the six-hole light variety for playing background scores. “For correct adjustment, the position and diameter of the holes must be precise. It changes from artist to artist, ”he says.
To dig holes in the surface of wood, Pramod heats iron rods 7 to 13 mm in diameter. “Once the mouthpiece is made, I blow the artist on it to get the right scale and notes,” explains Pramod. This is what distinguishes his flutes from mass-produced flutes. “Now I can make a flute in an hour,” he beams. The largest flute he made is 83 cm long.
The Flutes of Pramod have buyers everywhere, including Flautists, Subash Cherthala, Rajesh Cherthala and Shahjahan. “It is my dream to make a refined flute for the all-time great flautist – Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia,” said Pramod. The artist’s flutes have also featured in Malayalam films, including Thanneer Mathan Dinangal and Ramante Edantottam. With every flute he makes, Pramod says he’s learning something new.
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