|Rev. Dr. Paul Poovathingal CMI, popularly known as 'Paadum Paathiri', disciple of Padmabhushan Dr. K. J. Yesudas and Chandramana Narayanan Namboothiri, is an ordained priest in the congregation of Carmalites of Mary Immaculate, a religious order founded by blessed Cyriac Elias Chavara. He is the first Christian Priest who has completed Ph.D. in Karnatic music in India. He has shown great aptitude in music right from his child hood. Though he was initiated into Karnatic music at the age 17 by Sodharan Bhagavathar, it is only after his priestly studies he started learning Karnatic music seriously. Nevertheless, during his studies in philosophy and theology at Dharmaram College, Bangalore, he continued his music education under the tutelage of vidwan Bangalore V. K. Krishnamurthy.
After having graduated in English and Psychology from Christ College Bangalore, in 1992, he joined the Faculty of Music and Fine Arts in Delhi University and passed Sangita Shiromani course (B.A. Music) with first rank and passed M.A. Music with gold medal. In Delhi he learned music from Prof. T. R. Subramaniam, Dr. Guruvayoor T. V. Manikandan and Dr. Vasanti Rao. Later, he passed M. Phil Degree with first rank from the University of Madras. In 2003 he submitted his Ph.D. thesis 'Karnatic music and Christianity - a critical study of the influence of Karnatic music on the Christian music of Tamilnadu and Kerala' at the department of Indian music, University of Madras under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Karaikudi Subramanian.
In 2004 March 19 he did his Arangettam at Madras Music Academy with the blessing of his guru Dr. K. J. Yesudas and other musicians like Padmabhushan T. N. Seshagopalan and Padmasri Sikkil Sisters. One of the unforgettable moments in his life is the golden opportunity that he could sing before the legendary singer M. S. Subbhalakshmi. For a period of four years he had undergone training at Brhaddhvani, Chennai. In Chennai, he also learned music from Smt. T. M. Prabhavati, Smt. Sankari Krishnan and Vaikom Jayachandran. In 2003 May he went to Columbia University, New York and received training in Vocology under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Jeannie Goffi. Right now he continues his music studies under Vidwan Chandramana Narayanan Namboothiri.
Fr. Paul has traveled widely and performed concerts in India and abroad. In 1998 he participated in the international music festival organized by the University of Durban, South Africa. In 2003 August he performed at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, New York and the University of Princeton, New Jersey. He has composed 400 songs and released 15 albums. He has 10 research papers to his credit. At the moment he is the Director of Chetana Sangeet Natya Academy, a center for training and research in performing arts, in Thrissur, Kerala, India. He is a visiting faculty at Dept. of Indian music, University of Madras, Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram, Bangalore and National Institute for Social Communication, Research and Training (NISCORT), New Delhi. His repertoire includes Hindu, Christian and Muslim themes.
Fr. Paul is a pioneer and leading Vocologist (Study of Voice) in India. He is the General Secretary of the Kerala Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) Voice Foundation, Thiruvananthapuram. He is a 'B' high-grade artist (Light Music) of All India Radio and a regular performer in TV.Languages known: Malayalam, English, Hindi, Sanskrit, Tamil, Kannada and Telugu, Latin and Greek.