This is one of the most popular musical forms, a feast to both eyes n ears, where artistsplay this cylindrical instrument by a beater/kombu(Percussion instrument). This art form is a thrill to watch specially during festivals (pooram) and other celebrations in almost every part of Kerala and some parts of Karnataka(specially rajyotsava celebrations). Artist who play chenda are accompanied by urumkuzhal (kind of nadaswaram), ilathalam(kind of cymbals). Chenda ends are covered (usually with animal’s skin) with the “Chenda Vattam”. The animal skin is usually of a cow
Two kinds of chendas (depending upon the size, structure and function):
Uruttu chenda is known as idanthala chenda or Pramanavadhya(left head) where the artist produce by rolling his right hand wrist which is made of soft, single cow skin is used for shruthi.
valanthala chenda is known as Veekku Chenda which is “Right Head” made of multiple layer of skin to produce a bass sound is thrice the size of Uruttu chenda.Unlike the uruttu chanda, artist produce sound by hitting the drum using kombu(stick) is used for tala.
Melam, ensemble performed during temple festivals in Kerala and few parts of Karnataka (tulunadu) is one of the highlights during the temple pooram festivals.
Some of the notable ethnic drum ensembles are
1. Panchari melam.
2. Shingari Melam
3. Pandi Melam
4. so on
Not to miss my famous Ilanjithara Melam (artist assemble and perform near Bullet Wood tree) at the courtyard of the Vadakkunnathan Temple in Thrissur city during the Thrissur Pooram. The best and a dream platform for an artist is to perform before an ancient Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva which is a feast to every music lover.
I wish to conclude my tiny write up remembering legends of “Peruvanam” family starting with Shri late Narayana Marar, his son Shri Appu Marar, his grandson Shri Kuttan Marar (Padma Shri awardee) and Shri M. P. Sankara Marar ( Padma Shri and Sangeet Natak Akademi Awardee) and so on for their exemplary work in this field.
Peruvanam Kuttan Marar
Mattanur Sankarankutty(M. P. Sankara Marar)
“Without music, life would be a mistake”
“Long live Indian classic & divine music”
Kiran K Adharapuram