A hamlet where music reverberates

A hamlet where music reverberates


 Chenda and MaddalamPeruvembu is home to a number of traditional percussion instrument-making units and there are around 20 families who have taken up the business as their vocation.Some of the family members have branched out, settling in other parts of the district like Nenmara and Lakkidi.

Members of successive generations have been practising this profession, Parameswaran, President, Thukal Vadhya Nirmana Sangam (Organisation of musical instrument manufacturers),said.

The instruments they churn out include the 'Chenda', known for its loud beats and lovely rolls with slender sticks, and the 'mangalavadya' instruments like the 'maddalam,' 'mridangam,' 'timila,' 'edakka', 'udukku' and the 'tabla,' (various percussion instruments of Kerala).

The 'thakil', which is more a Tamil Nadu percussion instrument, is also made here.

''The demand for these traditional musical instruments will always be there and it goes up with the festival season, which sets in from August, Parameswaran said.

'We make all instruments for which orders are placed from within the state and outside.This art we have imbibed from our forefathers and we carry forward the traditional craft, R Rajan, Sangam Vice President, said.


Parameswaran, an expert in tabla making, said ''there is great demand but the difficulty is that I am not able to meet the demand for such instruments.''

Parameswaran, who had toured Singapore in 2006, on an invitation from Bhaskaras Nrithalaya School of Music there, said he had also exported 'mridhangam' and 'tabla' last year to USA, Canada, Singapore and Dubai on orders from customers.

''Though the younger generation, are not so much interested to carry on with this profession, there are still a large number of families who stick to this traditional craft', Rajan said.

Thirtyfive-year-old Rajan learnt the profession at ten from his father and his uncle. Rajan's two brothers have also taken up the work.

The instruments are made out of cow and buffalo hide.The skin is tanned in the sun and soaked in water and stuck on the instruments made out of hollowed logs of jackfruit trees. Leather strings are used in mridhangams and maddalams on the outer surface.
Rajan said it will take hardly twenty days for making a mridhangam.''The entire work is done manually and nowhere machines are used in the making of these instruments,'he said.

The NABARD has organised a 'Kootayma' (get together) of traditional percussion instrument makers of Peruvembu. The purpose of the get together is to see that this traditional work handed down from generation to generation does not fade into oblivion over the years besides encouraging the instrument makers and to discuss how to develop and market the products and formulate schemes,he said.

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