Music from India
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RK DAT 71
Krishna temple in Thrikkur, Trichur district, Kerala.
Peruvanam Kuttan Marar (band leader, Itantala centa), Murali (Itantala centa), Satheesan (Itantala centa), Prakasan (Itantala centa), Cherussery Kuttan (Itantala centa), Peethambaran (band leader, valantala centa), Kochaniyan (valantala centa), Nandanan (valantala centa), Unni (valantala centa), Saji (valantala centa), Dasan (valantala centa), Rajan (valantala centa), Mani (valantala centa) , Palakrishnan Nair (valantala centa), Kuttan Paniker (band leader, kulal oboe), Krishnan Kutty (kulal oboe), Sivaram (kulal oboe), Nandan (kulal oboe), Anil (kulal oboe), Chandran (kulal oboe), Kumath Raman Nair (band leader, kombu horn)
A large orchestra, conducted by the best-known centa melam bandleader Peruvanam Kuttan Marar, plays the rarely performed melam called chempata to the backdrop of the ancient rock temple in Thrikkur. For this recording Kuttan selected 37 of the most experienced musicians in central Kerala. A melam can be performed with a variety of rhythmic structures and cycles, but each performance is regarded as the ritualistic and cultural climax of any temple festival in Kerala. The chempata melam could be depicted in a pyramid form; it starts in a very slow tempo with long musical cycles, and finishes with a short, fast and powerful climax. Usually Kerala musicians explain the symbolic meaning of the melam structure as follows: the broad basis of the first stage symbolises the ordinary life of men, while the peak of the last stage shows the ideal human or divine aspect of reality. The rhythmic cycles of this melam contain 64, 32, 16, and 8 beats. This recording has been taken from the beginning of the performance, which uses the 64-beat rhythmic cycle. The microphones used in this recording were placed in the centre of the melam orchestra, that is, the centa drum and ilatalam cymbal players stand in a half circle to the right, and the wind instrument players positioned opposite to the left. Itantala centa (treble): Peruvanam Kuttan Marar (bandleader), Murali, Satheesan, Prakasan and Cherussery Kuttan. Valantala centa (bass): Peethambaran (leader), Kochaniyan, Nandanan, Unni, Saji, Dasan, Rajan, Nandanan, Mani and Palakrishnan Nair. Kulal oboe: Kuttan Paniker (leader), Krishnan Kutty, Sivaram, Nandan, Anil and Chandran. Kombu horn: Kumath Raman Nair (leader), Sasi, Radhakrishnan, Udayan, Anilan, Saji, Girije and Ramachandran. Ilatalam cymbals: Cherpu Mani (leader), Rajan, Krishnan, Sankaran, Gopi, Raghu, Manikandan, Nandan and Venu. The artists speak the south Indian language Malayalam.