Kalanilayam Rajan’s experimental beats on the edakka were an auditory treat.

It was a unique occasion when Kalanilayam Rajan chose to introduce a thayambaka with the help of the edakka. The usual practice of playing the chenda for the thayambaka was set aside for the time being and Rajan played the edakka to create the same crescendo.

Rajan, well-versed in Kathakali chenda from Kalanilayam, has been working as an edakka artiste at Nepathya, a centre for Koodiyattam at Moozhikkulam. He has been constantly experimenting on the percussion instrument.

The chenda, an asura vadyam, is quite different from the edakka. The artiste is deprived of the liberty to use his hand and the stick at the same time. The stick he uses on the edakka too has its own limitations. Moreover, unlike the chenda, the edakka is held horizontally and its tone is softer.

Yet, Rajan overcame all these adversities and came up with a melodious and deep rendering. The audience carefully watched his moves to grasp how he advanced from pathikalam, kooru, edavattom, ednila and irikita, all the time showcasing his prowess as a percussionist.

While presenting the adantha kooru, he was at his best, and his rich manodharma came to fore. The rapidity with which his hand moved on the surface of the edakka was worth watching. An amazing presentation of a variety of sounds from the edakka that touched the different Aksharakala was a visual and auditory treat for the audience.

According to Rajan, his next endeavour is to highlight the beauty of lasya from the thandava bhava of thayambaka, with the help of his favourite instrument. Dinesh Warier, Kalanilayam Kaladharan, Anathapuram Sajivan and Kalanilayam Deepak accompanied him in his novel experiment.

The programme was organised as part of the Gurusmarana Festival conducted at Nepathya.