CHATLINE Melam, Kerala’s indigenous percussion ensemble, has acquired a cult status thanks to Peruvanam Kuttan Marar and his peers. K. PRADEEP has the story
There was a time not in the distant past when Kerala’s own collective percussion ensemble, the melam , was confined to the periphery of temples. One man who is hugely responsible for turning it into a dominant form of artistic expression is Peruvanam Kuttan Marar (Sankara Narayanan).
It is not uncommon these days to see hordes of ecstatic fans waving their hands in hypnotic unison, keeping rhythm, as Kuttan Marar and his group numbering more than 200 artistes on the chenda, elathalam, kombu and kuzhal, create magical symphony. The fan base for this magnificent percussion ensemble keeps expanding and every year the melam finds a number of new venues.