When vintage and rare music instruments find a home...

Tamil Isai Sangam’s museum in Chennai has on display rare and vintage musical instruments

June 10, 2019 08:47 pm | Updated June 13, 2019 04:58 pm IST

Tamil Isai Sangam was founded in May 1943, with Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar as the president and R.K. Shanmugam Chettiar as the vice-president. Annamalai Chettiar’s three sons — Muthiah Chettiar, Mayor Ramanathan Chettiar and Chidambaram Chettiar — were also involved with the Sangam. Many are the milestones in the history of the Sangam, the latest being the inauguration of Tol Isai Kalanjiyam — a museum of musical instruments at the Raja Annamalai Manram premises in Chennai.

The museum has rare instruments including nagara, Panchamukha vadyam, an antique sruti box, kolyazh — a yazh shaped like a boat — and mayil naga veenai — which has a peacock face carved near the resonator and a five hooded serpent in place of the yaazhi. There are two ekkalams, and one can see how the five-feet long instrument is collapsed into a more easily transportable one-foot instrument.

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