Looking at highschoolers taking part in Chendamelam, many were left wondering how the little children could lift the heavy instrument, let alone perform for nearly 10 minutes. Yet, the performers forced the audience to sit and listen to their music and even sway a bit as it reached the crescendo.
The Chendamelam (High School) competition at the State School Arts Festival on Saturday saw 16 teams battling it out and awing the judges to such an extent that they all bagged A grades.
The Chendamelam event had seven participants in each team, including three to four drummers bearing the chenda, one or two with elathalam and one each playing the kombu and kuzhal.
Many students who took part in the chendamelam competition already perform at public and private events in their neighbourhood. “I have been performing in temple festivals with my guru for the last four years. Many of my teammates too have started performing recently,” said Abhin S. Nair, who led the team from Government Vocational Higher Secondary School, Koyilandy, Kozhikode, that has been district-level champions in the event for 20 years in a row.