Tamil Nadu

Honouring kuchchi mridhangam maker

Exactly a fortnight before Chennai starts immersing itself in music and sabhas start conferring titles on musicians for their achievements, C. Varadan was honoured in a small hall at Mylapore on Sunday.

Mr. Varadan, 67, is not a musician but a mridhangam maker. He is one of the experts in making kuchchi mridhangam in which very thin sticks are inserted between the two layers of leather on the right side to improve the tonal quality of the instrument.

Mr. Varadan received the award instituted by Parivadini in memory of master craftsman Fernand, a Dalit Christian, who made mridhangam for legendary Palghat Mani Iyer.

“If I could earn a name for myself, the credit should go to the late Ramanathapuram C.S. Murugaboopathy, who helped us open a workshop on Matthalanarayana Street at Mylapore,” said Mr. Varadan, who learnt the art of mridhangam-making from his uncle K.M. Venkatesan, a pioneer in making kuchchi mridhangam

He said that while most of the mridhangam players preferred mridhangam made of stone granules (kappi) placed between the layers of leather on the right side, it was Murugaboopathy who hit upon the idea of using 16 sticks instead of granules.

Mr. Varadan’s customers included the late Pazhani Subramania Pillai, nonagenarian Madaras Kannan, Umayalpuram Sivaraman, Thiruvaru Bhaktavatsalam and Srimushnam Rajarao.

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 3:05:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/honouring-kuchchi-mridhangam-maker/article6605620.ece

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