FRIDAY REVIEW

Multifaceted percussionist

A. SANGAMESWARAN

MAESTRO OF MELAM: Achutha Marar.

MAESTRO OF MELAM: Achutha Marar.  

The retreat of Thulavarsham heralds the festival season in the temples of central Kerala, where melam is an inseparable part of the festivities. Etymologically, melam means merger of varied instruments and its success depends a great deal on the ability and potential of the team leader or `pramani.'

Thrippekulam Achutha Marar, who is celebrating his Sathabhishekam tomorrow, is one such able leader.

Born at Urakam, which can be easily called the cradle of melam artistes along with the adjoining Peruvanam, in Thrissur district, as the eldest son of Seetharaman Embranthiri and Pappi Marasyar of Thrippekulath Marath, Marar was very young when he was exposed to rhythm.

In fact he had his initial training on the thavil and not on the chenda, under Nellikkal Narayanapanicker - his only guru. Later he mastered some ritualistic lessons on the chenda, which is an integral part of temple rituals like `paani,' `kalasam' and so on as he was duty bound to perform at Urakam temple where he had `kazhakam.'

Along with it, he successfully managed to imbibe the art of playing the thimila. Except for some basic lessons in thayampaka under the renowned Peruvanam Appu Marar, Achutha Marar is a self-made artiste who honed his skills through relentless saadhana and slowly got promoted from the periphery to the centre, to become the cynosure of all eyes.

He also had the privilege of accompanying on the thimila, the Koodiyattam maestro Ammannur Madhavachakyar.

Marar has lead the percussion ensemble for almost all the temple festivals in central Kerala.

Be it the royal Panchari at Thripunithura or the one at Irinjalakuda Koodalmanikam Temple or Peruvanam Temple and Aaraattupuzha, Marar has mesmerised the crowds through his ability to enthuse his artistes to give their best.

Right from the start, Marar controls the kaalapramanam with precision and builds up the structure of a Panchari melam, as he possesses that uncanny knack of calculating kaalapramanam to suit the duration of the whole melam, which results in the smooth and melodious flow of performance from one stage to the next.

Marar is among the few who has performed both for Panchavadyam (on thimila) and Pandimelam (on chenda) for the famous Thrissur pooram.

Recipient of many awards and accolades, Marar will be felicitated at Irinjalakuda tomorrow.

Recommended for you