Panchari melam

Panchari Melam is a percussion ensemble, canonically lasting more than four hours, performed during temple festivals in Kerala, India. Panchari Melam (or, simply, panchari), is one of the major forms of chenda melam (ethnic drum ensemble), and is the best-known and most popular "kshetram vadyam" (temple percussion) genre. Panchari melam, comprising instruments like chenda, ilathalam, kombu and kuzhal, is performed during virtually every temple festival in central Kerala, where it is arguably presented in the most classical manner. Panchari, however, is also traditionally performed, with a touch of subtle regional difference, in north (Malabar) and south-central Kerala (Kochi). Of late, its charm has led to its performance even in deep-south Kerala temples.

Panchari is a six-beat thaalam (taal) with equivalents like Roopakam in south Indian Carnatic music and Ek taal in the northern Hindustani classical.

Another chenda melam which comes close to panchari in prominence and grammatical soundness, is Pandi Melam", performed outside temple precincts in general. Other chenda melams, though less popular, are chempata, adanta, anchatanta, dhruvam, chempha, dhruvam, navam, kalpam and ekadasam. Though there are expressional differences between the panchari and the above-mentioned melams (other than pandi), the description of the former is proto-typical for the rest of them.

Panchari melam is performed either in its elaborate form (during annual temple festivals) or in its sketchy detail (to accompany the daily or weekly temple rituals). Either ways, they are performed only within the walls of the temple.

The ensemble starts at the main entrance to the inner part of the temple, slowly circling the shrine clockwise while playing. A panchari melam has five stages, each of them based on beats totalling 96, 48, 24, 12 and six respectively.

The semi-circular procession, with caparisoned elephants totalling between three to fifteen generally), is led by the deity of the temple kept on tusker in the centre. (In a pure ritualistic case, the idol is carried by the Namboodiri priest himself). The deity faces the musical ensemble and devotees/melam buffs, the latter surrounding the musicians and following the progress of the melam.

Major Venues of Panchari Melam

Panchari melam, in its grand classical form, is staged during temple festivals in and around Thrissur district. Prominent among them are at the temples of Peruvanam, Arattupuzha, Kuttanellur, Edakkunni, Oorakam, Cherpu, Chakkamkulam, Guruvayur and Tripunithura.

Leading Masters of Panchari Melam

Among the leading masters of Panchari melam today are Thrippekkulam Achutha Marar, Mattannur Sankarankutty Marar, Peruvanam Kuttan Marar, Kelath Aravindan, Peruvanam Satheesan Marar and Cherussery Kuttan.

Late panchari melam masters of the recent past include Peruvanam Appu Marar, Kumarapurathu Appu Marar, Pattirathu Sankara Marar, Makkoth Nanu Marar, Kuruppath Eachara Marar, Karekkattu Eachara Marar, Chakkamkulam Appu Marar, Mulangunnathukavu Appukutta Kurup, Pandarathil Murali and Kachamkurichi Kannan.

ee also

* Pandi Melam
* Panchavadyam
* Thayambaka

External links

* [http://melam.gosree.org Melam Collections]


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