Chenda is one of the most popular instrumental music in Kearala, the southern state of India. The cylindrical wooden part of the instrument is made of jackfruit tree wood and the skins of cow and buffalo are jointly fastened at the ends. The left and right sides of this drum produce two different sounds. The musical notes can be adjusted with the strings that hold the two sides together.
It's a thrilling experiemce to watch chenda melam during festivals and other celebrations. Among various traditional classical chendamelas, Panchari and Pandi forms are very popular. Chembada, Anchadatta, Chamba, Adantha, Dhruvam are some other chendamelas. Panchari melam is very impressive one while Pandimelam is truely majestic. The expert of chenda leads the ensemble. His position is in the middle. In a special way he communicates with other chenda artistes so as to play according to the rules.
Another chendamelam called Shingarimelam is comparatively new. It is little different in its presentation. Movements along with percussion and high level rhythms are made this performing art different from other traditional forms in that category.
Team Chicago has practised Panchari melam and performed it at various stages in Chicago and other states in US alongwith Chicago Kalakshetra. Our team members are highly passionate to this traditional chendamelam.
However, the ever growing popularity of Shingarimelam among Malayali community is amazing. Team Chicago has performed Shingarimelam in churches during the festivals and onam and independence day celebrations by various Malayali associations.