Listen to Panchavadyam – Temple Orchestra
I did some recordings of Panchavadyam (Temple Orchestra) at Sri Sankarankulangara Temple festival (chuttu valakku) in Thrissur.
Panchavadyam (Malayalam: പഞ്ചവാദ്യം), literally meaning an orchestra of five instruments, is basically a temple art form that has evolved in Kerala. Of the five instruments, four — timila, maddalam, ilathalam and idakka — belong to the percussion category, while the fifth, kombu, is a wind instrument.
Much like any chenda melam, panchavadyam is characterised by a pyramid-like rhythmic structure with a constantly increasing tempo coupled with a proportional decrease in the number of beats in cycles. However, in contrast to a chenda melam, panchavadyam uses different instruments (though ilathalam and kompu are common to both), is not related very closely to any temple ritual and, most importantly, permits a lot of personal improvisation while filling up the rhythmic beats on the timila, maddalam and idakka.
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