Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Thrissur Pooram - Part 5

The long schedule of the Thrissur Pooram starts with the smaller Poorams in the individual temples in both the groups; then they arrive at Vadakunnathan to pay their due respects to Lord Shiva, the silent spectator of their long festive journey. Each pooram is however, accompanied by the percussion ensembles, which is one of the greatest source of enjoyment and enthusiasm for all the spectators.

The no: of artists in the “Panchavadhyam” troupe varies depending on factors like duration, place, type etc. But the proportion remains the same always, to every Madhalam, there would be double + one "Thimila" and for every Thimila, there would be equal number of "Kombu" and "Elathalam". One "Edakka" is essential in all types of “Panchavadyam”. For larger groups, the no: of "Edakka" may be more. The grouping of the artists and hierarchy is strictly followed. The chief of each instrument will stand in the center, the next less superior one in the right side and the third one in the left. "Edakka" will be stationed at right-hand side of the "Madhalam". If there is second "Edakka", it will be positioned at the left hand side. "Sanghu" will be at right hand side of the right Edakka. The “Panchavadhyam” follows the Pyramidal rhythmic structure. It starts with the “Shangu”, followed by the “Thimila” and other instruments except the “Kombu”. It is divided into 10 “Kaalams” each lasting 14-15 minutes and consisting of slow “PathiKaalam”, intermittent “MadhyaKaalam”, “DruthiKaalam” and speedy Kaalam, but however, the chief decides from which Kaalam the vadhyam starts. This differs from “PanchariMelam” in that the latter is performing on Chenda with one stick and hand and is divided into 3 steps in 5 "Kaalams".

The “Pandimelam” performed as “Elanjitharamelam” during the pooram differs by the use of stick in both hands. It is like climbing a staircase; with a no.of steps + landing, again a no. of steps + landing and finally it reaches the top of the tower, literally, a tower of explosion of sound. Its "takeoff" is in an entirely different format called "Koottiperukkal" which is an enchanting experience. It is difficult to confine this melam to any type of "Kaalam" since it is designed in such a way that it accelerates step by step very systematically. During the course of time it will cover up the Kaalams, but not strictly time- bound. But, its beauty lies in its "Kalaasams". Here, the speed and no of beats are directly proportional; the grand finale being a thrilling experience.

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