THRISSUR: For Pooram lovers, ‘Ilanjithara Melam’ is the most delightful music feast to the ears. As he completes two decades of ‘Pramanam’ for the largest percussion assembly in the world, Peruvanam Kuttan Marar feels blessed and fortunate.
“Being a percussion artist is a luck. Being the head of melam is a blessing. But to lead the ‘Ilanjithara Melam’ for so many years is definitely something higher,” says Peruvanam. He first took up the ‘Pramanam’ of the Ilanjithara Melam’ in 1999 and has been in the lead role of the percussion ensemble all these years. It has been more than 40 years since he started drumming for the pooram.
Melam connoisseurs remember Peruvanam communicating to his team members through gestures and sometimes rolling his eyes at the percussionists. According to Peruvanam, “such tactics are inevitable as we have to coordinate with the individual artists to bring the best in them. At times, some artists start to speed up their rhythm, not intentionally. But that will affect the harmony of the ensemble and the lead percussionist will have to correct them and get them move along with the other drummers.”
Over so many years, what made Peruvanam stand apart is his presence of mind and dedication. “Around five years ago, as the Ilanjithara Melam was progressing, tusker Erattupetta Ayyappan collapsed during the procession. As it was suspected that the elephant had run amok, the ‘melam’ was halted. Percussionists in the team ran away and stood scattered at various places. As I knew what exactly had happened, I came back to the spot where we stopped and continued the melam,” said Peruvanam adding it was an unforgettable experience.