KOTTAYAM: Thekkanam is a remote place along the Kodungoor-Manimala Road in Vazhoor panchayat. But it is familiar to music lovers in the Middle East, Europe and the US, thanks to Master Musics that makes and deals in Indian musical instruments, especially percussion instruments.
When S Binu, known as Vazhoor S Binu, decided to quit his job with a multinational IT firm in 2015, his relatives and friends tried to dissuade him. But Binu couldn’t imagine living without the rhythm of percussion. He quit working as a digital marketing expert for the US firm at Infopark in Koratty to concentrate on his dream project. And he worked his way up to secure an export-import license and began selling instruments globally. “We export our products to countries where instruments made of animal hides are not banned,” Binu said.
Far from easy to begin with, it took him more than a year to carve out raw wood in the right shape to produce rhythmic percussion sounds. He started making mridangam, tabla and chenda from the workshop he set up at Thekkanam in 2016. Now, Binu’s workshop produces nine music instruments made of wood and animal hides, and three traditional measuring vessels such as naazhi, idangazhi (changazhi) and para. “Instruments like idaykka, thimila, thakil, chenda, udukku and maddalam are mainly for use in temples, while tabla, mridangam and ganjira are for musical concerts,” Binu said.
Practising on the tabla and mridangam from his childhood, and having performed on stage, he had earlier started a music school ‘Kalaranjini’. It was when the person making mridangam and tabla for our school died that I started thinking about manufacturing the instruments,” Binu recalled.