Thrissur: Renowned percussionist Peruvanam Kuttan Marar won't be hereafter leading the orchestra at the courtyard of the Vadakkunnathan Temple during the Thrissur Pooram. The Paramekkavu Devaswom, which is the authority at the Bagavathi Temple, has removed Peruvanam, as he is better known, from the lead position known as ‘Ilanjithara Pramani’ following a spat.
Kizhakkoottu Aniyan Marar is the new 'Pramani' replacing the 69-year-old Kuttan Marar.
Marar delayed the melam — the playing of musical instruments — and kept his 'chenda' (drum) on the ground leading to friction. This standoff was after the Ezhunnallippu — the procession with the deity on Friday. This procession is known locally as the Paramekkavu Vela Ezhunnallippu.
The decision to drop him as the lead musician was taken following this incident.
Marar has been removed from the position after 24 years as the lead for the melam.
The percussion feast
At the world-famous Thrissur Pooram the percussion events start with Panchavadyam — an orchestra of five instruments); followed by Chempadamelam — a special performance with traditional percussion instruments; the popular Ilanjithara Melam — an assembly of percussion performance artists held next to the Ilanji tree (bullet wood tree) at the Vadakkunnathan Temple; and to cap them all is the 'Madathil Varavu’ — a conglomeration of over 200 artists accompanied by instruments like thimila, madhalam, trumpet, cymbal and edakka.
Towards the end of the pooram, after the Ilanjithara Melam, both Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi groups enter the temple through the western gate, come out through the southern gate and array themselves face to face in distant places. It is followed by the final salute and departure.
Why Ilanjithara Melam is significant
The Ilanjithara Melam is conducted by experienced percussionists. The four-hour-long performance has phases called Idathukalasham, Adichukalasham, Thakritha, Tripuda and Mutinmel Chenda. The event begins slowly and gathers intensity over the course of the session.