Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): ‘Mulam Chenda,’ a traditional percussion of Kerala, is the Second ‘Exhibit of the Week’ of November on the official websites and social media pages of Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS).
The exhibition began on Monday. It was collected from the Mavilan communities of Kasaragod, Kerala in 2016.
Director, Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS), Praveen Kumar Mishra, says that in Kerala, the Tulu-speaking Mavilan community of Kannur and Kasaragod districts use a traditional bamboo-based percussion called Mulam Chenda.
The Mavilans live mostly in forested areas and have rich dance and music traditions. A village called Parappa in the Kasaragod district is popular for the craftsmanship of this musical instrument.
He further says that the instrument is unique in a way that it skillfully transforms a bamboo tube into orchestral equipment without using many extra materials. It is made of locally available bamboo species and requires about 5 to 6 hours to prepare.
The instrument is purely handcrafted and measures about 2 to 2.5 feet in size. It is played exclusively by men. On the playing surface, the outer layer of bamboo is lifted up slightly in the form of strings, and tiny wooden blocks are inserted beneath the strings as the bridge of the instrument, he said.
The function of these wooden blocks is to hold the strings in position and also to produce different notes and sounds. It is played by using props such as bamboo sticks. In the olden days, the instrument was used in repelling birds from the agricultural fields; at present, it is being used during temple festivals and local ceremonies, Mishra says.