Renowned musicians from different parts of the world owe part of their success to a quaint village in Palakkad district. Peruvemba village near Chittur-Thathamangalam has been designing leather-based percussion musical instruments Mridangam, Maddalam, Tabla, Timila, Chenda and Idakka for about 200 years. Made from leather and the wood of the jackfruit tree, their instruments are mostly used in temple music and Carnatic music.
The members of the Kadachi Kollan community are preserving this ancient craft which is a means of their livelihood. These dexterous artisans, with an unbroken tradition of manufacturing musical instruments, are an integral part of Kerala’s culture. Peruvemba’s contribution to the cultural landscape of Kerala is truly noteworthy.
The making of musical instruments itself involves tedious processes, and demands a level of precision that takes years of experience to master. The labour-intensive process takes anywhere between 2 to 3 months to complete. Cowhide is mainly used in combination with buffalo or goat hide, and the proportion varies in different types of instruments. After the right wood is selected, it is dried for a month and then chiselled in a machine to make it hollow. The skin of cattle is sourced from abattoirs and washed. They are stretched and pegged to small poles on the ground to be dried in sunlight and are scrubbed and smoothened before being fixed at both ends of the instrument.
Despite their social and financial problems, the village continues to be a major producer of musical instruments in Kerala.
To know more about the village, check https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75oqPGU9uVs
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Nearest Airport: Coimbatore International Airport, about 75 km | Cochin International Airport, about 110 km
Nearest Railway Station: Kollengode, about 10 km | Palakkad Town, about 15 km