Padayani Festivals

Musical Instruments

Music forms the lifeline of every art form and is the same for the ritual art form of Padayani. The rhythmic steps of Kolam are entwined with the music of both vocal and instruments. Among the various instruments used for the performance, Thappu and Chenda play forms the soul of Padayani performance. 

An ancient drum, Thappu, is among the small-sized drums used in Kerala. Its plain surface is made of animal skin and the skin is first heated and then cooled by rubbing the leaves of a particular plant and is later tuned to get the desired tone. The skin of the striking surface is glued on to the circular wooden frame of 10 -12 inches diameter. Unlike other percussion instruments of Kerala Thappu does not have strings attached for correcting the tone. Thappu is played using the palms of both hands and is usually accompanied by the traditional cymbals called ilathalam

Other instruments which are widely used for the performance are Para, Kumbham, Ilathalam, Kuzhal and Kombu.