Today we started of with our last project of CL - Chenda Melam drums. Chenda Melam means cylindrical percussion. It is played during occasions in Kerala. When we went to the Odeum, two guides were there who guided us in playing the instrument. One of the guide said that the basic rhythm for any type of religious song is tha-ki-ta.
We learned that if we know the basic rhythm, we can play any type of religious song at any festival in Kerala. He also explained that it takes at least 1 year to learn to play the drums, and a lot more years for learning advanced skills. Most of us learnt simple rhythms, which we are going to perform on Friday.
We all were surprised to see one of the guide playing the Chenda really fast. He obviously had learnt it for many years. He said that if we want to learn the skill of playing fast, we will need a lot training. It is not easy to perform unless you know the basics and get trained . And also, he explained to us that it isn't easy to perform because you will have to be standing in the sun at the temple, or a place where they would perform for about seven hours a day. When he was telling us about playing the Chenda Melam, I learnt a lot about the instrument and also realised that "PRACTICE MAKES A MAN PERFECT".
On the beat was my goal (mantra) .
Today we practiced 'Chenda Melam'. We were hitting the drums and most importantly rocking out. We practiced our whole routine and it went well. We only practiced few times since the drums were so loud that our ears would explode and our head hurt but we did a good job.
The easiest part was playing the whole song properly and the hardest part was playing as one group of 9. For me the hardest thing was speeding up and going the maximum speed in a beat.
The interesting thing is we learnt something new and that Chenda is mainly played in Hindu temple festivals and is a religious art form of Kerala.
My overall experience was fun and new and I am really happy for learning the culture. I am looking forward to playing the piece and finding out what people think about it.
At the end of the day we played rugby in the pool and some students did synchronized swimming. Overall it was a rhythmic and synchronized day.