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Panchari Melam - Ratheesh KrishnaVadhyar's Journal
May 16th, 2017
02:57 pm

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Panchari Melam
I had a short visit to Irinjalakuda, and could watch Sheeveli processions at Koodalmanikyam temple for three days. I could also see Shree Rama Pattabhishekam Kathakali performance after a long time.

I have been listening to the Panchari and Chembada Melam at the annual temple festival from my schooldays. I don't know any technical aspects of Melam yet, and I have been a layman listener all this while. One aspect I greatly look forward in the 5+ hours long Melam is how it induces various visualizations, especially the geometric ones, and creates unique experiences through its symphony of instruments. At times, I see it as a construction of a three dimensional pyramid, but with exponentially slopping edges and blurry tips. At other times, the music feels like carving out a rectangle out of various curvy patterns, chiseling out parts of them to form sharp edges and corners. From another angle, the Melam looks like zooming into a mesh shape in multiple steps, each time focusing and expanding on a cell of the mesh, only to see there can be several smaller cells in that single cell, which can be expanded further. Every time I listen to the Melam, I get some new perspective of it at some point, and I feel deep respect for the folks who developed this music and tradition, which might be unique in the World.

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