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Wed, Jul 17, 2019 | Last Updated 4:25 am IST

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Kerala Drummers back to play Music after Floods

Kerala Drummers back to play Music after Floods
Kerala Drummers back to play Music after Floods

Reportedly at the height of the deluge in Kerala in August 2018, 41 year old Santosh Kumar, an indigenous drummer in Alappuzha’s Kuttanad region, knew deep in his heart that among the many things he would lose to the flood waters would be his livelihood, practiced and perfected for the past four decades. Meanwhile Santosh is the secretary of the Brothers Chenda Mela Kalasamathi, a group of 16 indigenous percussionists or ‘chenda’ players who have been making a living by performing in temples and churches for the last 20 years. 

Kerala Drummers back to play Music after Floods

Santosh recalls “After the water receded in September last year, we went to our practice shed in Pulinkunnu and saw that our chendas and valamthalas were rotting on the watery floor”. Meanwhile the group earns six months of their income through performances, the remaining part of the year and they work as auto rickshaw drivers, farm laborers, construction and daily wage workers etc. 

Moreover 70% of the group also hails from Schedule Caste/Schedule Tribes and other marginalized groups.  Santosh says “Apart from the money, being percussion instruments is a matter of pride for us. We have been learning the Chenda’s rhythm ever since we were born. From our fathers and grandfathers we learnt to play it. Therefore, to lose the drums to a natural calamity was unfortunate, but now we are happy and grateful”. 

Kerala Drummers back to play Music after Floods
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