Veekku Chenda


Veekku Chenda is a type of Chenda or drum used to keep the “thalam” or the basic rhythm while playing the Chenda. The “Chenda Vattam” of the “Uruttu Chenda” is always the “Valam Thala” or the “Right Head” which is made of multiple layer of skin to produce a bass sound. The meaning of “Veekku” in Malayalam language is “beating hard”. The artist produce sound on “Veekku Chenda” by hitting the drum using a stick without twisting or rolling his wrist.
both are covered (usually with animal’s skin) with the “Chenda Vattam”. The animal skin is usually of a cow (Heifer), in a traditional  Veeku Chenda other skins marajuna are not used (skin of bull, ox etc. are not used), to have a quality sound the skin from the abdominal part of the cow is taken. The Chenda is suspended from the drummers neck so that it hangs vertically. Though both sides can be used for playing, only one is actually beaten. Using two sticks, the drummer strikes the upper parchment.

Chendas are of different types, depending upon the diameter of the “Chenda Vattam” (ചെണ്ട വട്ടം) they are called “Ettara Veechan Chenda” (എട്ടര വീചാൻ ചെണ്ട) (8.5), “Ompathu Veechan Chenda” (ഒന്പത് വീചാൻ ചെണ്ട) (9), “Ompathe Kal Veechan Chenda” (ഒന്പെതെ കൽ വീചാൻ ചെണ്ട)(9 1/4), “Ompathara Veechan Chenda” (ഒന്പതര വീചാൻ ചെണ്ട)(9.5), “Ompathe Mukkal Veechan Chenda” (ഒൻപതെ മുക്കാൽ വീചാൻ ചെണ്ട) (9 3/4), “Ompathe Mukkal Kali Chenda” (ഒൻപതെ മുക്കാൽ കലി വീചാൻ ചെണ്ട)(> 9 3/4 but < 10). These Chendas are used for different purposes especially for different art forms.

Depending upon the size, structure and function of the Chenda, they are classified as, “Veekku Chenda” (വീക് ചെണ്ട) or “Acchan Chenda” (അച്ഛൻ ചെണ്ട), “Uruttu Chenda” (ഉര്രുട്ട് ചെണ്ട), “Muri Chenda” etc.


Some leading veeku chenda maestros are peruvanam gopalakrishnan, pallipuram jayan, vellinezhi ram kumar, guruvayur aji, edakalathur aniyan kutty, thiruvangulam renjith, mayannur narayanan nair, peruvanam prakash pisharody, kodakara saji, vayalur sukumaran, poroth chandrasekaran, thalore peethambaran.


Late maestros of veekan chenda are kakanattu krishnan nair, pariyarath unni marar, mayyanur ramakrishnan nair, etc

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