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Mattannur Sankarankutty Marar.

Mattannur Sankarankutty Marar is an acclaimed Indian percussionist who has specialised in playing the ethnic Kerala drum called chenda. He is primarily a thayambaka exponent, but is also known for his expertise in leading traditional temple ensembles like Panchari Melam and Pandi Melam besides being a noted playback chenda player on Kathakali stages. Sankarankutty Marar also excels in playing the timila and the edakka that are lead instruments in another classical Kerala ensemble called Panchavadyam, and is an accomplished Sopanam musician too. His country has honoured Mattannur with the fourth highest cilvilian honour called the Padma Shri.

Hailing from a traditional Marar family in Mattannur of Kannur district in Malabar, Sankarankutty had his initials lessons on the chenda from his father. He later joined the Gandhi Seva Sadan (Sadanam Kathakali Akademi) near Ottapalam in Palakkad district to learn Kathakali chenda. During this period, he also learnt edakka from the venerable Pattirath Sankara Marar.

Sankarankutty, with his clean techniques and fertile imagination, is now a top thayambaka master. He also plays a crucial role in the chenda concerts at the famous Thrissur Pooram by leading the Pandi Melam for the Thiruvambadi temple. [1]

Mattannur also gets lots of stages to present double thayambaka with senior colleagues besides triple thayambaka (or trithayambaka) with his sons Mattannur Srikanth and Mattannur Sriraj. [2]

Sankarankutty Marar, who has presented his shows in foreign countries like Britain, has collaborated with leading compatriot percussionists like mridangam maestros like Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman and Karaikudi Mani, tablist Zakir Hussain, drummer A Sivamani, late kanjira player G Harishankar and tavil masters like Valayapatti Subramaniam and Haridwaramangalam Palanivel.

Sankarankutty lives with his family in the Kathakali village of Vellinezhi near Cherpulassery in Palakkad district, where he works in the government high school. He has acted in a Malayalam feature film, Vanaprastham, that profiles the life of a Kathakali artiste. There is also a documentary film, titled 'Mattannur Sankarankutty', portraying his life and artistic contributions. [3]

References

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