Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Friday, Feb 08, 2008
Google



Friday Review Chennai and Tamil Nadu
Published on Fridays

Features: Magazine | Literary Review | Life | Metro Plus | Open Page | Education Plus | Book Review | Business | SciTech | Friday Review | Cinema Plus | Young World | Property Plus | Quest | Folio |

Friday Review    Bangalore    Chennai and Tamil Nadu    Delhi    Hyderabad    Thiruvananthapuram   

Printer Friendly Page Send this Article to a Friend

Sound Play -- Anjana Rajan

Requires judgment and expertise


The ganjira is a small handheld drum that resembles a tambourine. A part of the Carnatic music tradition, the ganjira is not as ancient as some of the other Indian instruments. It is used as a percussion accompaniment to a Carnatic music recital and is allotted secondary importance as compared to the mridangam.

The ganjira consists of a circular wooden frame of jack wood, with a diameter of seven to eight inches and depth of approximately two inches. One face of the frame is stretched over with a thin layer of leather, the skin of the monitor lizard. The drum is usually held in the left hand and played by striking the leather face with the fingers of the right. A couple of small metal discs is attached to the frame. Their jingling adds a celebratory sound to the resonance of the ganjira.

The ganjira cannot be extensively tuned like the mridangam. Its pitch can be lowered, while playing, however, by thinly wetting the inside of the leather covering with water. The nature of this method makes it difficult to maintain the pitch of the ganjira throughout the concert, and requires judgment and expertise. However, a tuneable ganjira has been developed by at least two companies.

Popular artists

The late H.P. Ramachar was a celebrated ganjira artist. Noted for his speed of playing, considered difficult since the drum is played with only one hand, he also researched the construction of the instrument and devised methods to lessen its vulnerability to varying conditions of temperature and moisture. Among his other accomplishments was the establishment of an all women’s percussion ensemble, the Karnataka Mahila Laya Madhuri. His daughter Lata Ramachar is also a known ganjira player.

Any mention of this popular percussion instrument brings to mind the name of G. Harishankar, a percussionist who became synonymous with the instrument till his untimely demise at the age of 44 in 2002. Both as an accompanist and a soloist, he made a tremendous impression on audiences with his dextrous speed and clarity of sound.

Dakshinamurthy Pillai and V.Nagarajan were among the pioneers. Other well known names in the field include C.S. Venkataraman, Mayavaram G. Somasundaram and Ganesh Kumar.

Selvaganesh is another popular ganjira player. Pete Lockett of Britain is a well known world percussionist who has studied under Indian maestros and plays the ganjira.

Ganjira

Type Percussion

Made of Jackwood and leather.

Stream Carnatic

Exponents H.P.Ramchar, Lata Ramachar, G.Harishankar, C.S.Venkataraman, Mayavaram G. Somasundram, Ganesh Kumar, Selvaganesh, K.V.Gopalakrishnan…

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail



Friday Review    Bangalore    Chennai and Tamil Nadu    Delhi    Hyderabad    Thiruvananthapuram   

Features: Magazine | Literary Review | Life | Metro Plus | Open Page | Education Plus | Book Review | Business | SciTech | Friday Review | Cinema Plus | Young World | Property Plus | Quest | Folio |


The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | Sportstar | Frontline | Publications | eBooks | Images | Home |

Comments to : thehindu@vsnl.com   Copyright 2008, The Hindu
Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu