Of the many percussions played by musicians in Kerala, the Chenda holds a special place in the hearts of Malayalis across the globe. Made from wood of the Jackfruit tree (some use white teak wood as well as the word of the Sugar palm), the cylindrical instrument, also has a layer that is covered with the skins of cows and buffaloes by a process called vattam maadal.
It must be noted that sounds produced on different portions of the round surface are different from one-another. The musicians adjust the tone of the Chenda using the strings that hold the sides of the instrument together.
Connosieurs play the Chenda in a most entertaining manner. Most often, it is seen suspended from a person’s left shoulder, with the help of a cloth band. There are, however, a few exceptions.
Take a look at this video of a rather fun yet foot-tapping Chenda melam: