Mizhavu is the main percussion instrument of Kutiyattam, Chakyarkoothu and Nangiyarkoothu, the ancient art forms of Kerala. The instrument is in the shape of a pot and is made of copper. The playing surface is the mouth of the pot which is covered tightly with a hide.
Featured here is an excerpt from a Mizhavu Thayambaka performance, led by the maestro P.K. Narayanan Nambiar. Mr. Nambiar is credited with introducing Mizhavu to the Thayambaka genre. Thayambaka is the name for solo drum performances. It is led by a master performer and standard as well as improvisational notes are played. The leader is supported by experienced artists who can play in unison adjusting with the quick changes. Maddalam and Ilathalam are two accompanying instruments of a Mizhavu Thayambaka performance.
Mr. P.K. Narayanan Nambiar, a doyen among the Mizhavu players was formerly the Guru of Mizhavu at Kerala Kalamandalam, the premiere training centre for Kerala’s classical arts. Mr. Nambiar who started performing at the age of 12, is today the senior most performer of this art. The supporting artistes are Kalamandalam Eswaranunni, Kalamandalam Unnikrishnan Nambiar, Margi Mohanan, Margi Ramanunni and Margi Harish.