Temple Arts of Kerala, Panchari Melam, Pandi Melam, Chempata Melam, Panchavadhyam, Thayampaka and all that you ever needed to know about the rich rhythm tradition of Kerala!
By convention, a Paandi Melam has to be proceeded by a Chempata Melam. A full course of Chempata Melam has four phases, but the one played before Paandi Melam takes up only the last two phases, having 16-beat and 8-beat cycles.
The melam starts in slow tempo. After two kalaasams are gone through the second stage of Kuzhamarichil (wrist rotation) is taken up. After completing two kalaasams, in the third one comes the theeru kalaasams when all the front line drummers stoop and play a few rhythm cycles and on rising up completes the first phase and passes on to the second phase.
Here one cycle has 8-beats. It starts in the intermediate tempo (Etakaalam). After completing two kalaasams in this tempo, the melam enters the kuzhamarichil stage. After completing two kalaasams, in the third all front line drummers stoop and play a few cycles, rise up and then takes up the finale.
The grand finale is called waxing and waning Chempata Kalaasam or “natapura” (the hall in front of the diety outside the quadrangular temple) Kalaasam. The Melam ends here with the grand finale.