Hindu non secular pageant Thaipusam is a few week away and technician Sathiya Moorthy Kandasamy, 50, has been working around the clock to restore 50 South Indian folks drums.
They embrace the urumi (hourglass-shaped drum), thavil (barrel-shaped drum) and pambai (cylindrical drum). These drums, along with the jalra (small hand cymbals), are a part of the urumi melam, a set of conventional devices performed at non secular events like Thaipusam and Chitra Pournami, a full moon pageant.
Urumi melam performers accompany kavadi bearers as they fulfil their vows throughout Thaipusam.
From Banting, Selangor, the musician specialises in changing drum heads with goat conceal. The pores and skin is bought from the moist market and handled in his yard at Taman Sri Telok Datok.
Sathiya, who works at a tea plantation in Bukit Cheeding, Banting, runs his part-time enterprise on weekends.
“Thaipusam was scaled down within the final two years as a result of pandemic. However this yr, the celebrations are again in full swing. I’ve obtained so many restore orders in the previous couple of months, particularly for urumi and thavil drums. I’ve been working continuous to fulfil the orders since November,” says Sathiya throughout an interview in Banting just lately.
Sathiya can be the founding father of the Banting-based Veera Suran urumi melam band which contains 11 members, together with his son, Havinash Moorthy, 14.
Sathiya has been an urumi melam performer for over 35 years and is adept at taking part in all urumi melam devices.
He’s amongst a number of Indian musicians in Selangor who’s nicely versed in repairing conventional Indian drum heads with goat pores and skin.
“It’s exhausting to come back throughout youths who’re curious about studying this talent. It’s a tedious and time-consuming activity. Many individuals would moderately purchase a model new drum than restore it with their naked palms,” the daddy of 4 explains.
Curing the conceal takes about seven days, and it’s nothing in need of laborious.
“Contemporary goat conceal is bought for RM50 from meat suppliers in Banting’s moist market. It’s then washed a number of occasions to get rid of the gamey odor. Then, the hair is eliminated utilizing a pointy bamboo stick and vibhuti (Hindu holy ash).
“The goat conceal is left to air dry for a number of days. It should be dried utterly to make sure it suits completely onto the drum base. Metallic rods and strings are used to tighten the pores and skin to boost it to the proper pitch,” says Sathiya, who additionally orders goat conceal from Chennai, India.
His costs aren’t a lot, solely RM100 for all the trouble.
“I do that as a passion and I get pleasure from it. It’s additional revenue which helps to pay my payments. The most effective half is I can breathe new life into previous devices,” he says.
Feminine and male goat hides are the popular alternative for urumi and pambai drum heads respectively.
“Feminine goat conceal is thinner and helps to convey out the excessive pitched sound of the urumi. Male goat conceal is barely thicker and rougher, which produces a deeper and decrease sound within the pambai,” provides Sathiya, who additionally repairs conventional devices like kompang and rebana.
Sathiya realized the artwork of repairing drum heads in his late 20s.
“Years in the past, an aged Indian musician in Banting used to restore my folks drums. He coaxed me into studying the right way to repair conventional drums, reminding me he wouldn’t stay too lengthy to proceed this commerce. He handed away a few years in the past, and I’m grateful I managed to choose up the talent,” says Sathiya, who shares images and movies of his troupe’s performances on Fb.
Sathiya and his band members will showcase their abilities at Batu Caves from Thaipusam eve, which is on Feb 4, until Feb 6. They’ve 5 bookings the place they may carry out for kavadi bearers for 3 hours. Sathiya costs RM700 for every efficiency.
“We take these performances critically and have been practising religiously for the previous six months. I’m comfortable my son is slowly studying to play these devices. I purpose to slowly train him to restore conventional devices when he’s older.
“Studying to play conventional music and restore folks devices is a part of our heritage. And it’s my want to cross down this heritage to the subsequent technology,” Sathiya concludes.