Kallur Raman Kutty Marar is a blessed virtuoso player of the percussion instrument chenda. The strict adherence to traditional purity has not prevented him from exploring various facets of chenda playing in his own inimitable personal style. This thayambaka chakravarthi is considered to be the main proponent of naduchenda which is popular in the central part of Kerala.
His early lessons in instrumental music were from his father and then from Mankurussi Neelakantan Marar (Appa Marar). His debut performance was at the age of eight at the Kallur Sri Krishna temple. At this time he was not even as tall as the instrument, and he won recognition as a young percussionist. During this period, Ramankutty Marar gained proficiency in both thimila and panchavadyam.
Even though Ramankutty Marar is adept at playing both thimila and edakka, chenda is his favourite percussion instrument. He is also proficient in singing ashtapadi, to the accompaniment of edakka.
Ramankutty Marar’s performance style is such that both the connoisseur and and commoner can enjoy the performance. He has performed in innumerable temples all over Kerala, including Guruvayur, Sabarimala, Thriprayar, Kottyam, Thirunakkara, Pulinelli, Irattakulangara, Angadippuram etc. During this period various awards and recognitions came his way.
Even though Ramankutty Marar is proficient in both edakka and panchavadyam, it is the rare good fortune of Malayalis that he chose to “thayambaka” as his passion. Through his constant innovations and experimentation, Ramankutty Marar has opened new pathways in this traditional art form.
The sheer purity of practice formats like “nilavabhyasam”, and the drum-roll arising from “nerukol prayogam” make him distinct from other percussionists. Shri. Kallur Ramankutty Marar is the true flag-bearer of the Palakkadan style of thayambaka playing.