Padma Shri Mattannoor Sankarankutty Marar The great doyen of Chenda
(a traditional Kerala drum), Padma Shri Mattannoor Sankarankutty Marar was born in 1954 into a lineage of privileged percussionists of the Mattannoor temple, near Thalassery, in Kannur district of Kerala. Sankaran started playing chenda by the age of seven with first lessons from his father Kunjikrishnan Marar.
Sankarankutty’s talent was recognized early and he joined for lessons in Kathakali chenda at the Gandhi Sevasadanam, Peroor. He underwent rigorous training in thayambaka and Kathakali chenda under Pallassana Chandramannadiar and Sadanam Vasudevan. Also well-versed in Panchari Melam and Panchavadyam, he was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2009 and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2012.
An expert in almost all the temple music rituals like Sopanasangeetam, Mattannoor’s performances are fascinating displays, marked by his deft and powerful strokes. Though well versed in traditional school of music, he remains open to experimentation, thus elevating the aesthetics of Kerala’s percussion to greater heights.