david pye - panchavadyam

fragment 1 program note

panchavadyam literally means "five instruments" in Kerala, South India. It is a form of ritual temple music used to accompany elephant parades during temple festivals and is performed by large ensembles of musicians playing five different kinds of instruments. Part of the function of the music is to wake the temple god so the deity would bless the ensuing festivities. It traditionally begins with an extended call from a conch shell.

The music of panchavadyam is based upon rhythms collected in Cochin in January 2003, with further inspiration from the brilliant Indian kathak dancer, Daksha Sheth, and the tremendously exciting Papuan drumming first introduced to me by Tetrafide Percussion. The instruments chosen bear no relationship to a true panchavadyam - the music simply aims to capture the spirit of the original temple festival music.

panchavadyam was first performed by Tetrafide Percussion on June 15, 2003 at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.

fragment 2