Ghatam Ensemble

Source PIAindia, Guest host @studio_minim

The ghatam, Sanskrit for pot, is a percussion instrument from South India. Originally an accompaniment to the tabla and mridangam, maestro Viku Vinayakam (seen here) is credited with elevating it to the centrestage of Carnatic music. The earthenware vessel/instrument is made of terracotta clay mixed with iron filings that gives it its earthy-metallic sound — both clay composition and the dimensions of the form affect the pitch of the ghatam. Thrown on the wheel and paddled to create a lighter pot with even walls, the wider the rim, the lower the pitch. Only 10 out of every 70 vessels made become instruments, says ghatam maker Ramesh Kesavan from Manamadurai, a tiny village in South India where most of the country’s ghatams come from.

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