If it looks like a mridangam and sounds like a mridangam, it must be a mridangam. Yes, indeed it is one.
Meet the SRI (Synthetic Rhythm Indian) mridangam – an “ethical vegan” mridangam that is the product of many years of painstaking research done by Dr. K. Varadarangan, a Carnatic musician and wireless specialist based in Bangalore.
The two drum heads of a mridangam are usually made from animal skin and the body is made from wood. Dr. Varadarangan, in his path breaking work, has managed to make the drum heads using synthetic material and mounted them on a fiberglass shell, thus making sure no animal products are used in the manufacture of the instrument.
I played my first concert of this year’s Chennai December music season on the SRI mridangam. It was an amazing feeling to switch over to an ethical vegan mridangam and say goodbye to playing on animal skin! I can’t thank Dr. Varadarangan enough for making this possible.
Please visit http://www.karunyamusicals.com/ for more details on the SRI mridangam.
(Pictures courtesy Rajappane Raju)