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TN musicians reeling under Covid blow as marriage parties cut their fee to half

- March 17, 2022

Chennai, March 17 (BPNS)

Tamil marriages are synonymous with traditional music, both during the marriage and during the reception time. The traditional musicians who plays ‘ Nadaswaram’, ‘Thavil drums’ generally charge for a four to five-hour performance Rs 20,000 to 25000 for a four-member team and they were in high demand all through the marriage season.

However the lockdown in the state brought after Covid -19 pandemic led to all the marriages and other public functions stopped affecting the very lives of these musicians.

Kannan Perumal, a traditional ‘Nadaswaram’ player who eke out a living by playing the instrument during marriages and other public functions are at a loss of words on the predicament the community is facing during the lockdown period and even after all the marriage halls are thrown open and marriages now held with full participation of guests.

He said that they generally move as a team of four and charge a marriage party anywhere between 20,000 to 25, 000 Rs for the function and they were in high demand, and almost round the clock, they were getting jobs. The Covid -19 pandemic altered everything and the world went on a standstill and marriages and public functions were put on hold.  The traditional musicians and their families had to starve for want of jobs and revenue.

Manikantan (51), a traditional musician said that the situation even after the malls and marriages are thrown open is not good. While speaking to BPNS he said, “ We musicians are in dire straits even after the government has allowed all the marriages to be conducted with full participation as marriage parties started bargaining for our  fee and are now reduced half of what we were getting before the Covid -19 pandemic.”

He said that marriage parties are not providing money more than Rs 10,000 for a traditional music team. The families and the marriage halls in unison have reduced the fee of the traditional musicians by half.

Sathyanesan, a marriage hall owner in Kanniyakumari while speaking to BPNS said, “ We have to bargain with these traditional musicians as most of the marriage parties don’t have an extravaganza for the marriage. With the marriage parties asking us to bargain, we don’t have any other choices but to bargain with these traditional musicians.”

Tiruppur  District Marriage Hall Owners Association Secretary, P. Logannathan while speaking to BPNS said, “Traditional musicians like Nadaswaram and Thavil players are an integral part of our culture. They are sought after by the marriage parties to be present in the reception.

After the total relaxation for marriage, the marriage parties commenced bargaining with the traditional musicians as most of the families have reduced their salaries by half.