The primacy of the maddalam in a Kathakali performance can be gauged from it being the first to be sounded before the performance. 'Maddala keli' is a term used for the ritual of 'announcement' made to the public that a Kathakali performance will take place later on. The first stroke is on the maddalam, the left side of which produces the Omkara dhwani. Later, when the musicians enter the stage, before the play begins, the maddalam is again the first to be played in the segment known as the 'Arangathu keli.'
('For rituals and art' by Anjana Rajan, The Hindu, Jan 18, 2008)

Out of the sixteen upacharas offered to God in temples, the fourteenth was music and instrumental music and the fifteenth was Nrittam. More than eighteen kinds of Nritta were being performed in the Vishnu temples and dances like Ajappanatanam and Kukutanatanam were performed in the Shiva temples.
('Bharatanatyam in History' by T S Parthasarathy)

Muttuthandavar, the composer of the popular compositions Theruvil Vaaraano, Sevikka Vendum Ayya and Ambara Chidambaram, was popularly referred to as one of the Tamil Moovar (Tamil Trinity). He has composed 25 padams and 60 songs, dedicated primarily to Lord Shiva with special reference to the deity at Chidambaram.

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