Vayali’s Bamboo Orchestra: Reinventing the ancient tradition – Kerala

Nidhi Surendranath, The Hindu, Kochi, November 8, 2013 | Full article with slideshow >>

How many of Kerala’s many musical instruments are made out of bamboo?

The flute, which is a part of the classical music tradition in India, is the most popular bamboo musical instrument in the country. Not many know, however, that the versatile bamboo has produced several other musical instruments that have been part of Kerala’s folk music tradition for hundreds of years.

The music produced from the bamboo reed now has several practitioners in Central Kerala, all of them determined to reinvent bamboo music and spread the word of its potential. […]

“There are local folk instruments like Ona Villu, Mulam chenda, Peekki, and Mulam Thudy that are made of bamboo. We travelled to parts of Kasaragod, Attappady, and Wayanad to learn how these are made and used. We learnt from local elders the techniques of playing the instruments,” says Kuttan, a member of the Vayali bamboo orchestra. The folk and tribal instruments are used by Vayali in their folk music performances. For the bamboo orchestra, the group uses innovative bamboo instruments inspired from bamboo music from all over the world.

The organisation’s objective is to bring bamboo music to contemporary times, while also preserving the social and cultural traditions that surround bamboo music. The influence of customs on traditional music is not lost on Vayali’s members. “There is a tribal group called Mavilayar in Kasaragod. Some of these instruments are part of a performance called Mangalamkali that the tribals put up during weddings,” says Mr. Kuttan.

These social practices too are lost when the traditional music of bamboo fades out, says Vayali founder Vinod Nambiar, who recently secured a junior research fellowship with the Ministry of Culture to research folk music. […]

These social practices too are lost when the traditional music of bamboo fades out, says Vayali founder Vinod Nambiar, who recently secured a junior research fellowship with the Ministry of Culture to research folk music.

Through his research, Mr. Nambiar hopes to document and preserve knowledge of bamboo music and its social aspects. “I hope to use the anthropological aspects of this music to learn more about it. We had a community system in which one community made the instruments and another used it. On what occasions did they perform this music? What are the patterns and structures of the music? Are variations available, and if so, what are the differences?” he says about the scope of his research. […]

Source: Reinventing the ancient tradition of creating music from the reed – The Hindu
Address : http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-kerala/reinventing-the-ancient-tradition-of-creating-music-from-the-reed/article5328477.ece
Date Visited: Sat May 10 2014 15:10:40 GMT+0200 (CEST)

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