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  Life   More Features  19 Dec 2018  In love with folk

In love with folk

THE ASIAN AGE. | GOKUL M.G
Published : Dec 19, 2018, 12:11 am IST
Updated : Dec 19, 2018, 12:11 am IST

Kanjoor Nattupolima is on a mission to preserve the rich tradition of folk culture in Kerala.

Kanjoor Nattupolima
 Kanjoor Nattupolima

India’s rich cultural diversity has greatly contributed to various forms of folk music. Almost every region in India has its own rich folk sounds. Yet, have they been preserved well? In this era of globalisation and industrialisation, there is no one to carry forward their cultural legacy. The emergence of folk art groups and collectives across the country has provided solutions to carry forward folk culture to the next generation. Kanjoor Nattupolima, a collective of folk artists, is on such a mission to preserve the rich tradition of folk culture in Kerala. Their folk band has been travelling across the country and performing with an aim to disseminate the idea of the importance of folk songs and folk culture in general.

Prashant Pankan, a percussionist, vocalist and secretary of Nattupolima, feels that more than the performances, they are aiming to revive and preserve folk culture which is passed on from our ancestors. “Folk music and musicians should be encouraged. There was a time when folk culture, especially folk songs, were in the shadow of popular new-age music. There was a time when we did not dare associate the term ‘popular’ with folk artists. When we started off with the group 15 years ago, there was a huge gap between mainstream art and folk art. The acceptance of our art was minimal, and there was a gap between folk artists and the audience. So, our aim was to bridge this gap,” says Prashant.

Kanjoor Nattupolima has managed to sell out at theatres and arenas across the country on many prestigious music festivals. According to Prashant, what makes Kanjoor Nattupolima different from other folk art groups is how they perform age-old folk songs, that are less-popular and contemporary folk songs that are known as nadanpattu. “We are keen to make sure that we perform  not for the sake of performing, but to give the audience an idea about folk culture and art thus we stick to original folk songs. We also speak about the origin of these songs during our performances,” he explains.

The folk band has 25 members and who plays various instruments and sing. The band sticks to traditional folk instruments  — like the Maram, thudi, varieties of chenda, chinth, udukk, thakil, vadichilamb, ilathaalam, kaimani, aramani, manpera and dhavil.

The group is also spreading awareness among the younger generation about folk arts through open space performances, seminars and symposiums in schools and colleges. With a belief that it will help youngsters relate to folk art forms, this is their constant aim.

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