Music band mesmerises Kochi audience with songs on handmade bamboo instruments

Kochi (Kerala), Dec.18 : The Vayali Folklore Troupe enthralled an audience here by performing near-extinct original folk songs on handmade bamboo percussion instruments.

Since its inception, the troupe has been actively committed towards reviving traditional art forms, folklore and ethnic music and has acknowledged the cultural significance of the traditional knowledge system of the indigenous tribes of Kerala.

The troupe, which hails from Thrissur District in Kerala, is now gaining popularity and is known as the "Bamboo Band" locally. It is receiving calls to conduct such shows in public for entertainment and special functions.

"The troupe was started in 2004 and in the initial days we played only the near-extinct original folk songs but somewhere around last year we started with Bamboo Orchestra or band. The main criterion was to not use musical instruments made of strings or any kind of electronic percussion. This is to revive the music of nature and to reach out to the people," said lead percussionist Pradeep P.

The instruments for the bamboo orchestra are hand-designed, given its final form at Kattappana in Iduki district of Kerala and the raw material is procured from the pristine hills of Wayanad.

In the orchestra, the flute is the lead instrument. Among other instruments are Mulam Chenda (a cylindrical percussion instrument, Mulam in Malayalam means bamboo. Its ends are left open and struck with sticks tied to a rubber sponge) , Mulam Thudi ( bamboo drum ), and Mazha Mooli (bamboo spikes are meticulously arranged to give a labyrinth filled with seeds of green gram and red wood tree, the tube when rotated or slanted produces a serene sound like that of a flowing stream).

The team has come up with innovative instruments as well, an example being a five-drum set, The cylindrical instruments are characteristic of the African 'Conga'. The drumhead is a calf-skin cover fastened with strings of rope while the base is left open and struck with bare hands.

The annual event is being organised by the Kerala State Bamboo Mission of the Kerala Bureau of Industrial Promotion (K-BIP) under the Department of Commerce and Industry.

The Bamboo Festival is envisaged to help artisans as well as entrepreneurs in the bamboo sector acquire knowledge about the latest products and design developments and also to provide a platform to them for sharing information.

--ANI (Posted on 18-12-2013)

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