A fest and workshop were organised to revive interest in the ethnic art forms that are on the verge of extinction.

Do the words kambadavukali, kollattom and charadupinni kali ring a bell? If you thought these are names of characters from a mythical book, you are wrong. These are, in fact, some interesting folk art forms and games of Kerala. Played and enjoyed by the young and old alike from ages past, these ethnic art forms of our State are now on the verge of extinction, what with the advent of scores of new age games and gadgets that keep kids hooked all the time.

Learning old art

To revive these dying folk arts and generate interest in them among the young, the Government Model HSS LP School and Nursery here organised a ‘Folk arts festival and folklore workshop' at the school recently.

The programme organised in association with Kerala Folklore Academy provided an opportunity for students of the school and 100 other selected students from across the district to view and learn about some of the most magnificent folk art forms of Kerala.

Food and Civil Supplies Minister C. Divakaran inaugurated the programme which began with an impressive Kerala Nadanam performance by 54 tiny tots of Government Model HSS LP School. Watching the little ones perform the graceful classical art form was a treat to the eyes.

“We have been teaching our students Kerala Nadanam as part of a Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) programme to introduce students to art forms of Kerala. There is also a chapter on Kerala's art forms in their curriculum. So when we organised this programme we decided to give our students a platform to perform the dance,” said Mr. K. Bhuvanachandran Nair, the school head master.

The programme

The two-day programme included live performances and classes on art forms like theyyam, thottam pattu, nadanpattu, mapila pattu, kalipattu and many more. Doyens of these art forms like Vellattam artist Aandipanikkar, ‘thottam pattu' Kariyam Rajan, mapila paattu artist V.M. Kutty and Folklore Academy Chairman C.J. Kuttappan led the sessions. The highlight of the event was the spectacular Kandakarnam Vellattam performance by C.K. Sivadasan and team from Wadakara.

Apart from these a number of ‘nadan' games, like charadupinni kali and kolattom, were also taught to children at the workshop. “Our students already know these games and they have been practising regularly. While kollattom is played with sticks, charadupinni kali is played by tying ropes in various shapes,” Mr. Nair said.

In another session on folklore and proverbs led by R. Sudhakaran of Suhrut Balabhavan, Vithura, the participants were transported back in time to the ethereal settings of grandma's tales.