The resistance music that is part of the history of the pro-Left Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) will be revived in Kochi on Thursday through a concert. The performance will be led by none other than Sumangala Damodaran, granddaughter of E.M.S. Namboodiripad.
Ms. Damodaran was initiated into the world of IPTA through songs of the KPAC, which was a cultural centre of the Communist-led revolution of which her grandfather was a leader. “I had learnt songs of KPAC at a very young age,” she says.
Later, as she performed these songs at venues in different parts of the country and abroad, her grandfather too enjoyed her singing. “He hardly had any musical abilities, but he was always pleased when I sang these songs,” she says.
IPTA was formed in 1942 against the backdrop of the freedom struggle. The association’s plays aimed at bringing theatre to the people and to revive India’s cultural heritage. The theatre movement gave birth to several artistes who later became successful in cinema too. KPAC in Kerala, through its plays such as ‘Ningalenne Communistaaki’ and songs like ‘Balikudeerangale’, inspired a generation of revolutionaries in the State.
Some of these popular songs, along with others in Hindi and Bengali, will be rendered at the concert by Ms. Damodaran, Harpreet Singh and Tapan Mullick. Ms. Damodaran is an associate professor at Ambedkar University’s School of Culture and Creative Expressions. Her album ‘Songs of Protest’ released in 2010 explored the forgotten musical tradition of IPTA.
Despite her roots in Kerala, this will be the first time the Delhi-based scholar-musician will be performing in the State. The concert that brought her here is being held in association with British cultural activist Taf Hassam. The programme is part of Hassam’s project to look at the legacy of topical songs.
The concert, which is part of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, will begin at David Hall at 6.30 p.m.