Make no mistake, Nadan Pattu (folk song) is going to be one of the most popular events in the coming years of the State School Art Festival. It made a stunning debut before a full house at the Kottappadi Ground on Tuesday afternoon.
The raw, uninhibited way of singing, the rustic charm of the lyrics, the sheer energy, the robust rhythm, indigenous instruments, the colourful yet not flashy costume and the astonishing variety made it quite an experience both for the ears and the eyes.
“This is an extremely enjoyable event,” said V.B. Rajesh, a schoolteacher. “I had seen the folk-song competition at the Malappuram district festival and it was pretty popular there too.”
If some of the performances were particularly good, it was not surprising, for there were even a few professionals in the competition for the HSS, like K. Krishnapriya of CHSS, Chattanchal, Kasaragod. “We often perform at shows in our area,” she said. “The competition was pretty tough at the district level.”
There were songs of different communities, related to rituals, in praise of snakes, songs for hunting, agriculture…the scope for folksong is tremendous. And it can only get better in the future.
Abdurahiman Randathani, MLA, was among the audience. “I enjoyed every song,” said the festival’s programme committee chairman. “I am glad that folksong has been introduced at the festival. Many of our art forms, such as Oppana and Kolkali got a huge fillip when they were introduced at the festival, which has played a big role in keeping them alive. I am sure we would be able to preserve many of our folk songs now, thanks to the festival.”
And the competitors are excited too. “We have practised hard for the festival,” said A.S. Ambadi of GHSS, Kadakkal. “When we were searching for a song, I found one from my MP3 collection, which I had not heard before.”
The festival has ensured that such songs would no longer remain unheard.