Students of Thirupporur Government H.S.S. recently performed Konnakkol and Talavadyam to an appreciative audience."Tha ka thi mi, tha ka thi mi... ", the notes grew into a gradual crescendo and shattered the quiet of the falling dusk. Thirty boys and girls in pristine white and 30 girls in groups of 10, dressed in green, red and yellow pattu paavadai, began the programme.They were students of the Thirupporur Government Higher Secondary School, and along with the students of the Jai Ganesh Tala Vadya Vidyalaya, Thiruvellikeni, presented "Konnakkol", a collaborative syllabic recitation and Talavadyam, at the Kapaleeshwarar Temple recently. The Aseema Trust presented this programme.Mr. Umashankar who trained the children in a short time said it was a unique feat as the students did not have any background or knowledge of music. Listening to them, never missing a beat, one could understand the amount of hard work, discipline and the dedication that had gone into the presentation.The word "Konnakkol" is from the Telugu phrase "Konu Kolu" which means a measuring rod. It comprises oral recitation of rhythmic phrases or "sollus". What the kids presented with confidence was the first fundamental lessons of the syllabus. As Mr. Umashankar said, once the children get through the basic stages and learn the "talam", the art of using Konnakkol as a mathematical art would flow freely and this helps in mathematical thinking.
Sound and danceThe programme took an interactive turn as the audience was roped in to keep beat, by clapping during each segment. Siddharth, the little drummer boy and a student of Umashankar incorporated the Konnakkol system in his drum beats to give a scintillating performance. There also was what may be termed "body percussion". This is essentially an African art, said Umashankar, where an artist sits without any instruments and uses different parts of his body to produce a variety of beats. Siddharth and he had a "session" of making music by beating their cheeks and snapping their fingers. That this programme was appreciated was evident by the audience's response as they kept time.Following this was the presentation of dances by the students of the C.S.I. School for the Deaf. They danced to Bharathiar's "Sindhu Nathiyinmisai Nilavinilay," following their teacher's gestures and gave a flawless performance, a fitting finale to an evening of different rhythms.