Carnatic music meets Tamil folk theatre at Biennale

A programme combining two forms of art, titiled ‘Karnatic Kattaikkuttu’, staged by the rural Tamil theatre group and vocalist T.M. Krishna (not in picture) at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in Kochi on Monday.  

Two art forms that stemmed from the Dravidian culture but were shaped by different aesthetic frameworks, thanks to social polarisation, met at the Kochi Muziris Biennale on Sunday.

Loud bouts of cheer greeted the rare confluence of Carnatic vocals by the effervescent T.M. Krishna and Kattaikkuttu rural Tamil theatre led by veteran P. Rajagopal.

Called ‘Karnatic Kattaikkuttu’, the show was intended to bring about a dialogue between the two forms in an effort to see their commonalities and uniqueness.

The “very different aesthetics” of Carnatic music and Kattaikkuttu has a lot to do with their historical evolution defined by divides in the form of caste in the medieval era to an urban-versus-rural grooming in contemporary times, said Mr. Krishna ahead of the show. Carnatic has largely been an upper caste, read Brahmin, preserve while Kattaikkuttu has practitioners from the marginalised communities. While Carnatic music is essentially urban, the theatre is rural.

“Don’t mistake Kattaikkuttu for a vanishing traditional form, by the way,” said Mr. Krishna. “It has a strong presence of young artistes. They do regular schooling and college education while simultaneously practising the theatre.”

The show was brought by Mumbai-based performing arts company First Edition Arts. If the first half was about the travails of mythological Draupadi in the royal court where her five husbands had lost a game of dice and in the process mortgaged her, the second too was from the same epic where the eldest Kaurava, Duryodhana, seeks ways to escape overnight from death at the hands of his arch-rival Bhima on the last day of the Mahabharata war.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 3:05:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/carnatic-music-meets-tamil-folk-theatre-at-biennale/article25995703.ece

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